Facial wax is a favorite for women due to the exceptional results that are achieved. This includes eyebrows, the upper lip, sideburns, and cheeks: all of which are known to be very sensitive, and completely exposed to external aggressors. The face is exposed and vulnerable. Because of this, on the rare occasion that we develop any undesirable side effects or reactions after a face waxing treatment, it will be especially painful.
To avoid these experiences, estheticians must understand every possible reason as to how and why facial waxing irritations occur and other types of skin damage that may occur. Care and prevention measures are vital in minimizing the risks of skin damage, ranging from using the correct pre-depilatories and post-depilatories all the way to consulting clients' medical history.
What Causes Facial Waxing Accidents
The following scenarios are all possible triggers for burns or skin damage. However, the negative
side effects of waxing may still occur at no fault of either the
esthetician or the client.
Waxing accidents may occur due to the following:
- Improper preparation: It's important to not overlook any preparation details as this can increase the risk of accidents. Whether you're waxing yourself or receiving services from an esthetician, it's crucial to minimize movement and avoid any potential mistakes. Ensuring all necessary tools are within reach can help prevent accidents from occurring. To best avoid this, prepare the area very well before you start working. Have a wax heater, towels, sticks, strips, and even pre- and post-depilatory lotions handy. Having a waxing cart is a great idea, which will allow you to have everything you need organized and readily available. The best thing is that you will be able to move it around as needed, as it's also important to keep all the essentials near you as you wax to maximize your comfort and avoid drips.
- No prior testing of products: It's better to be safe than sorry. That's why you should always test the products you intend to use before waxing. Otherwise, you will start a waxing procedure unaware of the potential risks of allergies or other skin problems. Try waxing on a small part of the skin. When it comes to the temperature of the wax, never trust your experience, the directions on how to use the wax, or the temperature of the wax warmer. Always test the temperature against the back of your wrist before even applying a drop of wax. If the temperature feels uncomfortable, cool it a little before proceeding with the waxing.
- Not studying the risks of waxing: You should be very cautious with your clients' skin—as much as you would be for your skin, or even more so. Ask your clients to fill out a questionnaire about their skin type, previous waxing experiences, typical hair removal method, medical conditions, and any medications they are taking. Learning this information via a pre-designed questionnaire makes the procedure official and more likely to be taken seriously by the client, who might otherwise forget or refuse to give you some information. Remind your clients that the questionnaire is for their benefit.
- Lack of knowledge and practice: If you are not a professional—and even if you are—it is probably not a good idea to wax yourself in difficult-to-reach areas, such as your intimate areas. Even with easier-to-access areas, there is a risk of things going awry if you are not trained. Small details like the temperature and consistency of the wax or the right amount of pressure needed to apply the wax to the skin, rub the muslin strip on the wax, and pull it out are important for performing clean, effective waxing procedures. You'd be better off with the help of a professional whether you have experience waxing or not.
- Using low-grade products: you do not want to gamble with your skin! The effects of using low-quality products or using the wrong procedures when waxing is not worth the money you might save. When taking care of your skin, always use quality products. You deserve it! Pamper your skin with refined formulas that nourish your skin and invest in pre- and post-depilatories to prep and soothe your skin before and after waxing.
Immediate Signs of Skin Damage Post Waxing
Waxing can cause various skin symptoms such as burning, rashes, irritation, scaling, red bumps, or elevated skin temperature, which may indicate skin damage. Additionally, ingrown hairs are a potential concern after waxing, and they may not become visible until a week after the procedure.
- Burning: This uncomfortable sensation usually means that the skin is overreacting to the procedure. The outer layer of skin is pulled and tugged when hair is ripped out, and the deeper layer of skin contains hair follicles which can also become sensitive when hair is pulled out by the root. Sometimes, the ingredients of a particular wax may cause an allergic reaction to your skin, which can result in a burning sensation.
- Inflammation/redness: Skin pores may get swollen for reasons like the ones mentioned above. A rash might also indicate that there is an allergic reaction to the ingredients of the wax that was used. Rashes and allergic reactions usually include itching and/or burning.
- Peeling: The outer layer of skin can start peeling off; this is a sign that it has been damaged. After all, it is dead skin coming off. However, it is important not to peel it off before it comes off on its own. If you do this you are unnecessarily exposing the newly formed layer of skin, which is still tender and fragile, to exterior threats.
- Red bumps: It is possible to experience an inflammatory reaction in hair follicles due to hair being pulled out during a waxing procedure. The hair is attached to living tissue, which can become inflamed when it is pulled out. Normally, this reaction should not last longer than a few hours or a few days. However, if the irritation persists for more than three days, medical attention is necessary. Should you notice that the red bumps become larger pustules with white centers and your skin feels hot, this may be a sign that the inflammatory reaction has turned into folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicle. This medical condition requires treatment from a dermatologist
Soothe and Repair Your Skin after a Wax Burn
Unfortunately, waxing accidents do happen. If your facial skin is already damaged, do not panic. Now that you know about the types of damage that your skin may have suffered, you can take the appropriate steps to diminish the consequences of the damage to recover the health and appearance of your skin and help it heal quickly.
For wax burns in general (skin redness and burning), the following are the first care steps you should follow. If the redness is superficial, it may subside very quickly—usually within minutes or hours after waxing. After you have applied this procedure a couple of times, you should see noticeable improvement. Otherwise, you might have to spend more time following this care routine. If you do not see improvement or other symptoms appear, be sure to consult a doctor.
Clean the area clearing the skin of excess wax
This step is applicable when significant damage to the skin is noticeable immediately after pulling out the wax strip. The waxing process will most likely have to be stopped. If there is any waxy residue still stuck to the skin, apply petroleum jelly very gently and use clean gauze to wipe it off. Post-depilatories can help as well.
2. Cold compress
Take a soft cloth and dampen it in cool to cold water. Then apply it to the affected area. A 1/1 mixture of water and milk (milk soothes burns) is an alternative to water. An ice pack can work well, too. Keep the cool compress in place for anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. Allow the moisture from the compress to dry out on its own. Do not rub it dry. Try not to run extremely cold water or ice directly on the skin, as this will feel uncomfortable on sensitive skin.
3. Apply a topical antibiotic
Over-the-counter antibiotic creams such as Neosporin can keep the area from getting infected. A thin coating of cream should be enough to protect the area. However, do not attempt to use this type of cream on raw or bleeding skin.
Your skin might start scaling anywhere between two to seven days after the wax burn. If it does, do not peel it off! You should only remove the hanging edges, which are dead skin that is no longer in contact with the new skin. Be sure to not peel the rest of the skin off too soon.
These are steps that both the esthetician and
the client can take after waxing procedures if there is any skin damage or
over-sensitive skin. Even if your client does not have sensitive skin and only
develops redness that subsides quickly, it is a good idea to follow these
recommendations at least once after the waxing procedure for maximum protection
from any undesirable effects. Something that estheticians should offer in their
salons and adopt as a routine is the use of both pre-depilatory and
post-depilatory lotions or gels, which have a variety of benefits.
Pre-depilatories cleanse the area that will be waxed, and many of them cause
the client to feel less pain during the waxing procedure. Post-depilatories
also cleanse the area and remove waxy residue while soothing and hydrating the
client's skin. Beauty Image has great pre- and post-depilatory lotions and gels
that prepare and soothe skin, as well as the finest hard and soft waxes and wax
strips that will leave your client's skin silky smooth.
If you're a licensed esthetician, pamper your clients with Beauty Image's top-quality waxes. Call us toll-free at 1-888-513-8815 or send us your questions via the contact form on this page. If you wish to have our beauty blog posts, tips, and maintenance guides for estheticians sent straight to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletter. Also, don't forget to find us on Facebook as Beauty Image USA, and follow us on Instagram @beautyimageusa.