Waxing is a method of semi-permanent hair removal which removes the hair from the root cause. New hairs will not grow back in the previously waxed area for two to eight weeks. Almost any area of the body can be waxed, including eyebrows, face, bikini area, legs, arms, back, abdomen and feet. There are many types of waxing suitable for removing unwanted hair. If waxing is done regularly for several years, permanent hair reduction may be achieved.
Waxing is accomplished by spreading a wax combination thinly over the skin. A cloth or paper strip is then pressed on the top and ripped off with a quick movement against the direction of hair growth. This removes the wax along with the hair.
Another method utilizes hard wax (as opposed to strip wax). In this case, the wax is applied somewhat thickly and with no cloth or paper strips. The wax then hardens when it cools, thus allowing the easy removal by a therapist without the aid of cloths. This waxing method in our professional opinion is much more painful and we in our salon do not do this type of waxing.
Types of Waxing
Various types of waxing are available. Some must be performed by a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician. The different types of waxing that can be performed are: eyebrow waxing, bikini, male genital (we do not do this type at our salon), Hollywood/Brazilian waxing (we only do for women), leg waxing, arm/underarm waxing, back waxing, foot waxing, chest waxing, entire body wax.
Most parts of the body can be waxed, but other parts, not listed above are not given special consideration. Areas individuals should never wax include eyelashes, eyelids, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet.
These areas are of particular concern due to sensitive skin that can be severely damaged if waxed. Areas of the body that should only be waxed by a licensed professional include the genitals and the nipples.
Benefits and Drawbacks
There are many benefits to waxing versus other forms of hair removal. It is an effective method to remove large amounts of hair at one time. It is a long-lasting method. Hair in waxed areas will not grow back for two to eight weeks. When hair is shaved or removed by depilatory cream, the hair is removed at the surface rather than the root. Within a few days, the hair can be seen at the surface. With these methods, hair tends to grow back in a rough stubble. Areas that are repeatedly waxed over long periods of time often exhibit re-growth that is softer.
There are some drawbacks of waxing as well. Waxing can be painful when the strip is removed from the skin. Although the pain is short-lasting, it can be very uncomfortable. Hair removal is not permanent, although over time when regularly waxed, hair grows considerably less. When removed against the direction of hair growth, the wax strip may disturb hair follicles, causing hair to begin to grow in different directions. This may cause hair growth to be more noticeable and make other methods of hair removal more difficult. Fortunately, this risk is negligible if the waxing is performed properly.
One of the most annoying drawbacks of waxing is that many people experience ingrown hairs, red bumps, and minor bleeding. This is more likely to occur with men who are waxing areas with thick hair, especially the first few times when follicles are strongest. While usually impossible to eliminate, this can be reduced by regularly exfoliating, and applying an astringent or a solution of both astringent and oil (typically baby or azulene oil).
Some physicians do not recommend waxing for persons suffering from diabetes or who have varicose veins or poor circulation as they are more susceptible to infection.
Users of Retin-A, Renova, Differin or Isotretinoin are advised not to have waxing performed; these medications tend to weaken the skin and tearing of the skin may occur when the wax is removed.
Waxing should not be done on areas of skin affected by warts, pimples, moles or rashes or on skin that is irritated, chapped or suffering from sunburn.
Never apply wax to peeling, broken skin or varicose veins. Women’s tolerance to pain may vary at different points in their menstrual cycle. Women may experience greater sensitivity to pain during the week before menstruation. For this reason, we recommend that women schedule waxing appointments for the week after menstruation, when pain tolerance is generally at its highest.