Actress Raven-Symone has this problem. She calls them “strawberry legs”—the dark pores that resemble dark dots on the legs. Just like strawberries with tiny spots covering the fruit’s surface, dark pores can be quite noticeable on the legs, especially on light or olive skin tones. The medical term for these pores is open comedones. These are open pores that have excess oil, dirt and bacteria trapped inside the skin. Once exposed to the air, the oil reacts with oxygen and the pores turn dark or black.
Camouflage makeup is a quick fix, but if you don’t adequately remove the makeup you can end up making the problem worse by clogging the pores or further irritating the skin with chemical ingredients. And who wants to apply and then remove leg makeup every day? There’s also a chance of the makeup getting all over clothing and other things that your legs touch. So what can you do? Here are a few tips to help you get rid of dark pores on the legs.
Women often notice the appearance of dark pores after shaving their legs. Using a dull razor that pulls at the hair, but doesn’t completely remove the follicle, can cause this. The hair follicle opening becomes clogged and blocked with oil and dead skin cells. One thing you can do is to stop shaving. If that’s not a possibility, shave less frequently and when you do shave, here are tips to help you reduce the appearance of dark pores:
Vigorously brush legs with a soft dry brush with circular motions prior to bath or shower. 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.
- 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.
For more information read How to Shave Your Legs.
While shaving is the quickest, easiest and cheapest method for hair removal, it might be necessary to stop shaving. You can try alternative methods like depilatories, waxing or laser hair removal, but remember these methods have their own set of problems. Find the best hair removal method for you.
Regular Skin Care to Rid the Legs of Dark Pores
Reduce the chance of dark pores appearing by regularly exfoliating the skin to get rid of dead skin and blockage from sebum, dirt, and impurities that can get into the pores. These mixtures of ingredients are great to use for exfoliating the skin and help alleviate dark pores on the legs.
- Mix 2 tbsp of sugar with 4 tbsp of olive oil.
- Mix 1 tbsp of baking soda with 1 tsp of warm water.
- Mix enough salt with buttermilk to make a paste.
- Mix 2 tbsp of brown sugar, 2 tbsp aloe vera gel and 1 tsp lemon juice into a paste.
- Blend equal parts of brown sugar and baking soda with water to make a paste.
Instructions: Exfoliate with natural, mildly abrasive scrubs. Using a loofah, exfoliating mitt or a towel, gently massage the scrub onto affected areas (or the entire leg) with small circular motions for several minutes, beginning at the ankles and working your way up. Rinse or gentle wipe off with warm water. Splash skin with cold water.
Massage legs with healing oils or lotions with healing ingredients like aloe vera to increase circulation, keep skin moisturized and healthy. Other ideas:
- Add pure glycerin to vitamin E oil, almond oil, jojoba or coconut oil.
- Peel and mash a cucumber and apply the cucumber juice to affected areas. After a few usages this will help reduce the color of the dark pores.
- Add a couple of drops of tea tree oil to two tablespoons of olive oil and massage into the area for a few minutes.
- A few drops of sandalwood oil in olive oil or coconut oil
- Equal parts of lime (or lemon) juice, cucumber juice and rosewater to legs
- Apply egg whites on pores and leave on for several minutes, rinse with cold water
A note about the ingredients: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) aid in the shedding of dead skin for smoother skin and decrease inflammation from razor bumps, improve texture of the skin and decrease discoloration. Glycolic acid was originally derived from sugar cane, hence the use of sugar. Other AHAs are lactic acid (milk) and citric acid (lemons, limes). If you have sensitive skin and are prone to hyperpigmentation speak with a dermatologist who specializes in treating ethnic skin before using glycolic acid and AHAs. Also avoid abrasive scrubs.
Lime is an astringent and gentler on the skin than lemon. Cucumbers, aloe vera, rosewater and sandalwood oil are good for inflammation. Avocado and olive oil are great emollients. Coconut oil is antibacterial. Salt is a good for exfoliation, but sugar is a gentler exfoliant for sensitive skin. Brown sugar is better for sensitive skin than white granular sugar.