Having trouble with ingrown hairs and strawberry skin? Ingrown hairs are not only a pain cosmetically in how your skin looks, but they can also cause painful skin issues such as bumps, boils, and infected hair follicles. Strawberry skin is a similar skin issue in that it also results in unsightly skin. Therefore learning how to prevent ingrown hairs and strawberry skin will help you to enjoy the way your skin looks and avoid the discomfort that comes as a result of these skin issues.
Strawberry legs or dark pores on the skin, often appearing as dark spots all over the skin, are caused by clogged pores and hair follicles. It is a common problem, often more noticeable on women of color. Your skin can get clogged with excess oil, dirt or other debris and when this mixes with the air and the melanin in your skin, it causes darkness in your hair follicles resulting in dark little dots wherever your follicles are, giving off the appearance of strawberry looking skin. Ingrown hair is when your hair curls on itself or grows oddly into the skin. Both strawberry skin and ingrown hairs are similar issues in that the solution is the same. Below is my 4 step body care routine that has helped me solve the issue of ingrown hairs and the look of bumpy, dark spots on my skin. This routine can be used on your legs, underarms, bikini area, anywhere where you tend to get ingrown hairs and have issues of the skin.
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Each step of this routine is important, however this step will target the root cause of clogged pores and ingrown hairs. Exfoliation comes in two forms- chemical and physical. Chemical exfoliation removes dead sin cells, unclogs pores, smoothes the skin and also helps with texture and hyperpigmentation or scarring (which often happens after ingrown hairs have become bumps under the skin such as acne scarring). Physical exfoliation is when you use exfoliating products with beads or sugar in them which physically polishes away dead skin through abrasion. I have found that both forms are necessary in order to get deep in to the pores, prevent ingrown hairs, and help to eradicate discoloration and uneven skin texture.
My scrub of choice is Neutrogena’s Body Clear Body Scrub which contains scrubby beads as well as salicylic acid which is an acne treatment that gets deep into the pores and treats the skin to reveal blemish-free, smooth and clear skin. I also use a loofah or shower gloves to increase the exfoliation and to ensure that I am getting all of the debris out of my pores. Exfoliating is something you want to do before and after hair removal because it helps to expose ingrown hairs (ensure your hair is sticking up and not caught in your pores) which allows you to remove them more easily when you shave/wax. Exfoliating also helps to clean out the debris and hair stuck in your pores which causes strawberry skin. Therefore this step is truly essential to prevent ingrown hairs and achieve clear, smooth skin.
Shaving can increase the appearance of bumpy skin and dark pores if not done properly. First, you must always shave with lubrication. Use a shaving cream, creamy soap or other beauty product in order to provide lubrication to your skin. When you lubricate the skin, you allow for a closer shave and also eliminate red, itchy and irritated skin. I like to use Aveeno’s Positively Smooth Shave Gel. It’s moisturizing and calming to the skin and provides a nice creamy lather.
Secondly, you must use a sharp, fresh razor. Many people get ingrown hairs and have dark pores as a result of using a dull razor which drags against the skin and does get close enough to the hair follicle. After you’ve exfoliated, your hair is exposed. It is then important to use a sharp razor that will get close enough to the follicle to remove all traces of hair. And trust me, this step is very important if you want to prevent ingrown hairs as well as dark spots on the skin.
I recently bought a sharp, double edge razor and in combination with these other steps, it made a huge difference in how my skin turned out. A clue that your razor is too dull is if you can feel it dragging against your skin. A sharp razor should glide against your skin and feel as if there was no blade there. This razor also made shaving my bikini line extremely easy compared to the disposable razors I would get at the grocery store. It catches more hair, gets closer to the skin, and glides very smoothly without any nicks or bumps.
This step is particularly important to incorporate before and after shaving/waxing to help prevent ingrown hairs. I recommend using a gentle exfoliator such as Tend Skin to further expose the hair before it is removed and then again after to soothe the skin and help seal your pores. This solution is very effective at decreasing bumps, ingrown hairs and razor burn and I use it in combination with the steps above.
*If you are getting professional skin treatments (chemical peels, lazor hair removal…etc.) or using pharmaceutical grade treatments for your skin, then allow significant time in between these treatments and when you use other exfoliators such as tend skin- as this could cause chemical burns and damage to the skin.*
Exfoliating with scrubs and liquid solutions can dry out the skin, therefore it’s very important to use a good moisturizer. I prefer the Super Supreme Body Butter from Sephora. This body butter is super thick and creamy but absorbs so well in to the skin and does not cause greasiness or oiliness. It’s a very luxurious moisturizer for the body and for $26, you get a huge tub of body butter that will last you forever. I have also heard that the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is great for problem skin and is an affordable option you can purchase at Target or online here.
If you incorporate all of these steps, you should see a major difference in how your skin looks after shaving or waxing. Following this routine really helped me to solve the issue of strawberry skin on my legs and prevent ingrown hairs in my bikini area. Now that I follow this routine, I don’t have to worry about dark pores or the painful bumps I would get from ingrown hairs. I hope you found this post helpful and can put some of these tips to use!
To see my body care routine put into action, check out my Youtube video here!