July 11, 2022

5 Ways To Get Rid of Strawberry Legs

Easy to treat and easy to prevent

legs with razor rash or strawberry legs

Have you ever noticed clusters of small dark spots on your legs after shaving? You’re not alone. It’s a common symptom of some skin conditions that are collectively given an unusual name: Strawberry legs.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

The way it looks may annoy or embarrass you, but strawberry legs are just clogged pores that you can easily treat — and prevent.

“These dark spots look like seeds on the pitted surface of strawberries,” says dermatologist Matthew Janik, MD. “The good news is, they’re harmless. You can usually get rid of strawberry legs by following a few simple steps at home.”

What are strawberry legs?

Strawberry legs — also known as strawberry skin legs — occur when your hair follicles or pores are clogged with dirt, dead skin, bacteria or oil. The spots usually don’t itch or cause pain.

The lighter your skin, the more visible strawberry legs are. You’ll typically see:

  • Black or brown spots after shaving.
  • Open pores that look darker than usual, like blackheads.
  • Pitted or dotted skin on your legs.

What causes strawberry legs?

Most people develop strawberry legs after shaving or waxing, which exposes clogged pores. But strawberry legs may also be due to an underlying skin condition or infection. If you have any pain, swelling or itching, talk to your healthcare provider to rule out other conditions.

Dr. Janik explains five common reasons why you may develop strawberry legs:

1. Shaving

Using an old, dull razor or shaving without shaving cream can harm your skin, causing razor burn or strawberry legs. It can also result in ingrown hairs, which can appear as strawberry legs.

2. Folliculitis

Folliculitis is a common skin infection often caused by an infected or inflamed (swollen) hair follicle. It can occur due to shaving, waxing or excess sweating, especially in hot and humid conditions.

Many people develop folliculitis after sitting in a hot tub or working out. You may mistake the tiny red bumps for acne, but they often cause itching or irritation.

3. Clogged pores

Pores are the tiny holes on your skin that release oil and sweat, helping cool your body. Sometimes, they can become clogged by bacteria, dead skin, oil or dirt. And if you’re an adolescent going through puberty, you usually produce more oil than other people.

Removing the hair on your legs by shaving or waxing exposes that oil to the air. “The oil combines with oxygen (oxidizes) and turns darker than usual, giving you small black dots all over your legs,” explains Dr. Janik. “That leads to the strawberry legs effect.”

4. Dry skin

Dry skin alone isn’t really the culprit. But you’re more likely to irritate the skin on your legs when you shave dry skin and, therefore, raise your risk for developing the hallmark spots of strawberry legs. And when you have dry legs, conditions such as strawberry legs are more visible.


5. Keratosis pilaris

Technically, keratosis pilaris is a different condition from strawberry legs, but it can cause a similar-looking collection of red dots on your legs. Keratosis pilaris appears as a cluster of small, rough bumps on your skin that look like goosebumps. It’s a common skin condition that occurs when dead skin cells and a protein called keratin clog your hair follicles.

Some people compare these bumps to tiny pimples or chicken skin. They’re rough to the touch. Keratosis pilaris bumps can come in many colors, from the same color as your skin to brighter colors such as purple and red.

How to get rid of strawberry legs

In most cases, strawberry legs treatment involves tweaking your self-care routine at home. If symptoms persist or worsen, your healthcare provider can offer treatment options to help you get relief.

Dr. Janik offers five ways to get rid of strawberry legs:

1. Use a sharp, clean razor and moisturizing shaving cream

Use a cream that keeps your skin warm and moist, and shave in the direction of hair growth. This method helps prevent razor bumps and burns that lead to strawberry legs. Shave gently with short, light strokes. It’s also best to shave during or after a shower, when your legs are clean of excess oil and dead skin that could clog your razor.

“Rinse your blade as you shave lightly. Make sure to change the blade or throw away disposable razors after about six shaves to avoid irritation,” advises Dr. Janik. “And store your razor in a cool, dry area so bacteria can’t grow on it. Don’t leave it in the shower.”

2. Exfoliate and moisturize regularly

Everyone likes the feel of smooth, soft skin, which helps keep strawberry legs at bay. Exfoliating removes dead skin and makes it easier for new hairs to grow. It also makes it more difficult for pores or follicles to clog.

Exfoliate your legs using a clean washcloth or loofah, then moisturize to keep your skin hydrated. Moisturizing can also improve how strawberry legs look and help prevent another outbreak. But avoid products that contain fragrances or dyes.

“Consider using a dry brush, body scrub or glove that loosens oil and dirt from your pores and softens skin as it works,” says Dr. Janik. “Use gentle motions and a mild product that won’t irritate the skin and make things worse.”

3. Use an epilator

An epilator is an electrical personal care device that removes hair at the root. It’s like waxing but causes less injury to your skin. It also doesn’t have a risk of causing folliculitis like waxing or shaving.

Be aware, though, that an epilator acts like a set of powerful tweezers, so expect some discomfort or a twinge of pain. You only use it once every two to three weeks, which may make it more bearable as an alternative hair removal technique.

4. Consider permanent hair removal (laser hair removal or electrolysis)

If shaving or waxing isn’t working or you’re simply fed up with the constant upkeep, permanent hair removal is a safe and effective option.


Dr. Janik shares two common methods:

  • Electrolysis uses a low electrical current to remove hair. You may experience slight discomfort and need several sessions before you see a difference. This technique typically doesn’t have any side effects.
  • Laser hair removal uses a laser to precisely remove hair. Most people need two to six sessions. You may also experience side effects, including burns, scars or changes in skin color where the laser removed hair.

“The most effective way to avoid strawberry legs is to treat the problem at its source,” says Dr. Janik. “Electrolysis and laser hair removal are especially good options for people with thick, coarse or curly hair.”

But laser hair removal and electrolysis can be costly. And these “permanent” options aren’t always permanent. Some hair can grow back, requiring repeat sessions. Your healthcare provider or a dermatologist can help you figure out the best solution for you.

5. Turn to medical therapies

In some cases, dermatologists may recommend chemical exfoliants or medication to remove dead skin cells. These therapies can help treat or prevent strawberry legs without the irritation that scrubbing can cause. They dissolve the skin cells and are washed away with water.

You may use skin care products or over-the-counter or prescription medications that include:

  • Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA).
  • Beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid).
  • Glycolic acid.
  • Retinoids.

“Products containing these ingredients may make your skin more sensitive to the sun,” warns Dr. Janik. “Be sure to use sunscreen if you are going outside. You don’t want to burn or cause more damage to your skin.”

In some cases, strawberry legs may be due to an underlying skin condition. Your healthcare provider can offer treatment options, including antibiotics or corticosteroids, for bacterial or fungal infections.

Don’t worry, strawberry legs won’t last

In most cases, you can manage strawberry legs with at-home remedies such as regular exfoliation and moisturizing. Talk to your dermatologist if you suspect another condition or infection is causing symptoms.

“Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have concerns,” says Dr. Janik. “Strawberry legs can easily be treated and prevented. With some care and attention to your legs, those dark spots will go away.”

Related Articles

Castor bean pods, castor beans and a vial of castor oil
December 7, 2023
No, Castor Oil Won’t Solve All (or Any) of Your Health Problems

The oil some TikTokkers swear by can actually cause stomach and eye issues, as well as skin rashes

Closeup of healthcare provider examining an ingrown hair follicle.
January 14, 2023
Butt Acne: Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Those bumps on your butt probably aren’t pimples

A close up of pores on someone's cheek skin
June 6, 2022
7 Ways To Minimize Pores

A dermatologist’s tips on how you can really shrink your pores and regain a youthful look

Closeup of dotted line indicating where eyelid lift will take place
February 14, 2024
Blepharoplasty vs. Brow Lift: What To Know

The procedures take different approaches to eliminate saggy, baggy skin around your eyes

jar of coconut oil-based cream next to a cut open coconut on a bath towel
February 9, 2024
Stop the Itch: Home Remedies To Help Manage Eczema

Colloidal oatmeal, petroleum jelly and other around-the-home products can help provide needed relief

stress factors floating around person with eczema on arms
February 8, 2024
Eczema and Stress: What’s the Connection?

Your body’s natural response to stress can lead to painful skin irritation

Smiling person holding small container of moisturizer close to face, with product applied to face
February 1, 2024
What Does Vitamin B5 Do for Your Hair and Skin?

Pantothenol is a powerful moisturizer and can help repair damaged skin and hair

Doctor making marks on female patient's face
January 31, 2024
Facelift Facts: What You Need To Know

From the best age to get one to how long it takes to recover, we answer nine common questions about this wrinkle-reducing procedure

Trending Topics

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try

Exercise and diet over three months is hard to accomplish.
Everything You Need To Know About the 75 Hard Challenge

Following five critical rules daily for 75 days may not be sustainable

Person in foreground standing in front of many presents with person in background holding gift bags.
What Is Love Bombing?

This form of psychological and emotional abuse is often disguised as excessive flattery