Although waxing is a great option for hair removal, and will usually be suitable for all hair types, there are some conditions or circumstances that may preclude an individual from being a suitable candidate.
Many of these circumstances are related to medical treatments or skin condition, and if waxing is pursued while experiencing them there is an increased risk of inflammation, scarring, or skin damage.
These conditions include;
- Damaged skin; such as broken skin, cuts, stitches and skin grafts.
If waxing is performed on the skin with these conditions there is an increased risk of burns, as the skin is still newly sensitized; skin tearing, causing bleeding and painful bruising; inflammation and scarring.
- Pre-existing skin conditions, such as warts, acne or cold sores.
These conditions are likely to be aggravated and worsened by both the waxing agents, as well as the tugging used to remove the wax or cloth strips. The same aggravation is possible for some moles, especially if particularly large or sensitive.
- Sunburned areas.
Skin that has been already burned in the sun is likely to be even more sensitive than ordinary, and the application of hot wax is likely to be uncomfortable or even painful. Even with cold waxing, the tugging sensation of wax removal may result in pain.
- Anywhere that has already been waxed in the last 24 hours.
As has been established previously <link: what are the pros and cons of waxing?>, waxing can be considered traumatic to the skin, and so to repeatedly re-wax the same, highly-sensitized areas could result in painful burns, inflammation, or increased redness and discoloration.
- Highly sensitive areas of the body, such as eyelashes, nipples, or over a body piercing.
Attempting to wax eyelashes or eyebrows, or accidentally getting wax into eyes or amongst eyelashes can cause severe damage to the eyes, tear ducts and surrounding skin. Waxing over a nipple can also be extremely painful due to the heightened sensitivity and blood flow in the area, resulting in discoloration, skin tears and bruising. Body piercings are at risk of being pulled out or causing skin tears if waxed over, as the hair removal agent will bind to the piercing as well as body hair.
- Certain medications.
There are a number of oral and topical treatments that are used to address skin or medical conditions and may interfere negatively with skin sensitivity, and subsequent waxing attempts. There are a number of these, and it is recommended that you do not attempt to wax while taking any of these prescription medications, or at the very least discuss in detail with your dermatologist and esthetician in order to understand the risks;
- Accutane (Acne medication)
- Adapalene (Acne medication)
- Alustra (Retin A)
- Avage (Acne medication)
- Avita (Retin A)
- Azelex (Peeling agent)
- Differin (Acne medication)
- Isotretinoin (like Accutane)
- Renova (Retin A)
- Retin A (Acne and Anti-aging medication)
- Tazarac (Acne medication)
- Tazarotene (Tazorac)
- Tretinoin (Retin A)
In addition, there are a number of medications which may increase skin sensitivity, and increase the likelihood of lifting or experiencing pain during a wax. Examples of these include;
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Glycolic, Lactic)
- Oral Antibiotics
- Topical Antibiotics
- Salicylic Acids
- Any acid based products
- People with known allergies, or low tolerance for discomfort.
Although many salons boast of all-natural products, there are still a number of people who may be allergic to ingredients in the waxing agents or react negatively to them. One way to test if you have such an allergy is to do a spot test and apply a small amount of wax to a discrete area 24 hours before your intended waxing appointment and waiting to see if there are any negative reactions. If you consider yourself to have a low tolerance for discomfort, it may be worth considering if waxing is a suitable hair removal option for you; although many people report that treatments are less painful over time, the consensus stands that they are uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst.
Due to the possible risks associated with waxing; if you have any doubts regarding whether it is the best hair removal method for you, talk to your esthetician or dermatologist prior to waxing to explain your circumstances. They will be able to offer you an informed and trained opinion on whether to pursue waxing treatment, or whether another method of hair removal might be better suited.