Waxing is the second most popular method of body hair removal, next to shaving. It involves applying a layer of hot or cold wax to the skin, and then quickly pulling it off.
There are generally two waxing methods: the non-strip method (hard wax) and the strip method (hot wax). The non-strip method causes less irritation. The strip method is faster but the hair grows back irregularly, rather than in one direction.
Because this method pulls hairs out at the level of the hair bulb, it lasts 6 to 8 weeks. Often the hair grows back softer. Many people have reduced hair growth after multiple treatments.
Wax can be irritating to the skin. It can cause redness, bumps, swelling, and folliculitis (inflammation/pus around the hair follicle). Folliculitis can lead to changes in skin pigmentation. These side effects are more common with facial waxing. Incorrect waxing can cause burns, bruising, and skin removal. Waxing can be messy. It’s also painful. You must be willing to have stubble/regrowth (2-3mm) until the hairs are long enough to be waxed again.
Waxing is not a safe method for everyone. If you are performing your own waxing treatment, check the instructions that come with your kit. If you are paying a practitioner to wax you, they will conduct an assessment to determine whether it is an appropriate method for you. They will not wax people who have a blood or circulatory disorder, epilepsy, diabetes, hemophilia, inflamed or irritated skin, or lupus. They will not wax an area that has a fracture or sprain, an active herpes outbreak, varicose veins, a sunburn, scar tissue, moles, skin tags, or warts.
There are also a number of medical treatments that react negatively with waxing including blood thinners, tetracyclin, Retin-A, Accutane, differin, chemotherapy and radiation. You may want to ask your heathcare provider if waxing is safe for you.
Don’t wax sensitive areas like the eyelids, ears, nose, or nipple area. Don’t wax your own eyebrows, as wax may drip into your eyelashes or eyes. Avoid tanning 24 hours before and after waxing.