Now that the weather is warming up you can’t wait to show off those gorgeous gams. But if you’re anything like me you may have small dark spots covering your legs that are less than ideal. This also known as strawberry skin, named as such because the dots resemble the seeds on the skin of a strawberry. Keep reading to see what you can do to rid yourself of the unsightly marks and put your best foot forward this summer.
First let’s talk about what those dark marks really are, open comedones. A comedo is a dilated hair follicle that is filled with sebum (oils your skin produces naturally), dead skin, and bacteria, which oxidizes and turns dark at the surface. This is more commonly known as……a blackhead. Yes. That’s right, those are a bunch of tiny little blackheads all over your legs.
So how do you get rid of them? Exfoliation is key to get rid of blackheads on your body or your face. Getting rid of strawberry legs will take both a physical and a chemical exfoliant.
Physical or manual exfoliants work by using friction to scrape the dead cells off the top surface of your skin. When it comes to my body I like to dry brush my skin before I get into the shower and use a body scrub, like this DIY Brown Sugar Scrub, in the shower. My skin is pretty resilient and can take a double exfoliation like this about 3 days a week. If your skin is more sensitive please alter the regime so that you don’t get too irritated.
After the physical exfoliation I like to follow up with a chemical exfoliant to really get rid of the dead skin cells on a microscopic level. Chemical exfoliants are topical ingredients that break down the “glue” that binds dead skin cells to each other, allowing them to shed. I like to use the Mario Badescu AHA Botanical Body Soap. Alpha Hydroxy Acids are derived from fruit and milk sugars. The most common AHAs are glycolic, lactic, and malic acids. I lather the body wash on a poof or I may use a loofah if I’ve been lazy with the physical exfoliating for a two-in-one. A special note about AHAs, they will make your skin more sensitive to the sun so make sure you put on some spf before heading out!
You also want to be very careful with how you choose to remove the hair on your legs. While shaving, for most of us, is the quickest, most convenient way to remove leg hair it also can be the culprit behind your dark spots. Shaving with a dull razor can drag on the skin leaving those follicles open and ready for all kinds of nasty to pool in there. There are other hair removal options out there that don’t cause the strawberry issue, waxing and epilating for example. But if those options are just too painful for you or your a little lazy like me and convenience is high on the list of things you like follow these steps to lessen the likelihood of comedones.
-Exfoliate before you shave. A scrub alone works best.
-Allow yourself some time in the shower before you begin shaving. Let those pores open up first.
-Lubricate! Neeeeeever, ever, ever, ever shave your skin without a lubricating barrier. You don’t have to use anything fancy. My favorite thing to use is plain ole Aloe Vera Gel, you can get it cheap and it has many other uses.You can even use your conditioner.
-Use a fresh razor. Yea I know good razors aren’t cheap and nobody wants to spend half their paycheck on them but you’re saving your skin here ladies! If you dry your razor off and store it outside of the humid conditions of your bathroom you can get 2-3 uses out of it. (I’ve been seriously considering getting an old school metal razor with interchangeable blades because tossing all that plastic is not good for the environment)
-Exfoliate after you shave. You’re probably sick of the word by now but your scrub is your BFF.
-Splash a little cold water on your legs after shaving (and exfoliating) to close your pores.
After I get out of the shower and dry off I make sure to moisturize. Skin that doesn’t get enough moisture will go into panic mode and produce more oil (sebum) to compensate. And we do not want those problems hunny. That’s what got us here in the first place! This Savannah Bee Company Royal Jelly Body Butter is my holy grail night time moisturizer. It sinks into my skin so easily, doesn’t feel greasy, and leaves me feeling impossibly soft. I really can’t rave enough about this stuff. I use the sensitive version just because I prefer the chamomile scent but the regular smells great too. You can’t go wrong either way.
And if all else fails and you want a quick fix there is always leg makeup. Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs has been around for years and is great in a pinch for creating the illusion of flawless legs. There definitely is a learning curve when it comes to application. I’ve found the best way is to spray the product in my hands then quickly rub it on my legs but once you’ve got it down the foundation like spray is great for special events or a night on the town.