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Pimple-Like Bumps on My Legs

Pimple-Like Bumps on My Legs Pimple-Like Bumps on My Legs

Overview

The point of shaving your legs is largely to have ready-to-bare legs, so getting unsightly bumps every time you shave isn't ideal. If you thought pimple-like bumps only happen on your face, the first time you spy ugly red bumps on your legs can be a nasty surprise. Understanding what causes them -- and how to get rid of them -- can help you deal with leg bumps quickly and effectively.

Identification

If you shave or wax your legs, it's common to notice pimple-like bumps on your legs after defoliating. These bumps may be small and rounded or they may have pus-filled or blister-like heads, explains the Mayo Clinic. Sometimes, they're just unsightly; other times, these bumps may be itchy, inflamed or even painful.

Cause

The most likely cause of pimple-like bumps is ingrown hairs caused by shaving, a condition known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, notes Columbia University Health Services. When leg hair curls back into your skin and pierces it with an end sharpened by shaving, the intrusion can cause an immune system response that leads to redness, inflammation and irritation. The resulting inflamed bumps look a lot like pimples.

Prevention/Solution

Prevent ingrown hairs by always using a lubricating shave gel and fresh razor and by shaving in the direction that your hair grows naturally instead of against it. To treat existing bumps, use a body wash that contains salicylic acid or glycolic acid -- the same kind you'd choose for acne problems -- to exfoliate skin and help release the ingrown hairs, recommends "Seventeen" magazine assistant beauty editor Rachael Nichol. Follow up with a dab of cortisone cream to soothe inflammation and redness.

Expert Insight

If you have an extremely painful ingrown hair, you can try removing the hair yourself. But just as with squeezing a pimple on your face, this procedure has the potential to cause a scar on your leg and should only be used occasionally. Use a warm compress to soften the problem hair, then gently lift the piercing hair with a sterilized needle, recommends the Mayo Clinic.

Warning

If ingrown hairs are an ongoing problem, talk with your dermatologist. Over time, chronic ingrown hairs can lead to permanent scarring, patches or spots of hyperpigmentation and bacterial infections, warns the Mayo Clinic. You may need medical treatment for your ingrown hairs to prevent permanent problems.

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