Strawberry Legs: Causes and Effective Home Remedies to Get Rid of Them

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Strawberry Legs: Causes and How to Get Rid of Them with Home Remedies

Strawberry legs are unsightly black dots or dark bumps that often appear on legs after removing hair. The appearance of dark spots on your legs may make you self-conscious about wearing shorts or a bikini. The small black dots that appear after shaving, waxing or epilating legs are actually tiny blocked pores that look like a dark rash.

Thankfully, there are many home remedies that help get rid of strawberry legs and remove the black dots. For example, to tackle the problem of strawberry legs, baking soda is a useful treatment to gently exfoliate your skin and get rid of dark spots on legs. You can also use natural remedies such as aloe vera, oatmeal, or witch hazel as strawberry legs treatments.

In this article, you will find out some of the various reasons for dark spots on your legs that are associated with strawberry legs. You will also discover how to prevent getting dark hair bumps on your legs and how to prevent them from appearing in the first place.

What Are Strawberry Legs?

Strawberry legs are so called because they resemble the skin of a strawberry that is covered in tiny dots. Usually, red or black dots appear on the skin after hair removal because of a reaction in the hair follicles. Sometimes the dark spots that are characteristic of strawberry legs are blocked pores that become black, or an increase in the dark pigment, melanin, in the pores.

Many people say that dark dots on the legs after hair removal is more common among women who have dark skin. Doctors on MedicineNet say that darker-skinned people have more melanin pigments in their skin.1 This can mean that black dots, spots, and small bumps appear more readily.

Symptoms of Strawberry Legs

The main concern for women who have strawberry legs is to get rid of the dark spots that appear after shaving or waxing. According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, other skin problems that can appear after shaving your legs or another area of the body can include:2

Causes of Strawberry Legs

Leg hair removal by shaving or waxing can affect the skin in various ways. There are some skin conditions that can cause dark pores and other symptoms of strawberry legs. Let’s look in more detail at the most common.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common reason for the appearance of strawberry legs and occurs when hair follicles become inflamed after shaving or waxing.

Dermatologist Dr. Amanda Oakley says that irritant folliculitis often affects the legs of women after shaving. This can cause an itchy rash on the legs caused by irritation of waxing or shaving with a razor blade.3

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According to Dr. Gary W. Cole, who is an expert on infectious diseases of the skin, folliculitis from shaving the legs can leave behind dark spots on the skin. This type of hyperpigmentation is usually a temporary discoloration of the skin.4

Folliculitis can also be caused by reasons other than shaving. Some symptoms of folliculitis can also include:

  • Small pus-filled red bumps on the shaved area
  • Itchy purple bumps on the upper body or shaved area
  • Symptoms of a skin infection if fungal or bacterial germs have got into the pores
  • Acne-like spots on the affected area

To prevent folliculitis causing dark spots on your legs from shaving, you should practice proper shaving techniques. At the end of the article, I will discuss how to shave your legs to prevent symptoms of strawberry legs.

Strawberry legs can be open comedones

Dark spots on your legs that are characteristic of strawberry legs could be due to clogged pores or hair follicles.

Strawberry legs could be a type of open comedone that causes black spots on your legs. Doctors say that open comedones are another name for blackheads. The dark dots that look like a black rash are actually sebum and oil that get clogged in the pore. Because the pore is open, the substance turns black as it oxidizes with the air.5

There are many home remedies and natural masks for blackhead removal. Remedies like witch hazel, exfoliating comedones with baking soda, or an oatmeal scrub can help to get rid of blackheads quickly.

Poor hair removal techniques

Poor or harsh hair removal techniques could leave your legs looking like strawberry legs. Some mistakes that can lead to strawberry skin on your legs include shaving against the growth of the hairs, not exfoliating beforehand, or using a blunt razor.

However, strawberry skin on your legs can also be a result of leg waxing. A report from 2015 found that waxing or shaving can cause comedones to form. This can result in black spots or dots in the affected area. Doctors also reported that pigmentary changes (darker sport or light spots) are common after waxing.6

Other symptoms of poor hair removal techniques can include:

  • Inflammation of the waxed area that causes redness and itching
  • Risk of bacterial infections in the skin
  • Itching
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Inflamed pustules that are filled with pus

Keratosis pilaris

A condition that can cause a type of strawberry skin on the legs is keratosis pilaris. This causes small red or tan-colored bumps on the legs, upper arms, buttocks, or cheeks. Because of the bumpy appearance of the skin, some people refer to this as “chicken skin” or “goose bumps.”

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Keratosis pilaris is a cause of strawberry legs that is related to shaving or waxing. Dermatologist Dr. Gary W. Cole says that no one is really sure what causes keratosis pilaris. It could be due to inherited conditions, dry skin, or allergies. Keratosis pilaris gives the skin a sandpaper-like rash with tiny raised tan bumps that are sometimes red.7

Some of the home remedies for getting rid of strawberry skin at the end of this article can also help treat keratosis pilaris naturally.

Self-tanning creams

Some dermatologists say that strawberry legs could be caused by tanning creams that result in darkened spots on the legs. Tanning creams stain the upper layer of your skin to give it a darker appearance. With some women, open pores on their legs may react more to the cream and give the appearance of black dots on the legs.

Dr. Sondra Powell from the Cleveland Clinic says that applying tanning lotion after waxing your legs can give your legs a strawberry skin look with darker, freckle-like spots.17

How to Get Rid of Strawberry Legs with Home Remedies

In order to get rid of strawberry legs you need to prepare your skin properly before shaving or waxing the legs. It’s also important to care well for your legs after hair removal to prevent ingrown hairs or dead skin cells clogging the pores or causing an infection.

Strawberry legs can be cured in the sense that exfoliating your skin before shaving and soothing your skin after waxing or shaving will help prevent dark spots on your legs from appearing.

Baking soda for strawberry legs

Applying baking soda on your skin is one of the best home remedies for strawberry legs because it helps to gently remove dead skin cells from your legs. Baking soda that is combined with coconut oil into an exfoliating paste also helps to remove acne-causing bacteria and protect your skin at the same time.

The International Journal of Molecular Sciences reported that coconut oil contains fatty acids that help to moisturize your skin. Applying coconut oil to the skin helps to improve collagen production and gives the skin a protective barrier.8 Also, coconut oil is rich in lauric acid that has antibacterial and anti-acne properties.9

Studies into the medicinal properties of baking soda have found it to have antibacterial activity.18 This, along with the grainy texture of baking soda makes it a good strawberry legs treatment.

How to use baking soda to cure strawberry legs:

  1. Mix together 1 tablespoon baking soda with 2 tablespoons coconut oil to create a thick exfoliating paste.
  2. Gently massage the baking soda remedy where you have dark spots on your legs and leave for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse off with warm water.
  4. Repeat once or twice a week to help keep the skin on your legs healthy and reduce the appearance of strawberry legs.

If you have sensitive skin, you should add more coconut oil to prevent baking soda from irritating your skin. Baking soda is also a good natural remedy for treating acne prone skin because it helps to dry out inflamed pimples and due to its antiseptic properties.

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Sugar exfoliator for legs

One way to get rid of dark spots from shaving is to exfoliate your skin with a sugar scrub that contains lemon juice and honey. Lemon helps to lighten dark pores on legs and can prevent strawberry legs after waxing or shaving.

The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology published a study on the best natural ways to alleviate acne from dark-skinned people. Scientists mentioned that a skin scrub containing sugar, honey, and lemon juice is used to treat the visible signs of acne and lighten pigmented skin.10

Studies into the medicinal properties of honey have also found that it helped to treat various skin disorders. The Central Asian Journal of Global Health reported that honey has an antibacterial effect on the skin. Honey has been used to treat acne, get rid of the symptoms of eczema, soothe dermatitis skin conditions, and reduce the appearance of boils. Honey also provides a moisturizing protective barrier on the skin.11

How to make a sugar scrub to get rid of dark pores on legs:

  1. Combine 2 tablespoons raw organic sugar, 2 tablespoons raw honey, and the juice from half a lemon.
  2. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is as fine as possible.
  3. Gently apply to the dark bumps on your legs using circular motions.
  4. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes to help nourish and protect your skin.
  5. Rinse off with warm water to help unclog dark pores on your legs.

Aloe vera to treat bumps after shaving legs

Aloe vera is a natural skin remedy that helps to treat the symptoms of strawberry legs and hair bumps on legs. Aloe vera is also a great natural treatment for skin bumps and dark pores that appear after waxing.

Aloe vera has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and can help to reduce skin irritation after shaving. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, enzymes in aloe vera stimulate collagen synthesis in cells and help to soften the skin. Aloe vera also protects against dry skin conditions, some of which can lead to strawberry legs.12

Other studies have shown that aloe vera extracts have a skin-lightening effect as it inhibits the production of melanin.13

One way to boost the effectiveness of aloe vera when trying to get rid of strawberry legs is to add a few drops of tea tree oil. The journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews reported that tea tree oil helps to reduce inflammatory responses in the skin due to irritation or infection.14

How to use aloe vera to get rid of dark spots from shaving:

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  1. Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon aloe vera gel and mix well.
  2. After waxing or shaving your legs, apply the aloe vera remedy to your legs.
  3. Use the home remedy 2-3 times a day to help reduce irritation and prevent folliculitis that results in dark pigmented spots on your legs.

Oatmeal to help remove dark bumps on legs

After you have waxed your legs or shaved them, you can relax in an oatmeal bath to both soothe irritated skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. Applying oatmeal home remedies to shaved or waxed skin can help to prevent conditions that result in strawberry legs.

For example, the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology reported that colloidal oatmeal reduces itchy rashes and soothes irritated skin. Oatmeal preparations also provide a protective moisturizing layer on the skin to help keep skin healthy and prevent it from drying out. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also approved colloidal oatmeal as a skin protectant.15

How to use oatmeal to get rid of strawberry legs:

  1. Fill a bathtub with warm water and add 2 cups of colloidal (ground) oatmeal to the water.
  2. Swish the oatmeal around to release the therapeutic properties.
  3. Soak in the bath for 20 minutes.
  4. While soaking, take a handful of oatmeal and make a thick paste with it.
  5. Press onto shaved or waxed skin that is itchy or irritated and leave for 5 minutes to help prevent hair bumps on legs.
  6. Rinse off with warm water and dry yourself.
  7. Take the oatmeal bath on the first 2 or 3 days after leg waxing to help prevent strawberry skin and dark spots.

Witch hazel

Witch hazel can help to get rid of bumps on legs that may appear after shaving or waxing. Witch hazel is a natural astringent remedy that helps to remove large pores on legs or other areas of skin where hair has been removed.

According to the Journal of Inflammation, witch hazel is used as a natural skin antiseptic and antioxidant treatment to cure various skin disorders. The astringent properties of witch hazel make it a good natural remedy for acne and inflammatory skin disorders.16

How to use witch hazel as a strawberry legs treatment:

  1. Soak a cotton ball in pure witch hazel extract.
  2. Apply the remedy to your legs to help reduce the size of pores, prevent pores from getting clogged, and reduce inflammation.
  3. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day to make sure that dark spots don’t appear on your legs after shaving or waxing.

How to Prevent Bumps on Legs

After removing hair from your legs, you should care for the skin on your legs to prevent dark spots from appearing. Using proper shaving or waxing techniques can help to prevent inflammation of the follicles which can result in strawberry legs.

Doctors from the Cleveland Clinic recommend some ways to prevent skin irritation and complications after shaving. Some of these include:

  • Always exfoliate your skin before shaving to loosen hairs and prevent dead skin cells causing folliculitis.
  • Use shaving oil, foam, or gel for shaving rather than soap to prevent dry skin conditions.
  • Always shave in the direction of hair growth. For a smoother shave, you need to shave against the way hair grows, but you may end up with ingrown hairs.
  • After shaving your legs, rinse with warm water to remove soap and dead skin cells. Then, rinse with cold water to close the pores.
  • Apply your favorite natural moisturizer to protect your skin from drying out.

When you wax your legs, you should avoid using harsh soaps and cleansers on the waxed areas for the first few days after waxing. Soap can irritate sensitive skin even more and cause a lot of irritation and hinder the healing process. Please read my article about 11 things to do after waxing to prevent rash and irritation for more information.

Read my other related articles:

Medical Sources

  1. MedicineNet. Medical definition of melanin.
  2. MayoClinic. Folliculitis.
  3. DermNetNZ. Folliculitis.
  4. MedicineNet. Folliculitis.
  5. NCBI. Open comedones (blackheads).
  6. IJDVL. 2015;81(1):96.
  7. MedicineNet. Keratosis pilaris.
  8. Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan; 19(1): 70.
  9. Biomaterials. 2009 Oct;30(30):6035-40.
  10. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Apr; 3(4): 24–38.
  11. Cent Asian J Glob Health. 2016; 5(1): 241.
  12. Indian J Dermatol. 2008; 53(4): 163–166.
  13. J Invest Derm Symp Proced. 2008 Apr;13(1): 20-24.
  14. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan; 19(1): 50–62.
  15. J Drugs Dermatol.2007 Feb;6(2):167-70.
  16. J Inflamm (Lond). 2011; 8: 27.
  17. ClevelandClinic. Want a smooth, safe shave every time?
  18. Compend Contin Educ Dent Suppl. 1997;18(21):S
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