How many folks wax? Nowadays you can wax just about anything. But beware!! Depending on where (body location) and where (salon) you do so, it can pose some dangers. In fact, there have been some high end and reputable salons who’ve caught cases when clients have developed infections stemming for their services.
What makes them risky? “Depending on the location of the hair, it’s typically there for a reason to protect the skin and mucous membranes in the area, explains Linda K. Franks, M. D., an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine. “Getting a wax literally strips away that layer of protection.”
Waxing can also pull off tiny pieces of the skin’s outermost layer, creating a portal through which bacteria can enter the body. What’s more, the process creates inflammation, which can trap bacteria beneath the skin. All of this sets the stage for skin infections (including staph), folliculitis (infection of the hair follicles), and ingrown hairs.
“Anytime you compromise the integrity of the skin, you’re going to increase your risk of infection,” Franks says. She advises people who have diabetes, chronic kidney or liver disease, skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, or weakened immune systems to avoid waxing altogether. For everyone else, there are simple ways to ward off danger:
Be as picky as you can
Before you make an appointment, drop by to see how clean the place is, or ask a friend to recommend a salon she trusts. Be sure the cosmetologist or aesthetician you choose is licensed by your state and has received training in Brazilian waxing, says Rosanne Kinley, past president of the National-Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology.
Ask about the wax
“Hard wax is best. It’s gentler and adheres to the hair, not the skin,” Kinley says. “Speed wax, which is soft and sticky, is applied with a roller applicator, and while it’s fast and easy, it’s more painful and more likely to tear skin.” Sugaring, a natural method that’s kinder to the skin than waxing, is a good alternative. Look for products that are chemical-free like Shobha which contains nothing but sugar, water, lemon juice, and glycerin.
Hygiene is a deal breaker
Before beginning the process, the practitioner should scrub up or (at least) apply hand sanitizer. Double dipping into the wax is taboo because it introduces bacteria into the pot. “The waxer should have brand-new spatulas available for each swipe to your skin,” Kinley says. To prevent burns, she should check the wax’s temperature on the inside of her wrist before applying it to your skin. If you don’t see the practitioner taking these steps, speak up.
For a few days following your wax, apply an over-the-counter topical antibiotic cream and an anti-inflammatory 1% hydrocortisone cream to the area, says Bruce Robinson, M. D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. This will ease irritation and help ward off potential infection.
Be on the lookout for signs of infection
Check yourself with a hand mirror (look for inflamed ingrown hairs, rashes, or raw, open sores or cuts). “See a doctor ASAP if you develop redness or swelling in the area, an itching or burning sensation, peeling of the skin, or a fever,” says Robinson.
Not to deter you from waxing, I’m actually one who waxes as well. In fact shout out to Pretty Kitty in California for their superb services! I just wanted to give you a little 411 on the story behind the services. As a nurse, I’ve seen some crazy things! So as you strive to keep it sexy, just make sure its hip & healthy along the way!
Next up, more on the hygiene on how to keep it hip and healthy with other salon services.