What’s the difference between “strawberry legs” and Keratosis Pilaris (KP)? Put simply: KP is most likely “strawberry legs,” but not all “strawberry legs” is KP. 

“Strawberry legs” is a bit of a catch-all term that covers a few symptoms, including KP, that visually resemble a strawberry’s skin.

"'Strawberry legs' refers to the appearance of small, hyperpigmented red or dark spots on the legs, which are usually centered around hair follicles," explains Dr Penelope Pratsou, consultant dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson.

“Strawberry legs” floated to critical awareness a few years back. Beyoncé has it. And it looks like it’s having a little revival this summer among the girlies on TikTok

When I first heard the term a few years back, it read a little like a marketing gimmick: create a problem where there was none and then sell a solution. A bit like how before 1968, “cellulite” was commonly referred to as simply “skin.”

But unlike cellulite, depending on the type of “strawberry skin” you may have, and its cause, there actually is an easy remedy for this pretty common skin sitch. 

Four Kinds of Strawberry Skin

“It can be asymptomatic, painful, or itchy, depending on the cause, and it often produces both pink and pus-filled bumps. Bacterial folliculitis is more often painful than itchy (but certainly can be both), and fungal folliculitis is more classically itchy,” says Rachel Maiman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical in New York. 

If you suspect you have folliculitis, definitely check in with your dermatologist for a proper diagnosis and course of action. 

  • Hair. Shaved hair is slightly visible under the skin’s surface, even right after a close cut. Semi- or permanent hair removal like waxing or electrolysis can remedy the look of strawberry skin resulting from irritated, shaved skin.

  • Clogged skin. Just like your face, the skin of your legs can become clogged with oil, dead skin, and dirt, giving the appearance of little raised bumps. 

  • Keratosis Pilaris (KP). An overproduction of keratin - the protein that makes up skin, hair, and nails - clogs the hair follicle, causing raised bumps. KP is common with people who have chronically dry skin, or skin conditions like eczema. 

Unless you suspect folliculitis, you can happily live the rest of your life unburdened of giving a fig about “strawberry legs.” In more severe cases of KP, skin can become dry, itchy, and irritated, an uncomfortable nuisance that thankfully has an easy at-home solution. 

Reducing the Appearance of Strawberry Legs


There are a few ways to rid the skin of dirt and debris, but the key is to be gentle. Abrasive exfoliation, for example, can exacerbate the symptoms of strawberry legs, drying out the skin and damaging the skin’s protective barrier.

Gentle Acids

“Ingredients that break down keratin clumps are helpful for the many causes of strawberry legs. Agents include salicylic acid (to break down dead skin), lactic acid (to brighten), and urea (to smooth and soften), which can help clear out the plugged-up follicles that characterize keratosis pilaris. These ingredients can also reduce pores and lessen the risk of ingrown hairs,” says Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with MDCS Dermatology in New York.


  • Moisturize with a nourishing body cream that will keep skin soft and protected. The Dream Silk Comfort Cream smells like something out of a fantasy if the fantasy is endless napping. It’s chock full of things your skin loves like shea butter, sunflower seed oil, and sweet almond oil.

Hair Removal

  • If you shave, definitely use a protective layer of shaving cream or aloe vera. This will not only help the razor glide more smoothly over your skin, it creates a protective layer that can reduce razor burn and skin irritation in general.

  • Consider a semi- or permanent hair removal solution like waxing or electrolysis. If waxing, it’s important to be gentle while thorough to prevent ingrown hairs and clogged pores.
    Lightly exfoliating before waxing makes for a better experience. Also, gently exfoliate a day after the wax if the area isn't red, inflamed or irritated. Try to avoid wearing super tight clothing that can irritate skin and damage hair follicles.