What to Know About Strawberry Legs, and What to Do About It
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The skin care condition may sound cute, but it can be quite annoying. Here’s how to get rid of strawberry legs – and prevent them first.
If you could compile a list of all the skin care conditions named after food and drink, you would have checked off a surprising amount of items in your kitchen. Those tiny red moles on the chest and back are cheekily called cherry angiomas. The coffee-colored stains you’ve inked on seemingly random body parts since the first day of your life are known as café au lait macules (although you probably call them birthmarks). And those little black spots that are scattered up and down the calves and thighs? This is a case of strawberry legs.
What causes strawberry legs?
Named for – you guessed it – the appearance of strawberry skin, strawberry legs are typically characterized by small black dots on the legs and, depending on the cause, a change in skin texture, says Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a New York City dermatologist.
There isn’t a single scenario that is absolutely responsible for making your legs look like they’re sprinkled with tiny poppy seeds. But more often than not, it boils down to an enlarged appearance of the hair follicle or clogged pores, says Dr. Garshick. There might even be more than one factor. “Sometimes it’s a mix of multiple scenarios,” she says. “While you can challenge it in different conditions, some people have an overlap.”
In the simplest of cases, strawberry legs can appear if you have light skin and dark, coarse hair. Because of this contrast, you may be able to see the hair follicle under the skin, creating small, shabby spots, says Dr. Garshick. But if your leg hair is so blonde it’s almost invisible, clogged pores could be the culprit. When a pore is enlarged, with excess oil, dirt, and bacteria trapped inside and exposed to the air, the entire mass can become oxidized and look darker, says Dr. Garshick. And if you have a * tonne * of these dirt-filled pores in your lower half, you have a case of strawberry legs.
When these tiny dots interact with rough, bumpy skin, other conditions can develop behind your strawberry legs – one of which is keratosis pilaris. Keratosis pilaris, also known as chicken skin, causes the skin to develop bumps and rough texture, typically on the arms and legs. When dead skin cells and keratin (a protein that helps make skin, hair, and nails) get trapped in the hair follicle, a small bump forms and a cluster of bumps can alter the texture of the skin, says Dr. Garshick. That dead skin and keratin can inflame the hair follicle, and your symptoms can get worse if the skin is dry, she explains.
Other situations that can seriously inflame your hair follicles and cause strawberry legs: folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis. Folliculitis occurs when a bacterial or fungal infection occurs in the hair follicle, causing redness or pustules (re: small, white bumps) around the follicle, says Dr. Garshick. And developing an infection isn’t all that difficult – wearing super tight leggings, exercising often without jumping in the shower right away, and friction can be to blame for this skin problem. Similar to folliculitis, pseudofolliculitis is a skin condition characterized by red bumps around inflamed hair follicles and ingrown hairs, usually due to an injury to the follicle, says Dr. Garschik. The main culprit is shaving and waxing.
Usually there is no need to worry about your health when you have strawberry legs, but you can get yourself into long-term trouble if you start pecking at the skin so as not to get rid of it. The skin on your legs can easily leave scars, so discoloration can appear and take a long time to go away, says Dr. Garshick. Still, a bacterial or fungal infection due to folliculitis may require treatment from a dermatologist or prescribed medication, she says. “If you’ve got persistent bumps and tried routine over-the-counter things and they don’t help, it’s worth seeing a dermatologist,” she says.
How to get rid of strawberry legs
How you tackle strawberry legs depends on the cause. When you’re dealing with keratosis pilaris or dirty comedones, your best bet is to exfoliate the skin and remove the dead skin cells and gunkel, says Dr. Garshick. “It is important, however, that not only the dead skin cells are removed with a hard peeling, as the skin is easily irritated,” she adds. “If you use a hard scrub. it would possibly make it worse. “Instead, she recommends using a gentle scrub like Dove Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash or the Glytone KP Kit, a two-step kit that includes a chemical peel for glycolic acid and a moisturizing body lotion for use after a shower.
If you have folliculitis or pseudofolliculitis, Dr. Garshick an over-the-counter medical body wash to clear up bacterial or fungal problems like Humane’s Acne Wash or PanOxyl’s Acne Foaming Wash, both of which use benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria, clog pores, and reduce inflammation. If your symptoms still don’t improve, talk to a dermatologist about prescription strength options, she says.
For those who have easily visible hair follicles, laser hair removal is the main treatment to minimize their appearance, says Dr. Garshick. This high-tech technique targets the hair follicle and eliminates the hair at the root, making the pigment disappear. “We don’t have the ability to completely eliminate every single hair, but it certainly helps in decreasing the density, and for someone who thinks the hair follicles are more visible, it can be helpful,” she explains.
How to prevent strawberry legs
Just like body hair, acne, and freckles, strawberry legs can just be one of your normal physical traits – and there’s no reason you can’t rock this mini skirt. But if the look bothers you and you want to make them less noticeable or remove them entirely, there are a few options you have.
Depending on the cause, strawberry legs aren’t entirely preventable – however, there are a few steps you can take to manage its appearance. Take keratosis pilaris, for example: “Even though it can affect some people, there is really nothing you can really do to prevent it, as it can be considered genetic for some people,” says Dr. Garshick. “Some people just have it, but there is nothing wrong with them. Just because it doesn’t feel like your skin in other places, it is naturally “normal” skin. “However, if you’re not following your exfoliating and moisturizing routine, your bumps could become more noticeable – especially during the dry winter months, she says.
To keep the condition at bay, try exfoliating a few times a week followed by a moisturizer to keep the skin soft and well-groomed. Adhering to good hygiene practices can also make a difference: Take off your sweaty, tight-fitting clothes right after your workout to reduce the chance of clogging your pores. And if your strawberry legs are the result of comedones, all of these practices will also help prevent this skin condition.
Strawberry legs caused by visible hair follicles are also difficult to prevent, aside from laser hair removal. The key to making these little black dots less noticeable is to relieve inflammation and irritation to the skin and hair follicle. Shaving usually causes skin irritation: your razor will often cut your hair at an angle. So if it does grow back it can cause more inflammation than if it were cut straight. Combined with the irritation of running the razor over your legs without moisturizing the shaving cream or using water that is too hot, the hair follicle can actually become * more visible *, says Dr. Garshick. Instead, use moisturizing shaving creams or try hair removal creams that don’t cause additional “injuries” to the hair follicle, she says.
On the flip side, preventing folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis – and the strawberry legs that result from it – is as simple as following the hygiene practices above and changing your shaving routine. Shave with the grain first – not against it – to avoid bacterial infection or ingrown hairs that can cause strawberry legs. And if you’ve used the same blade in the past four months (guilty!), It’s time to swap it out to reduce the risk of ingrown hairs and bumps from uneven shaving or infection from bacteria settling in Notches and cuts creep in. “My rule of thumb for people: whatever you do, change yourself [your razor] more often, “says Dr. Garshick. This is especially true if you feel like you are working harder on a close shave than you used to, or if the blade feels uncomfortable against your skin, she adds. If you are very prone to ingrown hairs, using a razor that does not shave very thoroughly, such as B. Bump Fighter Men’s Disposable Razors, help reduce the chances of one showing up too. “The closer you get to shaving with a straight razor, the more likely you are to experience additional irritation,” says Dr. Garshick.
And remember, no matter what is causing your strawberry legs, or how easy or unlikely it is to have them completely removed, know that they are completely normal and won’t cause you too many health problems. So, if you’ve been blessed with thick and strong leg hair or a few rough patches of skin on your thighs, why not greet your strawberry legs with open arms just like you would with your peach-colored prey.
(Also Read: 10 Lunge Variations To Work Your Legs And Booty Harder)
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