Ask Grace: Why Do I Get Strawberry Legs?
I’ve noticed that after I’ve shaved my legs they’re covered in loads of tiny little dots. My friends call this ‘strawberry legs’. What is it and why does it happen?
First up, this is super common, not painful, and not harmful, so it’s definitely nothing to worry about. The little dots you’re noticing are the exposed pores or hair follicles that you’ve just shaved hair from. Like all pores, they’re always there and there’s no way to remove them or ‘close’ them – although it is possible to reduce their appearance. They are usually most visible when they’re clogged with a build-up of oil and dead skin cells, and when they’re exposed after shaving and air reaches the buildup inside, this causes oxidisation which makes them darker and even more visible. The irritation caused by shaving can also make the pores look more noticeable by causing inflammation and redness. As for the term ‘strawberry legs’, this comes from the resemblance of the dotted or pitted appearance of skin to the seeds in a strawberry.
The best way to treat (and prevent) strawberry legs is to exfoliate regularly. Using a combination of physical exfoliants (scrubs) and chemical exfoliants (acids) helps to ensure that all congestion, such as dead skin, oil, dirt, tan, product residue, and pollution is efficiently removed from pores. Look out for scrubs, body washes, exfoliating pads, and moisturisers that contain ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid to break down this buildup. Speaking of moisturisers, keeping your skin hydrated can reduce the appearance of exposed pores, so although it doesn’t seem like an obvious answer, moisturising daily will also be beneficial.
Your hair removal technique is also something to consider – waxing removes the full hair shaft right from the root so causes less irritation to the pore, whereas laser hair removal can (over time) prevent hair regrowth altogether. If you do continue to shave, ensure you use sharp blades and a dedicated shaving cream to ensure a smooth finish and non-irritating removal. If you notice any red dots appearing immediately after shaving this is a histamine reaction. Again, nothing to worry about, and easily solved with a soothing gel or aloe-based body moisturiser.