Nobody’s nerfect, and we’ve all had qualms with our skin from time to time. whether you’re experiencing acne, ingrown hairs, or razor bumps, our skin is almost like a history book of who we are, where we’ve been, and even who our ancestors were (a.k.a., genetics).
one particularly pesky chapter of this book (to keep the metaphor going) is called “strawberry skin.”
strawberry skin is a condition that’s painless but makes itself known in other ways — namely, dark follicles and enlarged pores. while we all know we should love the skin we’re in, sometimes conditions like strawberry skin can make it harder for us to rock our favorite bathing suits with confidence come swim season.
tl;dr: as much as our skin should be loved and cared for no matter its appearance, everyone could use a little glow-up from time to time. that’s why we’ve compiled all the info you could want on strawberry skin right here in hopes that you and your skin find some much-needed tlc.
at the start of everyone’s skin history is our skin type. what most people don’t know — until they’ve exhausted every product, treatment, and serum on the market — is that skincare is all about how these products work in tandem with your individual skin type.
while your skin type will probably be most obvious on your face (hence why some struggle with acne, scarring, or irritation more than others), skin types can affect even the most remote places on your body. you could even have more than one type depending on what part of the body you’re addressing!
getting to know the five skin types and figuring out yours is the first step in combatting strawberry skin (and most other common skin complaints).
the 5 types
normal skin is a baseline equilibrium between the natural oils and sensitivities of your skin. harsh products don’t usually irritate you easily, and oilier products won’t overload you.
next up, dry skin is common throughout the body, even if it’s not the norm on your face. this skin type can worsen depending on things like weather (the colder, the drier) or as a result of certain medications.
oily skin is the most common cause of acne, body acne, or general breakouts. certain products or treatments should be avoided with this skin type as many will worsen the symptoms while others will help.
combination skin is a mix of the oily and dry skin types across different areas of the face and body. different types of products may be needed on different areas of the skin since multiple concerns may need to be addressed.
finally, sensitive skin is another big one that can affect multiple areas of the body. the skin is more easily irritated by simple things and should be treated with patience and care.
what is strawberry skin?
so, how does this relate to strawberry skin? what even is strawberry skin? both are valid questions — the skin is the biggest organ we have, and it can be hard to know exactly what’s happening beneath its surface. this is especially true on the legs, where strawberry skin is most common, as our legs can often get overlooked when we’re caring for the health of our skin.
beneath the surface
first, let’s identify the layers of skin at work here. skin is comprised of three main protective layers that act as a barrier between us and the world.
you can think of the first layer, the epidermis, as our waterproof casing. it’s an incredibly thin layer that actually provides us with our skin tone. and it createsnew skin when we get nicks or cuts.
our skin’s middle layer, the dermis, is basically a factory fully staffed and working overtime. the dermis supplies blood flow, lets us know when things are too hot, cold, soft, or itchy, and produces sweat and oil. this is also where your hair grows from, as if the sweat thing wasn’t enough.
finally, the deepest layer of skin, the hypodermis, acts as a cushion for our body. it protects the muscles and bones, supports the nerves and blood vessels, and even regulates your body temperature. and to think, all of this is happening less than an inch beneath our skin’s surface.
so, what’s happening in these thin layers of skin that results in the darkened appearance we see in our pores that resembles strawberry seeds? think of your hair follicles. these follicles anchor your hair to your skin with a hair bulb (the end of the follicle). strawberry skin (or strawberry legs, as they’re often called) is caused by these follicles naturally appearing darker than your skin or because the pores on your legs have been clogged with dead skin and debris.
basically, these are like little blackheads on your legs and body. this problem can be worsened by regularly shaving. oddly enough, strawberry skin isn’t prevalent in the areas of the body that aren’t shaved or where you let your hair grow out.
while never shaving again might help the problem, that’s not realistic for everyone. some of us love having smooth, clear, and hairless legs — and we deserve a strawberry skin-free life, too!
thankfully, there are other ways to de-seed these proverbial strawberries that we’ll get into more below.
it’s important to note that strawberry skin is in no way harmful to your body. it’s not hereditary, painful, or a symptom of a bigger issue. it really is just a nuisance to some of us and nothing more. if you are dealing with any pain, itching, or discomfort associated with what you think is strawberry skin, a dermatologist may need to be consulted (since it probably isn’t actually strawberry skin).
if you’re curious why shaving worsens strawberry skin when everyone has hair follicles, it’s because the act of shaving loosens and opens up the follicle and surrounding pores. that makes every follicle a new ground zero for the build-up of sebum, skin, and bacteria. no fun!
why do i have strawberry skin?
“but why do i have strawberry skin?” you might be asking. “i’ve never even dealt with razor burn!”
let’s jump into a play-by-play of how strawberry skin appears and why it might be affecting you more than the next person or vice versa.
how thick is a single hair? you might hazard a guess that it’s not all that thick, or maybe not thick at all. and that would be your first misstep! have you ever seen those side-view diagrams of popping a pimple or shaving a hair? that’s the kind of micro-scale we’re operating on when we think of strawberry skin.
when you’re shaving with a cheaply made or old razor, you might feel like you’re cutting that hair as close to the skin as humanly possible. plot twist: it’s not really that close. that hair follicle you’ve just opened up is still sitting thick with the hair bulb beneath the surface.
and that old razor? that’s just introduced fresh ingredients to the strawberry pie. this close-but-not-close shave could be why you’re noticing more prominent dark spots on your body after you’re finished with your shave.
some other common irritants could be the temperature of water you’re using to shave, how aggressively you’re shaving a certain area, how often you’re shaving, not moisturizing or exfoliating, or dry shaving.
overly dry skin could also be worsening the strawberry skin, as you aren’t taking steps to exfoliate all those extra dead and flaky skin cells away.
quite often, the thing your skin needs seems like the counterintuitive next step to freedom. exfoliate dry skin? moisturize oily skin? but it could be what you’re missing.
now that your skin history textbook has been severely flipped through, highlighted, annotated, and amended, get out that notebook and a number 2 pencil — let’s figure out your perfect tips and tricks guide on improving those strawberry seedlings.
the golden tool
first things first: you need a good razor. not just a good razor, actually — a great one. and we have just the thing.
hanni’s weighted, plastic-free razor makes shaving smooth sailing. there is no pressing, pinching, or pulling when shaving with hanni. our razor simply glides over the skin for a smooth and stress-free experience.
even those tricky parts of the leg like the knee or ankle don’t need you to press down or go over the area multiple times (in fact, we don’t recommend that at all). simply relax the leg, glide the razor gently over that taught area of the skin, and watch magic happen. you’ll be amazed at the closeness of the shave, the lack of pain and irritation, and the dolphin-smooth skin that comes with it.
if you’re looking for moisture and efficiency outside of the shower, too, hanni’s shave pillow makes that a reality for you. apply the pillow to any desired area and receive the benefits of deeper moisturization and a smoother shaving experience all in one, no matter where you are.
consistency is key
another must when caring for strawberry skin is to moisturize and exfoliate. gently exfoliating the dead skin from the clogged pores on a consistent (but not excessive) basis could see incredible improvement in the appearance of your skin. if you struggle with overly dry skin, then exfoliating is vital; however, it won’t solve the underlying issue of your skin type.
dry skin needs moisture (obviously), but that dry skin is often the very thing absorbing all the moisture and turning it dry before it has a chance to permeate to deeper layers of the skin. exfoliating is the answer here, too. a chemical exfoliation will rid you of those dead layers and make way for a quality moisturizer to do its thing and for your skin to actually retain the moisture.
of course, hanni’s plastic-free razor is also a dermaplaning tool, meaning that it helps you gently exfoliate your skin every time you shave.
if you try all these things and more with no success, then it might be time to face the music. in some cases of strawberry skin, a routine of exfoliation and hydration to combat the symptoms might not be enough.
while strawberry skin can be a hassle to deal with, it is a completely harmless condition that any human with follicles and pores can come into contact with.
sometimes, the hair itself is the culprit and not just the method of your shave or the products you use. in this case, the best method of treatment might be some form of waxing, sugaring, laser hair removal, or epilation. these methods ensure that the entire follicle is removed at the root, and while they might be the more taxing or pricey options for treating strawberry skin, it will be a lasting way to your goal.
if none of the fixes above are fitting the bill and bringing noticeable results, get on the phone with your dermatologist to see if something deeper beneath the surface might be taking place.
like it never happened
odds are, though, that one of the above remedies will bring about that lasting change you’ve been chasing. if so, we’re celebrating with you.
skin conditions can be some of the most annoying things to deal with on a daily basis. whether you have acne-prone skin that litters breakouts all over your face and body or are just trying to moisturize a pesky patch of dry skin in the winter, we empathize with the constant climb to glowing and healthy skin.
shaving is a huge part of that hike, whether people realize it all the time or not. taking a razor to your skin can either be a grating and abrasive experience that you just get through for the sake of obligation … or it can be a time to dote on yourself a bit, elevate your confidence, and get the glow should that be your goal.
at hanni, we strive to make that the experience for anyone who has our razor in hand. we want to innovate the tools of the trade to ensure that each and every shaver — when they decide to shave — finds shaving to be smooth and enjoyable from start to finish. we hope that you smile just a little bit bigger by the time you step out of the shower and lather on that lotion.
stepping out into the world with a freshly shaved pair of legs (void of their strawberry skin) can turn your entire day around without you even realizing it. all you’ll know is that you’re feeling a new type of way when you set out on the town, and for that, we can all get a little excited.
here’s to your skin’s next glow-up!
skin: layers, structure and function | Cleveland Clinic
anatomy, skin (integument), epidermis - statpearls | NCBI Bookshelf
hair (human anatomy): image, parts, follicle, growth, problems, and more | WebMD