Do you ever notice dark spots on your legs after you shave? Turns out they're small, open holes in your legs that can hold oil, dirt, or bacteria after shaving. Don't worry though — they're totally normal and easy to prevent. These open holes can lead to "strawberry legs," or legs with dark spots on them. One year when actress/talk show host Raven-Symone was a guest on The Talk, she mentioned the problem.
What Are Strawberry Legs?
Improper shaving technique can lead to dark spots or pores on the skin often referred to as strawberry legs. These spots are open comedones with excess dirt, oil or bacteria trapped inside, lending a dark color to the pore.
"I have something called strawberry legs...I have really, really dark pores because of the hair," she told the ladies of The Talk. "I wear sheer hose when I'm on the red carpet and when I'm working so I don't have to wear makeup. Otherwise I use Dermablend, which is what exotic dancers use to cover all their marks and stuff, and it gets all over your clothes. So I wear sheer pantyhose."
What Causes Strawberry Legs?
Improper shaving can lead to ingrown hairs. It can also cause what looks like dark dots on the skin that are often referred to as strawberry legs or dark pores. Sometimes mistaken as dirt, these dark dots resemble the spots on the skin of strawberries (hence the informal description) and are more noticeable on some people than others.
So, Why Do They Appear Dark or Black?
The dark spots or pores are actually open comedones, a dark semisolid plug of oxidized debris. These open comedones can have excess oil, dirt, or bacteria trapped inside. The blockage of sebum, debris, or bacteria mixes with air and melanin, and the reaction causes the opening to appear dark or black.
It's All in Your Shaving
First: exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Regular exfoliation helps keep these dark pores at bay, and so do proper shaving methods, shaving tools, and a good skin care regimen. It's recommended to exfoliate your legs on a regular basis with a body scrub that polishes away dead skin cells. One of our favorite body scrubs is the Alba Botanica Hawaiian Body Polish because it gently scrubs away dead skin and leaves your skin feeling soft.
Since the appearance of dark pores might be because of your shaving technique, the first thing to do is to make sure that you are properly shaving your legs to avoid getting strawberry legs.
Perfecting Your Technique
Preventing strawberry legs actually starts a day or two before you shave. To help exfoliate, vigorously brush legs with a soft dry brush with circular motions prior to your bath or shower. Then, soak skin in warm water for 5-10 minutes before you shave to open skin pores and hair follicles, draw out impurities, and loosen dead skin cells trapped inside the pores.
When You're Actually Shaving
- Shave during or after a warm shower when pores are larger.
- Use a good razor—one that will not require you to use a lot of pressure as you shave and that provides a closer shave without causing the hair to snap back and cause ingrown hairs. We recommend Billie razors or the Oui Shave razors.
- Make sure that your razor blades are sharp. Dull blades drag against the skin and increase the chance of the hair curling back into the skin causing razor bumps or ingrown hairs.
- Apply an aloe-based or moisturizing shaving cream or gel, following the direction of your hair growth. Next, gently shave in direction of hair growth. Avoid passing over the same area too many times, which will irritate the skin. Also be careful not to stretch your skin tight while shaving.
- After shaving, splash with cold water to close your pores and hair follicles.
- Pat your skin dry. Rubbing can irritate your skin. Apply a fragrance-free cream or moisturizer or a lotion made for aftershave to reduce redness. Some people prefer using a post-shave oil, too, like the Fur Ingrown Concentrate. Let the moisturizer absorb into the skin.
If the problem persists, you can try these additional steps to get rid of dark pores on the legs, or switch to a different hair removal method, like waxing or even laser hair removal.