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What is Strawberry or Bumpy Skin?

“Strawberry skin” is the dotted appearance that can occur on your skin post-shaving. Strawberry legs are a common concern. 

The reason for this name is that those dots can make your legs look like the skin of a strawberry and its seeds.

Why Does Strawberry Skin Mostly Just Appear on the Legs?

The official medical term is keratosis pilaris, and those black seed-like dots are actually open pores harboring oil, dirt, or bacteria after shaving.  The skin creates a buildup of a protein called keratin the building block for hair, skin, and nails and the keratin creates a plug that blocks the hair follicle, leading to small bumps. The plug can also trigger inflammation in the skin, which is what causes the redness around each hair follicle.

What's The Best Way to Address Strawberry Skin? Any Tips or Products?

You need to follow some steps and be consistent. To get results it is not a single treatment.

I recommend chemical exfoliation to help speed up the shedding of dead skin cells with regular exfoliation will make someone less prone to clogged pores. My favorite products contain AHAs and salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that exfoliates dead skin cells to make it harder for pores to clog.  Salicylic acid travels down into follicles to keep skin exfoliated and clean deep inside the pores. Are certain skin types or individuals more prone to strawberry skin over others? If so, why?

Although it is considered a genetic condition, we don’t know why some people get keratosis pilaris and others don’t. We also don’t know why it happens in some areas of the body and not others. People with sensitive skin, like those with eczema, are more likely to have and show symptoms of keratosis pilaris.

What's The Best Way To Help Avoid Returning Strawberry Skin?

The most common mistake I see my patients making is trying to scrub the bumps off, or use a loofah to exfoliate the bumps away, this does not work. It can actually cause more redness and making the condition even more noticeable.

The best way to treat keratosis pilaris is to wash your skin with a gentle cleanser, pat the skin dry, and apply a daily cream or lotion with salicylic or glycolic acid that will dissolve the keratin plugs without irritating your skin further.

Continuous use of these creams and lotions will certainly help smooth skin and minimize redness, and can cure strawberry legs over time. However, the bumps may reappear once treatment is discontinued

I tell my patients not to get discouraged, since many people grow out of the condition and it typically lessens with age.

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