Waxing Myths: Does Waxing Make Skin Vulnerable to Infections?
August 30, 2018Waxing isn't only about the highest-quality hair removal products and the best techniques, it is also about safety and hygiene. The last thing anyone wants when they go through a waxing procedure is to have their health compromised. When you've heard or read scary waxing tales, you might find it hard to believe that you'll be 100% safe in your waxing appointment. Well, fear not! We are here to discuss the facts and dispel the myths about hygiene matters, infection risks, and safe waxing.
What Happens to Skin During Waxing
- Hair gets pulled from the root: this leaves a tiny wound just underneath the skin.
- Pores open up: this is due to the warm temperature of the wax. This can turn into a potential entrance way for pathogens.
- Hair bulb gets damaged: this is the reason behind hair becoming thinner and sparser when you're a waxing regular.
- Skin gets some pulling and tugging: all this handling can be a little rough on sensitive skin. Overly sensitive people might even see bruising after a waxing procedure.
Needless to say, skin has to be perfectly healthy for waxing to be possible. Irritation (even transitory), allergic reactions, skin conditions and other health problems make waxing inadvisable.
The Risks of WaxingLight or moderate irritation, redness or itching are normal reactions to waxing. These are minor and transitory consequences that do not progress into any other problem. All these consequences are normal skin reactions to the mild trauma of pulling hair by the root. Irritation and redness can seem intense on fair or sensitive skin, but they will subside soon.
Major risks (various types of infection) are only seldom registered. When the normal, transitory effects of waxing extend over more than three days and evolve into fever, rashes, chills, pain or weakness, an infection has most likely taken over. The infection may range from mild to serious. Any case of infection has preconditions of unhygienic procedures or skin alterations that were overlooked before the waxing appointment. A minimum percentage of cases of infection can't be blamed on either the esthetician or the client since they may be related to the client's state of health prior to the waxing appointment. In other words, if a client has underlying infectious problems or other health issues, they may be more prone to infection.
Does This All Mean That Waxing Is Dangerous?No! Waxing is not dangerous for anyone who takes all preventive and hygiene measures. A licensed esthetician will never put you at risk of an infection or other major skin problems. To minimize any danger as much as possible, both estheticians and clients must observe some preventive measures strictly.
Safe Waxing – For EstheticiansA sanitized working environment is essential to avoid any potential risk, not to mention that it is essential to your spa or salon's success. Clients won't return if they notice inconsistencies in your sanitary measures.
Some of the illnesses that can be spread during any procedure involving human skin and bodily fluids are herpes, hepatitis, bacterial or viral infections and HIV or MRSA. Any client —and esthetician— should be considered as contaminated and therefore, proper sanitary measures should be taken at all times.
Once the following basic measures are taken, there is virtually no risk of cross-contamination derived from a waxing procedure.
- DON'T DOUBLE-DIP: Double-dipping poses a double risk: contamination on the same client from a spatula that has come into contact with the skin and might get contaminated, and contamination to a subsequent client from the previous one(s). It is MANDATORY to use a new spatula every time wax is taken from the wax pot.
- DON'T THINK THE WARM WAX CLEANS ITSELF: The melting point for all body waxes is way lower than needed to kill any pathogens at all. In other words, the fact that the wax is always warm does not mean that it is clean! The wax in your pot will only remain completely sanitary if you use a new spatula for each dip, even on the same client.
- DON'T PERFORM WAXING WITH BARE HANDS: regardless of the extension of the area you are going to wax, even small, single procedures like eyebrow waxing. The use of gloves is absolutely mandatory for the safety of both the esthetician and the client.
- DON'T CARRY INSTRUMENTS AND TOOLS AROUND WITH YOU: your pocket is not an ideal place for tweezers, scissors, muslin strips, spatulas, or cotton pads. All these instruments are supposed to be well arranged in a trolley.
- DON'T KEEP INSTRUMENTS SCATTERED AROUND: again, the trolley or a properly arranged station with all instruments and tools makes it easier for you to reach everything you need and gives clients a much better impression. Disposable instruments should be kept in airtight packages.
- DON'T LEAVE WAX BEHIND IN THE WAX POT: this doesn't give your client a good impression at all, much less if the pot looks drippy and messy. Clean up wax drips and spills anywhere they may be (the trolley, floor, sheets, etc.) and arrange your wax pots in such a way that you can take advantage of most of the wax on similar procedures so that it runs out in more or less even patterns.
- DON'T JUST USE REGULAR SANITIZERS: all metal instruments should be autoclaved, treatment rooms swept and cleaned in-between treatments, and all surfaces should be cleaned with anti-bacterial and anti-viral substances periodically.
- DON'T KEEP THE SAME LINEN THROUGH ALL PROCEDURES: change the linen with every client! Or use disposable bed liners.
- DON'T FORGET TO SANITIZE YOUR HANDS FREQUENTLY: sanitize your hands before and after any procedure, and preferably make hand-washing and slipping on your gloves visible to your clients.
- DON'T KEEP TRASH IN THE SERVICE ROOM: or at least empty the trash after a few procedures. Keep several trash containers with lids in different areas of your facility.
- DON'T FORGET TO CONDUCT A THOROUGH QUESTIONNAIRE: officialize a questionnaire in your spa and have your clients fill it out to find out if there is any prohibitive reason for them not to go through with waxing.
Safe Waxing – For ClientsFor their own safety, clients also have a share in hygiene measures before a waxing appointment.
- DON'T SHOW UP IN A MESSY STATE: take a shower before your waxing appointment.
- DON'T IGNORE ANY WARNING SIGN ON YOUR SKIN OR YOUR STATE OF HEALTH: do a quick checkup of your skin in the area you are about to get waxed and look for irritation, redness, itching, scratches, open wounds or other unusual signs. Also, observe if you have a fever, pain, or any other ailment. If anything worries you, mention it to your esthetician so that together you can decide whether going through with the procedure is advisable.
- DON'T HIDE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR SKIN FROM YOUR ESTHETICIAN: any of these conditions make you ineligible for waxing:
- - Recent dermabrasion, treatments with AHA or glycolic acid products, botox, and some acne medication.
- Active herpes or other skin problems of viral nature.
- Moles, warts.
- Irritated, inflamed, or wounded skin in any way (including sunburn).
- Recent cancer treatments.
- Phlebitis, varicose veins, and serious vascular problems.
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