Shaving Tips to Prevent "Strawberry Legs"

Help for Dark Pores on the Legs

Woman shaving legs with shaving cream and razor
If you have strawberry legs, it could be caused by your shaving technique. Stockbyte / Stockbyte / Getty Images

Have you been noticing the appearance of dark dots on your legs after shaving? It's normal. It's nothing to worry about and you're not alone. One year when actress/talk show host Raven-Symone was a guest on The Talk, she mentioned the problem. 

"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 Are 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 women of color than others.

What Makes the Pores 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 skin pigment (melanin) and the reaction causes the opening to appear dark or black. You end up with legs that no longer appear clear and smooth.

Tips for a Smooth Shave

Exfoliate! Regular exfoliation helps keep these dark pores at bay as well as proper shaving methods, shaving tools and following a good skin care regimen to prevent them. It's recommended exfoliating your legs on a regular basis with a body scrub that polishes away dead skin cells.

A favorite body scrub is 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.

Here are tips to help you get a smooth shave and prevent dark pores from appearing on your legs:

Pre-Shave – 1 - 2 Days Before Hair Removal:

  • Dry Skin Brushing

Vigorously brush legs with a soft dry brush with circular motions prior to bath or shower. Buy Yerba Primo Tampico Skin Brush on Amazon.com.

  • Soak Skin to Open Pores

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.

Shaving Tips to Get Rid of Dark Pores on the Legs

  • 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.
  • Make sure that the blades are sharp. Dull blades drag against the skin and also increase the chance of the hair curling back into the skin causing razor bumps.
    • Apply an aloe-based or moisturizing shaving cream or gel, following 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 the skin while shaving.
    • After shaving, splash the skin with cold water to close the pores and hair follicles.
    • Pat the skin dry. Apply a fragrance-free cream or moisturizer or a lotion made for aftershave to reduce redness. 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.