With party season on the horizon many of us will be looking for party dresses to don to the office get-together; whether that’s a micro mini, midi or even a maxi there will be some semblance of leg on show. The thought of showing some leg can strike fear into the best of us, especially when we are faced with a social media feed of airbrushed beauty on the daily.
One of the main concerns we’ve found people worry about is ‘strawberry skin’, aka the dot-like marks that resemble strawberry seeds.
What Is Strawberry Skin & What Causes It?
Simply put, it’s the dot-like marks caused when the hair follicles enlarge and fill with oil, dirt and dead skin. There are a few main culprits that cause this, which are:
Shaving: This method of hair removal cuts the hair as close to the skin as the blade, meaning the hair isn’t removed from the follicle so is still partially visible. This can give the effect of strawberry skin, especially if your hair is dark or thick. Using blunted or old razors can make this appear worse too, as the blade cannot cut the hair as close to the skin.
Clogged Pores: Much like clogged pores on the face can leave comedones/blackheads, it’s the same on the legs too. Excess oil and sebum can clog pores, and once these filled pores oxidise, they turn a darkened colour.
Folliculitis: Hair follicles can become damaged from shaving, waxing and tight clothing, thus resulting in them becoming enlarged or infected, causing marks.
Keratosis Pilaris: Also known as KP, this is a relatively harmless skin condition that causes tiny red, brown, or white bumps. Keratin is a protein that is produced by the skin, but excess production, along with excess oil, can result in KP. Although this is quite different to strawberry skin, when the bumps caused by KP are dark in colour it can resemble strawberry skin.
Is Strawberry Skin Something To Be Concerned About?
It’s definitely more of a visual concern than a health concern. However, it can resemble other skin conditions, so if you do have worries, or the condition becomes painful/uncomfortable seek medical advice from your pharmacist or GP.
How Can You Prevent Strawberry Skin?
Prep: Whether your hair removal method of choice is shaving, waxing, or epilating it’s all in the prep to make sure you’re making the most of your chosen method. If you choose to shave, make sure to do so in the bath or shower in order for the hot water and steam to soften the hair follicles. Dry shaving is asking for trouble, especially when it comes to strawberry skin.
No matter the hair removal method it’s always best to exfoliate beforehand to ensure there are minimal dead skin cells waiting to clog up your pores and follicles. When shaving you can exfoliate just before, but if waxing or epilating it’s advised to do so 24 hours before.
Clean: Once your skin has been exfoliated make sure you to cleanse the areas using a light, yet moisturising body wash to ensure the pores cannot be clogged with dirt and grime.
Hair Removal: If you choose to shave make sure to use the right shaver for your needs, and that the blades are clean and replaced regularly to ensure they are not blunted. When it comes to waxing ensure the hair is grown back before repeating the process, as waxing shorter hairs can cause them to snap instead of being removed from the root, thus leaving the follicle with blunted hair.
Aftercare: Once you’re as smooth as a seal it’s time to keep it up with aftercare to prevent strawberry skin. Regularly cleansing the area, exfoliation and keeping the area moisturized will all help. However, there are some extra steps you can do too, like using body washes with AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) in them to keep pores clean and skin fresh. For underarms, you can also use Salicylic acid on the area once a week to help prevent strawberry skin, reduce the appearance of darkened skin and also it helps to prevent BO.
When it comes to moisturisers it’s always best to have richer formulas with ceramides to help protect the skin barrier – yes, even the skin on our body needs barrier protection.
Remember, you won’t see results overnight and will need to maintain a routine, so stick with it. If you do have worries your ‘strawberry skin’ could be another condition, then always seek medical advice.