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A lot of us have experienced “strawberry legs”: small, dark, or pink-colored spots that appear on the legs after a shower and shave. At the very least, they can make you think twice before you put on a pair of shorts or a dress - at their worst, they can definitely impact your confidence.
Luckily, this isn’t just something that you have to deal with. You can treat “strawberry legs” and help stop them from forming altogether. Here’s how.
These dark spots are what’s known as open comedones,enlarged pores or hair follicles that are filled with sebum, debris, and bacteria mixed with air and melanin.
They’re like small blackheads up and down your legs, and they darken when the pores are opened and exposed to air (aka when you shave).
They generally appear due to a combination of factors, which include:
Keep in mind, strawberry legs are different from razor bumps and ingrown hairs - though the latter two can certainly contribute to the overall appearance.
Luckily, it’s not usually a super common or persistent problem. Instead, it’s a seasonal concern that plagues only about 10-15% of the population.
But that doesn’t make these strawberry seed-like marks any less of a buzzkill if and when they do pop up.
Here’s how to keep them from forming.
A contributing factor to strawberry legs is ingrown hairs, particularly if you have thicker body hair.
And ingrown hairs usually develop when the hair is broken off sharply and when there’s a buildup of excess dead skin that’s keeping that hair from growing properly.
The solution? Dry brushing and exfoliation.
Dry brushing, as the name suggests, is when you take a brush with thick bristles - like this body brush - and gently buff your skin in small, circular motions. In addition to helping ease the appearance of strawberry legs, regular dry brushing can also stimulate circulation, help treat dry skin, and even lessen the appearance of cellulite.
Then, do some gentle exfoliation in the shower. We always recommend an exfoliant that’s free of synthetics, harsh abrasives, microbeads, alcohol, and overly-harsh acids (you can learn more on that here) and full of hydrating, skin-soothing ingredients like vitamin E, jojoba, and antioxidants.
Now, doing this back-to-back may wind up over-exfoliating your skin, so we recommend that you alternate days or simply stick to the strategy that you like best.
Shaving with an old, dull, or cheap razor can totally cause strawberry legs - along with razor burn and full-blown folliculitis. The dull blades drag against the skin, increasing the chances of the hair curling back in or of skin congestion.
Make sure, then, that you choose a sharp, effective blade and that you change your blade at least every few weeks (depending on how thick your hair is, how your store your blade - out of the shower is better - and how frequently you shave).
Make sure you always have a ton of moisturizing, hydrating products involved before, during, and after your shave.
First, that means spending a few minutes in the shower before you shave to soften the hair on your legs. Next, do not skip the shaving cream. Bonus points if it has some antibacterial ingredients - like tea tree oil or lavender - to decrease the bacteria on the surface of the skin.
Finally, make sure you moisturize while your skin is still damp. This should be a fragrance-free, clean formula to avoid possible irritation - and you can even use a formula with some lactic acid (or other AHAs) if you need that extra oomph.
Besides changing your razor often and making sure to moisturize, there are other tips and tricks that can help keep these pesky bumps from appearing (and sticking around):
If all else fails and this remains a pressing concern for you, you may want to consider in laser hair removal or waxes/an epilator. While these options are more of an investment, they do provide a more permanent solution to these shave-related concerns.
Here’s to flawless, glowing skin!