Pimples on Legs Causes, Remedies and Treatments

Why do I have pimples on my legs or is it normal to have them? If you have these zits on your legs, you are not alone because many other people have the same problem too. We are going to take you through what they are and how they are formed, causes as well as what you can do about them.

Pimples on legs can be small or big, they can be just on legs or also on your thighs, buttocks and between your legs. They can also be painless or painful especially they are large or you irritate them.

What are pimples and how are they formed?

Medical News Today while covering on Pimples (Zits, Spots): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments says that pimples (zits or spots) are “small skin lesions or inflammations of the skin – they develop when sebaceous glands (oil glands) become clogged and infected, leading to swollen, red lesions filled with pus”.

Pimples on legs
What causes them and how they be treated?


Therefore, the development of these small papules or pustules is closely connected to sebaceous oil production, accumulation of dead skin cells, dirt accumulation, bacteria presence (and in some cases yeast infection) and clogged pores.

To broaden your understanding a little on your skin and hair follicles, the root of each hair follicle has a sebaceous gland that produces sebum (natural oil). Sebum helps in ensuring your skin does not dry and it remains supple. Sebum often comes to the skin surface via small openings called pores.

During normal skin renewal, dead skin is shed off, which can at times be clumped together with sebum and dirt to create plug or comedo. This plug can trap more oil being produced by your sebaceous glands as well as bacteria. When bacteria is trapped, your immune system responds by producing white blood cells that will be attacking the bacteria and thus a pimple is formed.

Therefore, the causes have something to do with any of these factors that influence pimple formation we have seen. Let us now discuss the actual reasons why you may end up with these zits.


If you have pimples on your legs, there are a number of reasons where they are there. We are going to break down the various causes. Assess these causes and try to see what could be triggering those pimples or zits you have.

Your clothing choice

If you suffer from the leg or even thigh pimples, it could be due to wearing tightly fitting shots, socks and pants especially when they are made from unbreathable fabrics such as polyester. These clothes affect normal skin breathing and can retain sweat very close to your skin. This can result to this acne type.

Leg sweating

Sweating together with oil, dirt and can cause pimples but not sweat alone. Furthermore, sweat can clog your pores leading to acne breakout especially when they rub together or in hot weather when legs tend to sweat a lot.

Dirty gym equipment

If you end up with pimples after you begin workouts, it could the dirt on your gym equipment such as mats, benches, etc. that is clogging your pores and encouraging them to form. Sweating during your workouts can also clog your pores, which together with bacteria can lead to their formation

Cosmetics you use

Cosmetics you are using especially your moisturizers, lotions, and sunscreens which are oil based could be triggering these pimples.

Stressed, during pregnancy or menstruation

If you have pimple flares during pregnancy when you are menstruating or you are stressed, these could be related to hormonal changes since each of these events often cause hormonal balance changes. This explains why teens during puberty tend to have acne breakouts on various parts of their body including face, chest, back, arms, legs, thighs, etc.

Laundry detergents and softeners

It is possible your laundry detergents and softeners could be triggering your leg pimples. If you began using any new type and you started having outbreaks, consider discontinuing it.

How to get rid, treat, reduce and control them

If you are ever having the problem of pimples on your legs, we have come up with a few steps, which can help you deal with this menace.

Step 1: Keep good personal hygiene

Bath/shower daily and clean your legs well with a mild antibacterial soap. Rinse the soap off well, pat your legs gently to dry them. This is important, livestrong.com notes “bacteria helps to contribute to acne, so regularly washing it away can help to eliminate and prevent future acne”.

If you are not certain what to use, see your dermatologist to advise you on good cleansing regimen suitable for people who have pimples since it can reduce chances of breakouts  Also, always ensure your gym equipment are clean and use long pants that are breathable while working out.

Step 2: Avoid popping them

Whereas there is the temptation to want to squeeze your pimples, it is advisable not to since doing so spreads bacterial to other parts of your legs and can cause new outbreaks.

However, if you have to squeeze them, ensure it is done hygienically, and when they are ripe. Squeezing to early can cause inflammation and infection. Squeezing can help them heal faster.

Step 3: over the counter topical medications

There are a number of over the counter medications for acne especially those with benzoyl peroxide, which helps in reducing oil production as well as kill bacteria. Products with glycolic acid (AHA) and salicylic acid (BHA) can also be helpful.

Step 4: choose your cosmetics wisely

Always go for mostly water based noncomedogenic moisturizers and sunscreens whenever you are going to the sunshine in shorts or skirts.

Besides sunburn and tans, excessive exposure of your legs to sunshine can cause a reaction to some anti-acne products you may be using.

Step 5: healthy diet

Ensure you are on a good well-balanced diet with enough zinc and vitamin A (consult your doctor before increasing the amount of vitamin A). Also, drink lots of water as it ensures your body is well hydrated and it helps in flushing toxins from your body.

From shaving & ingrown hairs

For those who shave their legs often, it is possible to have pimple-like small red bumps on your legs. These are not the normal kind of pimples but rather ingrown hair and your skin’s reaction to razor injuries (razor rash).

To help deal with pimples on legs from shaving, skinacea.com re commends you always, “go for lotion with AHA in it to prevent ingrown hairs” and “shave in the direction hair grows instead of against it.”

Youngwomenshealth.org also encourages to you to use “shaving gel for sensitive-skin (if you shave your legs) along with a clean (not dull) razor”.

Try home remedies

There are many resources and references where you can get tons of natural remedies for leg pimples. We will not discuss their details but just mention them.  Some of the recommended home remedies include:

  • lemon juice use
  • diluted tea tree oil
  • turmeric + olive

Get more details on these home remedies on the post: How to Get Rid of Pimples on the Legs and Thighs

References and cited works
  • http://www.pimplestap.com/how-to-get-rid-of-pimples-on-the-legs-and-thighs.html
  • http://youngwomenshealth.org/2014/10/22/i-have-bad-pimples-on-my-legs-is-this-normal-and-how-do-i-get-rid-of-it/
  • http://www.skinacea.com/acne/body-acne-map.html#.V9krXZh97Dc
  • http://www.livestrong.com/article/198123-how-to-get-rid-of-pimples-on-your-legs/

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