Hair removal is a tricky process. Waxing is a popular and effective hair removal technique. Whether done at home or in-office, waxing involves applying an adhesive to the desired area of hair removal. Some choose to opt for more natural methods such as sugaring, which doesn’t use wax but involves a similar process.
Hot wax is applied to the area and left to cool. A strip is placed on this wax and then ripped away from the skin quickly, pulling each hair from its root. This is repeated across the area until the desired results are achieved.
Maybe you’ve never tried waxing before, but have heard horror stories of painful sessions and nasty consequences. Or maybe you’re a regular and know firsthand what ingrown hairs and bruising after a wax session can look like. Whatever the case, KENZZI has the 411 on the most common (and uncommon) side effects of waxing.
Common Side Effects of Waxing
Maybe shaving has left you with razor bumps. Maybe you want a longer-lasting solution to hair removal. Waxing can be a great way to get rid of some of the peskiest patches of body hair. It is relatively fast and can last much longer than shaving as it removes the hair from its root.
However, when deciding whether or not to wax your body hair, it is essential to consider safety and hygiene. There are many ways a wax appointment can go wrong. Waxing can definitely leave a mark, not to mention the high cost associated with the treatment.
Waxing can be problematic because it removes hair in the opposite direction of hair growth, which causes mini traumas to each hair follicle. This can lead to many of the symptoms listed below.
Redness, Irritation, and Swelling
These three side effects are all common when you get waxed. This is because the hair is being removed down to the root in a fast and intense way. If you have thick hair and sensitive skin, you’ll probably be even more susceptible to these annoyances.
The heat from the wax can cause redness because heat leads to the dilation of blood vessels, bringing more blood flow to the area being waxed. This can mean some pink skin for a few minutes, but it could also set you back a few days with red and sensitive skin.
Raised bumps can also occur after waxing. These bumps are caused by our body’s reaction to the hair follicle that is being removed and the minor damage that occurs on the surface of the skin.
Additionally, you can see discoloration in your skin after a wax. This change in skin color is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It can be caused by the warmth of the wax or the hair-pulling. Sometimes even irritation by itself can cause this discoloration. Either way, it is definitely something to be mindful of when considering the pros and cons of waxing.
Sometimes, after a hair is removed, it can grow downwards instead of upwards and doesn’t always break the skin’s surface during regrowth. Ingrown hairs from waxing usually occur more frequently in people with curly hair types.
Ingrown hairs can be painful and bothersome, not to mention tough to get rid of. They are pesky little bumps that can pop up after a hair has been removed. It’s not exactly something you want on your bikini line or upper lip! There is a risk of ingrown hairs after most hair removal processes, but waxing is one of the biggest culprits.
Pimples, Bumps, and Whiteheads
Sometimes, waxing removes more than just hair. A wax strip can also take off a thin layer of surface skin occasionally. This leaves your pores exposed. A pimple will often form if these exposed pores become filled with bacteria or dirt.
It is common to get tiny bumps or whiteheads after a wax. These can last a few hours or a few days. Exfoliating prior to waxing and applying an anti-inflammatory agent can help, but it can’t prevent these issues entirely.
Bruising May Occur
Bruising can happen because the skin is held taut as it’s waxed. When the wax strip is removed, it can cause subcutaneous bleeding (bleeding under the skin) that can cause bruises.
Waxing makes your skin far more susceptible to sun exposure. This is known as photosensitivity. This post-wax sunburn can be very painful and happens more often when patients are taking any sort of hormonal contraceptive, which includes the most common birth control pills. Make sure to apply lots of SPF after your treatment or stay out of the sun completely.
An infection can be common in the days following your appointment because of the aforementioned exposed pores left on your skin after a wax. Folliculitis is a bacterial infection that can occur. It is an infection of the hair follicles.
Different salons and even at-home wax kits use a variety of different products and materials. Because of this, some people can develop a red itchy rash because they are allergic to something in either the wax or the strips used during the treatment.
Not to be dramatic, but waxing can be super painful. Because it involves removing the entire hair from the follicle, you will feel the pain associated with the hairs that are being ripped from their roots. Try to avoid friction on the waxed area afterward and wear loose clothing as your skin can remain sensitive for some time after the wax. The pain when actually getting waxed should only last for a second, but you might feel sore for a few hours afterward.
What Is an Alternative to Waxing?
If these side effects are making you rethink your choice to go get a fresh wax, consider other hair removal options, such as an at-home IPL treatment. Try a product like KENZZI’s at-home laser hair removal kit to avoid exposure to rash-inducing allergens and other side effects we mentioned. IPL hair removal is quick, easy, and pain-free. Plus, it saves you a ton of money. Talk about a win-win!
Waxing, though fast and effective, has many side effects that most of us would like to avoid. From ingrown hairs to infection, the risks are definitely there when you get waxed. You can lose some skin elasticity due to over waxing. It can cause the skin to lose some of its suppleness which can lead to the appearance of wrinkles. Basically, this means you can develop more defined wrinkles and fine lines from waxing (no thanks!).
There are plenty of other ways to achieve your hair-free dreams. Should you still choose to get waxed, you’re now much more informed and aware of the side effects so you can better address them. Or, just ditch the wax completely and try an at-home treatment such as IPL hair removal with KENZZI!