What Are Strawberry Legs?

Dots on legs that look like strawberry seeds

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The term "strawberry legs" describes a dotted or pitted appearance on the skin of the legs. The tiny red or black bumps, which resemble the seeds on a strawberry, are skin pores and hair follicles clogged with dirt, bacteria, or oil.

Strawberry legs are not serious and can often be prevented by using proper shaving techniques or treated at home with simple skincare products.

This article will explain the most common causes of strawberry legs. It will also offer tips on what you can to do treat them at home, as well as how to prevent them in the first place.

Young woman shaving legs

PhotoAlto / Jana Hernette / Getty Images

What Causes Strawberry Legs?

Strawberry legs are a cosmetic issue, most commonly caused by clogged pores, improper shaving techniques or a benign skin condition.

Clogged Pores

Clogged pores or hair follicles are the main cause of strawberry legs. The pores or follicles can become clogged with bacteria and dead skin, trapping oil inside them. When the oil is exposed to air, it turns black and is called a blackhead, or open comedone. The tiny black dots create the appearance of strawberry legs.

Those with thicker hair or larger pores are more at risk for developing strawberry legs from clogged pores. Also, having lighter skin makes clogged pores more visible.


Shaving with an old or dull razor often leads to razor bumps, which can appear as strawberry legs. Shaving can also slice off the top of a whitehead—a closed comedone—exposing the contents to air and turning it into a blackhead.


Folliculitis occurs when the hair follicles in your skin become infected. It usually appears as tiny red bumps, but they can darken and create strawberry legs. Folliculitis is caused by damage to the hair follicle that allows dirt and bacteria to enter. This damage can be caused by shaving, waxing, wearing tight clothing, or rubbing the skin.

Working out or spending time in a hot tub can lead to folliculitis. Skin is more prone to damage when it’s wet or sweaty. Areas covered by workout clothes or a bathing suit are the most susceptible to folliculitis. 

Overly Dry Skin

Overly dry skin cannot cause strawberry legs on its own, but it can contribute to them. Dry skin tends to be more sensitive and is more likely to develop razor burn or irritation. This could lead to folliculitis and the appearance of darkened pores. In addition, when your skin is dry, comedones tend to stand out. 

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris spread over the trunk - stock photo


Keratosis pilaris is a benign skin condition that causes tiny red bumps to cover the skin. Sometimes referred to as “chicken skin,” keratosis pilaris usually appears on the upper arms and thighs. The tiny red bumps resemble goosebumps and are caused by plugs of dead skin cells. When the thighs are covered by these tiny red bumps, they can resemble strawberry skin.

Keratosis pilaris is a genetic condition and usually does not require treatment. If the bumps become itchy or irritated, a dermatologist may be able to help. 

  • Infected hair follicles

  • Sometimes red rings around the bumps

  • Can be itchy or painful

  • Resembles pimples or pus bumps

  • Caused by an infection

Keratosis Pilaris
  • Plugs of dead skin cells

  • Tiny red bumps

  • Appears as goosebumps or “chicken skin”

  • Look like small pimples

  • Genetic condition

How to Treat Strawberry Legs at Home

To get rid of strawberry legs, it’s helpful to focus on the underlying cause. Here are some tips for how to prevent them. 

Swap Out Your Razor More Regularly

If you have strawberry legs, a great first step to tackling the issue is switching out your razor more frequently. This is an easy thing to do that can make a big difference. Using new razors can also help prevent strawberry legs from reoccurring in the future.

Use Moisturizing Shaving Cream

It’s best to shave once your hair and skin have been softened in the shower. Using a moisturizing shaving cream can help prevent skin irritation. Start by washing your skin with a gentle soap or body wash. Once you have washed away dirt and bacteria, apply a layer of shaving cream; look for labels that say “for sensitive skin.” Avoid any products that contain dyes or fragrances. 

Exfoliate Your Skin Regularly

Regularly exfoliating your skin can remove dead skin cells that could clog pores and hair follicles. Use a washcloth or loofah and moisturize afterward. You can also use a gentle store-bought scrub or make one yourself using baking soda and water. Though there is no scientific evidence backing it up, it’s thought that the anti-inflammatory properties of baking soda can reduce inflammation while gently exfoliating.

Moisturize Your Skin Consistently

Moisturize your skin regularly to prevent dry skin and irritation. Apply a gentle moisturizer after showering, especially if you just shaved. This will help lock in moisture. Skip any moisturizers with self-tanning lotion in them; they tend to make the pitting appearance more pronounced. 

Use an Epilator

If you have been experiencing skin irritation from shaving or waxing, an epilator may be the answer. Because shaving and waxing can lead to folliculitis, an epilator is a good choice for those prone to strawberry legs. It’s an electrical device with mini tweezers that rotate and pull hair out from the root. While it sounds painful, it is usually well-tolerated and only needs to be done every two to three weeks.

Shave With the Grain

Shaving with the grain refers to shaving in the direction of your hair’s growth. Use short, light razor strokes down your legs. Shaving with the grain is less irritating to the skin and can prevent common causes of strawberry legs like razor burn and folliculitis. Shaving less frequently may also help.

Use a Chemical Exfoliant

Chemical exfoliants are able to remove dead skin cells without scrubbing your legs. Even gentle physical exfoliation can damage skin, so chemical options can give you the benefits without the downsides.

Exfoliants such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid dissolve dead skin cells on the skin’s surface and wash them away when rinsed with water. These products can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure to use sunscreen if you’re going out after using chemical exfoliation.

Consider Long Term Hair Removal

Laser therapy is a professional, long-term hair removal option that is becoming more popular. It uses lasers to deliver small amounts of radiation to hair follicles. Laser therapy may be most effective at reducing the appearance of strawberry legs in people with fair skin and dark hair since the laser targets dark colors.

Electrolysis is a professional procedure in which a small needle is inserted into the hair follicle to remove hair permanently.. The needle delivers a small jolt of electricity to kill the follicle. Multiple treatments are needed to remove all the follicles.

Strawberry Legs: When to Worry

Strawberry legs are not serious and can usually be treated with home remedies. If you're experiencing pain or itching or are concerned about the appearance of your skin and feel there may be something more serious going on, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

They will be able to examine your skin, take a detailed history, and obtain a skin sample if necessary to provide you with a diagnosis and treatment plan.


The term strawberry legs refers to the appearance of tiny black dots on your legs. At-home treatments and changes to your shaving or skincare routine will restore your skin's normal appearance.

For those with darker or thicker hair, bigger pores, or darker skin pigmentation, the condition may need more aggressive management.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can waxing get rid of strawberry legs?

    Regular waxing can prevent strawberry legs in some cases, as it rips the hair out from the root (as opposed to just cutting it, as shaving does). However, because the follicles are exposed as a result of waxing, they can allow dirt and bacteria to enter. If you are prone to strawberry legs, it’s probably best to ask your healthcare provider if they recommend waxing.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nemours Foundation. What can I do to prevent razor burn?

  2. American Academy of Dermatology. Acne-like breakouts could be folliculitis.

  3. American Academy of Dermatology. Dry skin: overview.

  4. American Academy of Dermatology. Keratosis pilaris: diagnosis and treatment.

  5. American Academy of Dermatology. Keratosis pilaris: Self-care.

  6. American Academy of Dermatology. Hair removal: how to shave.

  7. American Academy of Dermatology. Treating acne? Is it time to see a dermatologist?

By Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH
Carrie Madormo, RN, MPH, is a health writer with over a decade of experience working as a registered nurse. She has practiced in a variety of settings including pediatrics, oncology, chronic pain, and public health.