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When summer comes, millions of women are so excited because they can put on their most gorgeous swimsuits and lie on sun-drenched beaches, enjoying the holiday atmosphere. However, for a lot of women, wearing bikinis which exposes their leg skin seems to be a nightmare.
That is because these women have to suffer from a common health condition called Strawberry Legs. Well, despite having a sweet name, this problem indeed irritates women with its unappealing appearance. Now, let’s take a closer look at the causes before discussing how to get rid of strawberry legs.
What is “strawberry legs”?
“Strawberry legs” is a colloquial name of a medical term called open comedones (blackheads). Comedones, basically, are understood as skin pores which are clogged by dead skin, bacteria, and oil. This term also encompasses other skin disorders such as folliculitis and keratosis pilaris.
So why is it called “strawberry legs”? Suffering from this condition means that there are small and dark spots on leg skin which look similar to seeds on strawberry’s skin, culminating in an uneven and rough texture of leg skin.
What are the causes of strawberry legs?
Overall, folliculitis occurs when hair follicles become inflamed, leading to red rash combined with pimples. This condition is not life-threatening; however, it can make the affected leg skin itchy and sore. If you have a mild condition of folliculitis, it will disappear after a few days when using basic home remedies. Meanwhile, once you are prone to more severe cases, seeing dermatologists is necessary.
Bacterial and fungal infections are considered as the common roots of this problem. More specifically, folliculitis is often resulted from infecting a kind of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus .
Also, folliculitis is a consequence of poor shaving techniques which are usually referred to as one of the most popular causes of strawberry legs. Shaving improperly does not remove hair follicles from their roots completely, making the remaining ones curl back under the skin, resulting in ingrown hair.
This kind of skin hair which is a foreign object now will activate your body immune system. Consequently, there will be inflammation and small red bumps on leg skin.
Acne leads to excess oil production. This increasing amount of oil called sebum which is produced in sebaceous glands blocks the pores on skin, increasing the tendency of being inflamed by bacteria. Because these pores open, the skin pigment (melanin) is exposed to the air, resulting in oxidation . This process is the primary factor making blackheads to be black.
Generally, in keratosis pilaris, there are small reddish bumps on leg skin, making it rough and aesthetically unappealing. Unlike the case of folliculitis, there is no itchy or sore skin here.
It is a result of keratin (a skin protein) building up under the skin, plugging the opening of hair follicles. It has not been proved scientifically what causes this situation. However, people who have some genetic diseases or skin condition have a higher tendency to suffer from this problem .
Other factors cause clogged pores
Dust and dead skin cells resulting from poor hygiene also block skin pores, worsening the situation. Furthermore, scrubbing skin too hard can contribute to the oxidation process on skin and lead to dark spots on legs.
Prevention is better than cure
Shaving skin hair properly
As mentioned above, using poor shaving techniques is one of the most common causes of strawberry legs. However, a large number of people do not know how to practice it in an appropriate way. Here are some tips for shaving to avoid this condition.
Preparing before shaving
Using a clean razor with a sharp blade allows you to remove hair follicles entirely from roots, avoiding ingrown hair. Also, you need to replace your razor once it does not work well or accumulate waste on the blade which cannot be rinsed out under hot water. It will lessen the tendency to be infected by bacteria contained in the waste.
Only shaving when skin hair is wet . Dry shaving can lead to more cuts and skin irritation. Hence, the best time for shaving is at the end of shower time when skin hair is softened. Moreover, exfoliation before shaving helps remove dead skin cells which may reduce the effectiveness of the process.
How to shave in a correct way?
Firstly, make sure that you shave skin hair in the direction of its growth to avoid razor bumps . Using cream made specifically for shaving is recommended. After each stroke, rinse out the blade of razor under warm water.
Shaving skin hair makes pores open which is a risk of further inflammation. Therefore, after shaving, soak your legs in cooler water to close the pores. Skin after this process becomes sensitive, so you need to protect it from sun exposure.
Follow these pieces of advice to avoid ingrown hair which can lead to strawberry legs. Here is a video illustrating shaving skin hair appropriately:
Having a daily bath helps remove sweat, dirt and dead cells which trigger clogged pores. For people taking exercise on a regular basis, their legs sweat a lot. So, taking a shower after physical activities is of great importance.
When taking a shower, you should use gentle products labeled as non-comedogenic. They are beneficial for skin as they do not plug pores as well as have anti-inflammatory properties. Using products of some famous brands like Olay, Neutrogena and Cetaphil is greatly recommended .
How to get rid of strawberry legs: An overview of the treatments
Because strawberry legs include several skin conditions (acne, keratosis pilaris, and folliculitis), there are different treatments for each problem, all of them contribute to removing tiny spots on legs. However, their effects vary from person to person regarding different skin types and conditions.
Therefore, when applying a remedy on your skin, reading all related information carefully and applying the substance on a small area to test the reaction of your skin to it.
If you suffer from bacterial and fungal infection, going to your dermatologists for medical prescriptions is the optimal option.
How to get rid of strawberry legs with home remedies?
Precautions of treating leg acne with natural ingredients: If you suffer from mild acne (few pimples) or moderate one (inflammation), you should try using home remedies because of their wonderful natural effects. However, in the case the condition becomes severe, there are cysts or nodules, for instance, you should meet your doctor for medical treatments.
Using tea tree oil to treat acne on legs
Why can be tea tree oil used for acne-treating?
Tea tree oil has been proved to have supportive effects on treating acne. This wonderful natural oil possesses antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which are of great help in getting rid of acne.
Tea tree oil is also able to inhibit the oxidation process which contributes to the formation of dark spots on leg skin . All of these excellent effects make tea tree oil one of the best essential oils to fight acne.
When applying tea tree oil on skin, always remember to use a carrier oil to dilute it, such as olive oil, coconut oil or jojoba oil. You can rest assured that these oils are not likely to block your pores .
Mix one tablespoon of carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil) with 8-10 drops of tea tree oil. Make your legs clean then apply the mixture on the skin area on which you have acne and massage in about 5 minutes.
Remember to apply the mixture on a small area of your skin (usually wrist) to observe the reaction of skin with it. If there are any signs of sensitivity or allergy to the oil, stop using it. There are also side effects when using tea tree oil, such as rash, red, itchy or burning skin. In that case, you need to stop this remedy immediately and seeing a doctor if they do not disappear.
Egg white can be used to treat acne on legs
Why is egg white beneficial for treating acne?
Not only is egg white used in cooking but it is also beneficial for the skin. Thanks to its astringent property, egg white can tighten the skin and shrink the pores. Additionally, it helps to reduce the skin discoloration which is a result of acne. This cheap ingredient is able to exfoliate the skin, removing blackheads on strawberry legs.
If you are allergic to eggs, do not try this method.
Separate egg white from egg yolk. You should beat the egg white so you can apply the mixture on your skin more easily later. Then add one tablespoon of lemon juice to the egg white. Lemon juice helps to lighten the skin.
Use your fingertips to apply the mixture on your legs. Let it dry in about 5 minutes before rinsing off your legs under water. Pat them with a soft towel and remember to moisturize.
How to use cucumber juice to treat acne on legs?
Benefits derived from cucumber juice
Thanks to containing a huge amount of water (95% of raw cucumber is water), this common fruit is used to moisturize the skin. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory property allows cucumber to reduce the inflammation of acne. By inhibiting tyrosinase which is an enzyme taking part in melanin production, cucumber helps to remove dark spots on strawberry legs, whitening the leg skin .
Method 1: Using cucumber juice
Grate one cucumber to have juice. Clean your legs under warm water to open pores. Use clean cotton balls to apply the cucumber juice on your leg skin. Leave for about 10 to 15 minutes then rinse off your legs under cool water to close pores.
Method 2: Mixing cucumber juice with lemon juice and rose water
Mix equal parts of cucumber juice, lemon juice, and rose water. Clean your legs with warm water before applying the mixture on your skin. After around 10 minutes, wash off your legs under cool water and pat them dry.
Both lemon juice and rose have antioxidant property so they can prevent blackheads. Additionally, rose water can inhibit the growth of bacteria causing acne.
Exfoliating leg skin: Quick summary of benefits and techniques
Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cell and dirt which can block pores, preventing the development of bacteria. Therefore, it can reduce further infections of open comedones. You should exfoliate your leg skin once a week to get rid of strawberry legs.
How to exfoliate properly?
Prepare your own exfoliating scrub.
Studies suggest that you should exfoliate your legs during your shower as it will clean up your skin and open pores. Use your fingertips to apply the mixture on your legs, start from the bottom. Massage your legs in a circular motion, be careful not to rub your skin too hard.
After the exfoliating process, rinse off your legs first with warm water and then with cool water to close pores. Use a clean towel to dry your legs. Keep in mind that you need to apply moisturizer on your skin.
Exfoliating with sea salt
Sea salt is widely known as one of the most effective natural exfoliants for skin. Along with being able to scrub away dead skin cells and dirt which trigger clogged pores, sea salt helps remove bacteria causing acne. It also helps reduce the inflammation from open comedones on legs.
Method 1: Sea salt bath
Fill your bathtub with water. To absorb minerals most effectively, you should adjust the water’s temperature to be 2 degrees warmer than body temperature at most.
Add two cups of sea salt to the tub under running water so it will be dissolved more easily. Adding 3 to 5 drops of essential oil such as tea tree oil to promote the acne-treating process is recommended.
Soak your legs in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes. After that, rinse off your legs with warm water first and with cool water later to close pores.
Method 2: Making salt scrub with sea salt and essential oil
Mix a cup of sea salt with one tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil. Add about five drops of essential oil (tea tree oil, peppermint or lavender) which can help fight acne (This amount of mixture can be used for several applications).
Method 3: A salt scrub recipe includes sea salt and buttermilk
Another sea salt scrub recipe is mixing a teaspoon of sea salt with two tablespoons of buttermilk. Buttermilk helps lighten the skin and eliminate dark pores, making the skin smoother. Also, it can keep your skin moisturized.
How to use brown sugar to exfoliate?
Brown sugar acts as a great exfoliant as it contains glycolic acid which is of help in removing dead skin cell and dirt. Besides, brown sugar can remove dark spots on legs by controlling the production of skin oil, contributing to getting rid of strawberry legs. For people who have sensitive skin, using brown sugar instead of salt to exfoliate is recommended because brown sugar is less abrasive than salt.
Method 1: Making sugar scrub with brown sugar, lemon juice, and aloe vera
Mix ¼ cup of brown sugar with one tablespoon of lemon juice and aloe vera gel. Use a spoon to combine these ingredients until the sugar is fine enough.
Antioxidant property of vitamin C in lemon juice allows it to lighten the skin and remove small dark spots on strawberry legs . However, when applying lemon juice on your skin, it will become sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, it is much better to use this sugar scrub at night.
Aloe vera possesses antibacterial property which is of great importance in reducing the chance of acne. It also provides an anti-inflammatory property which can decrease the inflammation and redness of acne or folliculitis on strawberry legs. More interestingly, aloe vera is pretty mild to skin so using it is comparatively safe .
Method 2: Using brown sugar and olive oil
Mix one cup of brown sugar with 1/3 cup of olive oil. Use a spoon to combine these ingredients until the sugar is fine enough.
Let’s take a look at steps of how to make a scrub for your legs using brown sugar and olive oil. In this video, white sugar is used to make the mixture; however, brown sugar is more recommended.
Exfoliation using baking soda
Supportive effects of baking soda
Baking soda can help you get rid of strawberry legs because it can remove dead skin cell to unclog the skin pores and reduce the oil production from acne. This cooking ingredient has antibacterial activity, inhibiting the growth of bacteria causing acne .
Things you need to know before using baking soda
For sensitive skin, baking soda may cause skin irritation. Additionally, the skin’s pH is about 5.5, meanwhile baking soda has a pH level of 8.5, so it is alkaline to the skin. Therefore, you should not use baking soda to exfoliate your skin regularly.
Method 1: Baking soda bath
Fill your tub with warm water. Add ½ cup of baking soda to the water. Soak your legs in the bathtub in about 15 minutes. If you have sensitive skin, you need to dilute baking soda with more water and soak your legs in only 5 to 10 minutes. Remember to rinse off your legs under cool water after bathing and apply moisturizing cream on your skin.
Method 2: Making baking soda scrub
Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with warm water in a bowl. Pour water into it until having a thick paste. You can add 5 to 8 drops of essential oil such as tea tree oil or peppermint oil which helps to fight acne.
How to get rid of strawberry legs using clinical treatments?
In some complicated cases, strawberry legs are triggered by folliculitis (resulting from bacterial or fungal infection) or keratosis pilaris, seeing a dermatologist is necessary.
Clinical treatments for folliculitis
If folliculitis is caused by bacteria, your doctor may prescribe topical antibiotics like cream, lotion or gel. When the situation becomes severe, your medical prescription also includes oral antibiotics.
Fungal infection also triggers this skin disease. In that case, antibiotics do not work. Your medical prescription may include topical antifungal creams.
Recommended clinical treatments for keratosis pilaris
A dermatologist may recommend topical exfoliant to remove dead skin cells. This kind of cream usually contains lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acid or urea . In addition, it can prevent hair follicles from being plugged. It also helps to keep the skin moisturized and softened.
You should be careful when using this kind of cream because it can cause side effects such as red rash or skin irritation. You need to follow the doctor’s advice on how to apply it correctly.
Chemical peels are strong skin exfoliant which has a pH level of around 2. It has been scientifically proved that superficial peels (or lunchtime peels) are of great help in treating keratosis pilaris .
Superficial peels which contain alpha hydroxy acid (like glycolic acid or lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acid (like salicylic acid) are able to remove dead skin cell, making the skin have a smooth and even texture. Furthermore, a study has shown that salicylic acid has keratolytic property. It means that it can remove keratin layers which build up under the skin and block the hair follicles.
These are strong exfoliants, so there will be harmful side effects when using them on a regular basis. Before deciding to use chemical peels, you need to consult your doctor for detailed instructions.
Laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is a method which uses concentrated light to destroy hair follicles under the skin surface with heat. After 3 to 7 treatments, you will achieve permanent skin hair reduction. Moreover, this method possesses a high level of precision. The laser can target damaged hair follicles and destroy them while not affecting surrounded areas.
There are a wide variety of lasers, each of which is appropriate to a specific skin type. Therefore, you need to consult a dermatologist to decide the most effective one. It is recommended that you can use topical anesthetics to alleviate pain during the healing procedure. In that case, you should discuss with your doctor for advice on whether applying cream is appropriate and which kind of cream should be used.
There are side effects of laser hair removal, such as blisters (usually happening with people having dark skin pigmentation), swelling or scarring. Additionally, keep in mind that your skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight during the procedure, so you need to stay away from sunlight as much as possible.
Some related questions and their answers
Does laser treatment reduce the darkness and roughness of pores on strawberry legs?
This method only reduces the hair growth. There are pulses of laser light penetrating to the hair follicles and destroying damaged ones. To get rid of dark spots on your strawberry legs, you may follow above natural remedies to treat acne or exfoliate leg skin.
Are chemical peels able to help you get rid of strawberry legs?
The answer is yes. As lunchtime peels containing salicylic acid, glycolic acid or lactic acid are able to help get rid of keratosis pilaris as well as folliculitis which lead to strawberry legs.
However, you need to discuss with your doctor for detailed information on whether you should use chemical peels, what preparations should be done before the treatment, what kind of chemical peels should be applied on your skin and negative side effects may appear.
Why do you have ingrown hair on your legs?
Ingrown hair can be attributed to poor shaving techniques. Using a contaminated razor, dry shaving or wrong shaving direction can result in ingrown hair. Having curly hair naturally increases the risk of developing ingrown hair.
How can you get rid of dark pores on strawberry legs?
Exfoliate is one of the most effective ways to remove dark pores your legs as it helps to scrub away dirt and dead skin cell clogging pores. Also, treating acne with natural recipes can control the production of skin oil, reducing the oxidation process which causes dark spots.
What can you use to exfoliate your leg skin?
Sea salt and sugar are the most common ingredients used to make exfoliating scrubs. If you have sensitive skin, brown sugar is recommended because of its round granules. You can mix them with water or other ingredients which are suggested above. Additionally, baking soda can be used as an exfoliant but note that it is alkaline to your skin, be careful when using it.
Do you exfoliate before or after you shave?
Your skin should be exfoliated before being shaved. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cell and dirt, unclogging pores. Therefore, when shaving, the blade can reach to the root of hair follicles and remove them completely, avoiding ingrown hair.
Strawberry legs include different skin disorders, namely keratosis pilaris, folliculitis and open comedones on legs. This problem does not pose serious threats to your skin health; however, it makes your leg unappealing, and you may feel embarrassed when wearing swimsuits. Therefore, it is necessary to treat strawberry legs.
With each condition, there are appropriate home remedies that you can use. Most of the ingredients are easy to find and use like sugar, sea salt or egg white. Furthermore, you should wear clothes made from breathable fabric like cotton to avoid trapping sweat which can worsen the situation.
Remember that you should repeat the remedies for the desired result. If you develop keratosis pilaris or folliculitis caused by bacterial or fungal infection, going to see your doctor is necessary.
Hopefully, with the treatments mentioned above, you can know how to get rid of strawberry legs to enjoy the summer vacation.
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