Was I doing something wrong?
It got even more frustrating when other girls in school would highlight how uneven the texture of my legs looked and that I was probably not shaving properly. I was always concerned about this and up to my twenties, I was researching every hair removal technique there is to help me achieve those desirable silky-smooth legs.
I am now in my 30’s and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realised that I wasn’t alone. There is a whole community of women suffering from this condition - Keratosis Pilaris - which causes bumpy, patchy or rough skin. It is more commonly known as “strawberry legs” or “chicken skin” (depending on skin tone) because of the appearance of small dots on the epidermis. It is considered a common, harmless skin condition which results in bumps visible on the thighs, upper arms or buttocks, but usually do not hurt or itch.
The keratin builds up in the skin which causes the hair follicles (pores) to become blocked. Every hair on the body grows out of a hair follicle, so there are thousands of them, which explains the vast number of bumps on the legs and arms.
There are various costly cosmetic products on the market to help with this condition. Some might even be proven to be effective, but in my opinion, the consistent use of these topical products can be very costly.
The best (cost-effective) advice I can give to anyone with this condition after reading through hundreds of blogs and vlogs is as follows:
EXFOLIATE: Make sure you exfoliate daily. Whether it’s a mild exfoliating product that can be used on the skin daily or an exfoliating mitt or loofa sponge under the shower in combination with your regular shower gel. Another popular method is the so called “dry brushing”: a dry hand brush with natural bristles is used on dry skin. Starting at your ankles, working your way towards your heart. Then moving on to the wrists and massaging in gentle strokes from the wrists towards the heart. A nice side effect here is the stimulation of the lymphatic flow and removal of waste and toxins in the body’s tissue.
MOISTURIZE: Always moisturize your skin right after taking a shower or bath, using lotions containing glycerine which help to keep the skin supple and hydrated. Try to avoid waiting hours before applying body lotion and make it a habit of doing so immediately after drying off. Sometimes I also use medicated creams containing Urea, Salicylic Acid or Lactic Acid, which are available over the counter. These are applied onto dry, clean skin followed by another layer of moisturizing body lotion.
HAIR REMOVAL: Be mindful when it comes to hair removal: most blogs recommend laser hair removal which I think is the best option. However, this is not the most cost-effective method for some of us. I have found that waxing is a good alternative but please keep in mind this is my personal view and only a dermatologist can assess your skin condition and recommend appropriate treatment. From personal experience, shaving is the least effective way of hair removal for “Strawberry skin”.
CONCEALER: I have also tried a few instant solutions such as body concealer and instant glow products. The concealer did camouflage the appearance of my bumps and I recommend it for an event that lasts a few hours. Unfortunately it was pretty messy and it needs some practice to apply it evenly and streak-free. The tinted glow lotion might also work for some women since it is supposed to capture the rays of light, but it did not do the job for me 100%, since I felt like it almost accentuated the uneven texture of my thighs.
FISHNET TIGHTS: Invest in some tights. You may think I am crazy suggesting this, but this has got to be the most important piece of advice. I found an awesome company that provides skin-colored fishnets in a variety of shades. It is an instant fix and I have reused my pair about 6 times by now. I just put them inside a sock so they do not get caught on anything, and put on a quick 30 degree wash with my other delicates.
Let’s be real: Trying out the various methods mentioned above can help but won’t ever completely remove those annoying little bumps. Unfortunately, there is no official cure for Keratosis Pilaris. If, like myself, you have already tried several remedies and not satisfied, then you might still feel a little self-conscious when wearing skirts or shorts. Somehow your legs start to look 10 times worse after you leave the house and start comparing them to all the other oh so silky-smooth legs around you.
As much as I do love having smooth legs, shaving and waxing too often isn’t always ideal for Keratosis pilaris. For this reason, I have make sure I always purchase a few pairs of skin toned fishnets. They are like the added armour I need to make me feel confident and sexy when I have my legs out. Anyone would think “you are absolutely insane for wearing sheer tights in the middle of the summer”… but skin toned fishnets are different! Trust me. They blend with your natural skin tone and allow your legs to breathe. Another amazing feature is they are snag resistant, so you don’t have to worry about ladders. If Beyoncé and JLo rock fishnets with their leotards during their insane dance routines, so can I in my denim shorts, right?!
I went with the “Naked style” from Carnivalista, because it gives you more coverage with the smaller net, and it was so easy for me to find the perfect match to my skin tone.
Wearing fishnet tights is now my all-year-round solution, and I do not think about my “Strawberry legs” anymore when I choose my outfits. I know that my faithful pair of Carnivalista Fishnet tights will always make me feel sexy, regardless.
THAT EVERY DAY ITEM
I remember my mother wearing sheer stockings to work (always in black) with any outfit, regardless of the overall color of her attire (oh how we love the 80’s). As I grew older, I had this association that tights were a very drab boring accessory for the office or church visits. For a special, more fancy occasion, you could step up your look and bring in colour and patterns…but that was pretty much it. More recently, it seems there has been a reinvention of what tights are to a women’s outfit.
Fashion is so eclectic and there are no written “rules” for what should be paired with what. It used to be so daunting to keep up with the latest fashion trends but these days I feel like I can throw an outfit together in the dark and someone, somewhere will complement me on my “drip”.
My only thought process when it comes to getting dressed is: when and where? That’s what I absolutely love about fishnet tights, it is my go-to accessory for everything with no limitations. It’s almost like that everyday item you bring with you as second nature, my phone, my mask, and now my fishnet tights. The skin tone shades make them so perfect and suitable to wear to everyday places like the office, since they blend so nicely with your skin tone. They can hardly be seen, and you don’t have to go through the whole matching process because they are made to enhance the skin you are in!
Ok, and I am only adding this because of the number of compliments I have gotten from wearing these tights. For me, hiding my legs away for so many years and constantly feeling a bit awkward around groups of people, left me very uneasy about showing my legs. Endless comments like “Why do you have so many Goosebumps, are you cold?” No hunny, I’m just human and my legs aren’t made from silk! I always used a scarf or my bag to cover up my dots so that my skin wouldn’t be a topic of conversation.
Recently I was on a date and when I mentioned to him, I was wearing tights, he oh so gently caressed my leg with his hands. In awe and shock, he couldn’t believe I had tights on, so had to feel for himself (or maybe it was just an excuse to touch them because they looked so inviting wink wink!?). I have never been complimented on my legs and to experience this whole new world of confidence and feeling like a lady again is such an amazing boost!
As much as the constant compliments are welcoming (and you will definitely get A LOT), it is the confidence I have when wearing them. I know you might think, come on they are just tights?! But for me it is so much more than that. When you have lived with hiding an imperfection that brought you so much shame before, and for me it is the keratosis pilaris, you really appreciate it when you find a solution. For other people it may be a burn, a scar, veins, or cellulite. Whatever it is that made you feel that constant dread when wanting to wear a cute outfit but knowing it will never feel flawless.
Wearing fishnet tights has addressed this so easily and has made me feel sexy and womanly . At the end of the day, confidence always comes from within. It really is about how you feel about yourself which gives you that real sense of empowerment. We all have our own personal journeys to self-love, but having a few tiny trinkets to help us on the way make it a little bit easier.
You can purchase your skin-tone Carnivalista fishnet tights here
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