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How to Avoid and Treat the Side Effects of Waxing
May 25, 2023Hair removal treatments demand care and attention. One wrong move can make way for ingrown hairs and other problems that only become evident during the aftercare period. Along with the most effective formulas and accessories, a wax treatment should also include the tools to avoid unwanted side effects.
Professional waxes are designed to match your skills as an esthetician, simplifying the removal of body hair in multiple parts of the body and reducing the client's discomfort. They're the perfect starting point to ensure a safe waxing experience, but they're far from the only asset at your disposal to prevent skin damage.
What Are the Side Effects of Waxing?First, let's list all the potential problems you could get post-wax. Most of these side effects result from a poor waxing technique, the wax having the wrong consistency upon application, inferior wax formulas, etc. As you can see, many problems are a direct result of the decisions you make during the wax treatment, so expect a lot of tips addressing the state of your workplace and the quality of your tools.
- Ingrown hairs, bumps, or pimples: This is one of the most frustrating things to find after a wax. You may notice a small bump when there's hair growing below the skin's outer layer, and it usually happens after you fail to remove the hair from the root during the wax treatment. Ingrown hairs can result from all hair removal treatments. They look like pimples as the hair continues to grow, sometimes with an additional sensation of discomfort around the area.
- Itchiness and irritation: It's normal to feel some itchiness on the skin right after ripping off the wax. However, the initial irritation should become progressively milder as you move along with the treatment. Any leftover itchiness disappears completely sometime between the first 12 hours after a wax. If the discomfort remains, you might be dealing with a more serious problem.
- Redness and/or swelling: Redness and irritation usually go hand in hand. They will last longer if the person scratches the area or causes some friction against newly-waxed skin. Swelling is expected as the pores are left bare once the hairs are ripped off. That's why the skin needs extra care, or the swelling might just increase to the point of a potential infection.
- Skin infections: These are caused when germs and bacteria come in contact with the open pores. Skin-to-skin contact can cause an infection, as well as spatulas and other waxing tools when they haven't been sanitized beforehand. The first signs of infection will appear on the skin (redness, swelling, marks), but if the problem goes untreated, it could lead to a full-on breakout, intense pain, fever, and long-lasting scars.
- Sunburn: This happens when the skin becomes exposed to the sun right after a wax. After being stripped of its outer layer, the skin becomes more sensitive to UV rays and high temperatures.
- Allergic reactions: An allergic reaction can take many forms depending on the person. Some people get an acne breakout or a burning sensation in the affected area. Allergic contact dermatitis is a common result when the skin is allergic to rosin (an active ingredient in traditional wax formulas). An allergic reaction can also come from some natural ingredients in pre- and post-wax products, or artificial fragrances.
Treating and Preventing Waxing Side EffectsFirst off, a professional wax service will always be safer than homemade waxing. Estheticians know how to adapt their practices to different factors, like the client's pain tolerance and the amount of hair in any given part of the body. Professional waxes also bring more quality to remove the hairs more effortlessly. A quick process puts less of a strain on the skin because you don't have to pull too hard or apply the wax in the same area more than once.
Now, let's go over the specifics:
- A clean workstation and proper hygiene: This is your first line of defense to prevent the exchange of germs. Estheticians need to get close and personal with their clients, so they need to wear disposable gloves whenever they need to touch the skin. Likewise, tools like spatulas, waxing strips, wax heaters, etc. need to be properly sanitized and sterilized before each new session.
An orderly station will help clients feel at ease while reducing the risks of infections on both ends.
- No waxing during your period: It's important to book appointments around your menstrual cycle, or the pain of waxing will be more intense. The skin is also more vulnerable to bumps and stinging when the body is menstruating. As clients settle into their waxing regime, they become more adept at avoiding that time of the month, scheduling their wax sessions at least 4 days after they stop menstruating.
The effects of waxing last for weeks on end, so it's easy to stick to this schedule even while preparing for a special occasion.
- Ask the right questions: Many things can change between wax sessions, not to mention the risks for first-timers when they go in blind. Estheticians should always ask clients if they've started taking any new medication in the time leading up to the appointment, especially when working with older clients and clients with sensitive skin; their skins are more prone to bruising. Some people might not know if they're allergic to certain ingredients, so it's best to avoid products with artificial fragrances and a high concentration of chemical components.
- Cool compresses and soothing formulas: These are the quickest ways to ease the irritation on the skin, and they're an essential part of the post-wax treatment. Estheticians should soothe the area soon after removing the wax and instruct clients to not scratch the skin during the healing period.
The professional lotions and creams used at the salon are infused with ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, argan oil, and other natural ingredients that can simultaneously nourish the skin while keeping bacteria at bay. Post-wax oil also helps remove any wax residue that might remain on the skin.
Many natural ingredients can still trigger allergic reactions so you should check up with your clients before applying any product for the first time. If the person is prone to allergies or suffers from general sensitivity problems on the skin, they should get the skin checked by a dermatologist before trying any type of body wax.
- Cold showers after waxing: Estheticians recommend avoiding cold water before a wax, but cold showers are very much welcome during the aftercare period. Cold water will help soothe the skin and prevent ingrown hairs. While warm showers can help prepare the skin for waxing, they can irritate the open pores once you've removed the hair.
- The right skincare habits: The client's care is key during the healing period. If they neglect their skincare routine while the skin pores are vulnerable, the waxing side effects won't subside naturally. It's important to monitor the skin, avoiding direct sunlight and large bodies of water where germs can thrive. Friction can also worsen the swelling and irritation, so clients must avoid tight garments and synthetic fabrics.
People can resume their daily washing, but only start exfoliating after enough time has passed for the skin to heal (around 48 hours after a wax treatment). After-shower creams are always a boost to preserve the skin's natural beauty.
You can count on your esthetician to guide you through the do's and don'ts of post-wax skincare.
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