“Strawberry legs” is trending on google right now. News to you? The situation is this. On the one hand, you’ve got prominent pores, the openings which connect the sebaceous gland to the surface of the skin. And on the other hand, you have terminal hairs which are coarse, often dense and pigmented. Together this resembles the appearance of a strawberry, with the dark dots that speckle its sides. Now sometimes that’s it. But for others, there’s also a degree of redness around the dots and for yet others still there's maybe a degree of scaling.
What’s going on?
So, just like in other areas of the body, the hair follicle can be quite fussy. And may not be super-happy with your hair removal practices.
Shaving is perhaps the most common cause of inflammation. Now having consulted for a number of mens shaving brands over the years, I’ve learned what really matters are your tools and your technique. Here’s what you need to know:
- Warm hairs thoroughly so they soften. This allows them to be sliced with the blade using minimum friction. Less trauma, less skin irritation.
- Use a non-drying shaving lubricant - I’ll often use a moisturising shower cream or foam, rather than conventional shaving creams which are often full of fragrance and alcohol.
- Use a fresh blade and don’t pass over an area more than once - “mow the lawn”.
Consider shaving with the grain if you’re prone to ingrown hairs.
If you’re prone to ingrown hairs, or you have hairs that are curly, a leave-on product with a chemical exfoliant like lactic acid will help. Chemical exfoliation helps ensure that hairs don’t get stuck as they come through the skin’s surface.
Occasionally, I see individuals with keratosis pilaris who are struggling with this issue - like with KP, the treatment is aimed at reducing scaling around the hair follicles. I like AHAs but also find niacinamide and bakuchiol can help here. Flawless Body Therapy is excellent in that it smoothes, helps calm inflammation and exfoliates chemically. I think it also helps discourage ingrown hairs too.
Now whilst we can’t easily remove redness, we can smooth and we can definitely use self-tan to help blend it in. I love the St Tropez Self-tanning Drops which you can add to a body lotion and apply with a mitt for a mistake-proof wash of colour.
At the end of the day, this finding is utterly harmless and is only of concern if it bothers you. But hopefully I’ve shared some easy-to-action steps to feeling leg-confident this summer.