Many women choose to remove facial hair with wax because of the good results it can achieve. Eyebrows, the upper lip, the area just next to the sideburns and close to the cheeks: no matter which of these areas we are talking about, they are very sensitive, and they are completely exposed. Anything that happens to your face will be very noticeable. Unfortunately, if we develop any undesirable symptoms or reactions after a face waxing treatment, it will be painful because of how highly sensitive this area is—not to mention that it will be embarrassing. You will definitely feel self-conscious about a burned, scarred, or scaly skin patch above your eyebrow, your upper lip, or cheeks! Skin damage after waxing accidents can even leave a permanent scar if it is not taken care of properly.
Now that we have mentioned how undesirable facial waxing accidents are, it is a no-brainer that you should avoid them at all costs. In order to do this, estheticians and people who want to wax their face themselves need to understand the possible reasons why facial waxing injuries occur and the types of skin damage that they may cause. There are some important care and prevention tips to follow to minimize the risks of damaging skin, ranging from using pre depilatories and post-depilatories to taking the medical history of the client into consideration.
Why Facial Waxing Accidents Happen
Some of the following reasons can set the stage for waxing accidents that end up causing burns or other types of skin damage. However, clients should know that sometimes waxing can go wrong. The negative side effects of waxing may even appear with no fault from neither the esthetician nor the client.
These are some of the reasons why waxing accidents happen:
- Lack of preparation: neglecting any preparation details increases the chances of an accident. If you need to change places while waxing yourself or if the esthetician needs to constantly move around to get the tools she needs to work, mistakes can happen. To avoid this, prepare the area very well before you start working. Have a wax heater, towels, sticks, strips, and even pre- and post-depilatory lotions handy. Having a waxing cart is a great idea, which will allow you to have everything you need organized and readily available. The best thing is that you will be able to move it around as needed, as it’s also important to keep all the essentials near you as you wax in order to maximize your comfort and avoid drips that can stain your salon’s furniture.
- Not testing your products: It’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s why you should always test the products you intend to use before waxing. Otherwise, you will start a waxing procedure unaware of the potential risks of allergies or other skin problems. Try waxes on a small part of the skin. When it comes to the temperature of the wax, never trust your experience, the directions on how to use the wax, or the temperature on the wax heater. Always test the temperature against the back of your wrist before even applying a drop of wax. If the temperature feels uncomfortable, cool it a little before proceeding with the waxing.
- Not studying the risks and contraindications of waxing: You should be very cautious with your clients’ skin—as much as you would be for your own skin, or even more so. Ask your clients to fill out a questionnaire about their skin type, previous waxing experiences, typical hair removal method, medical conditions, and any medications they are taking. Learning this information via a pre-designed questionnaire makes the procedure official and more likely to be taken seriously by the client, who might otherwise forget or refuse to give you some information. Remind your clients that the questionnaire is for their benefit.
- Lack of practice and expertise: If you are not a professional—and even if you are—it is probably not a good idea to wax yourself in difficult-to-reach areas, such as your intimate areas. Even with easier-to-access areas, there is a risk of things going awry if you are not trained. Small details like the temperature and consistency of the wax or the right amount of pressure needed to apply the wax to the skin, rub the muslin strip on the wax, and pull it out are important for performing clean, effective waxing procedures. You’d be better off with the help of a professional whether you have experience waxing or not.
- Using low-quality products: you do not want to gamble with your skin! The effects of using low-quality products or using the wrong procedures when waxing is definitely not worth the money you might save. When taking care of your skin, always use quality products. You deserve it! Pamper your skin with refined formulas that really nourish your skin, and invest in pre- and post-depilatories to prep and soothe your skin before and after waxing.
The Possible Signs of Skin Damage after Waxing
Skin damage after waxing can produce several symptoms, including burning, rashes and irritation, scaling of the skin, red bumps, or elevated skin temperature. Ingrown hairs are also possible after a waxing procedure, and they will not be apparent until at least a week after the procedure.
- Burning: This uncomfortable sensation usually means that the skin is overreacting to the procedure. The outer layer of skin is pulled and tugged when hair is ripped out, and the deeper layer of skin contains hair follicles which can also become sensitive when hair is pulled out by the root. Sometimes, the ingredients of a particular wax may cause an allergic reaction on your skin, which can result in a burning sensation.
Rash: Skin pores may get swollen for reasons similar to the ones mentioned above. A rash might also indicate that there is an allergic reaction to the ingredients of the wax that was used. Rashes and allergic reactions usually include itching and/or burning.
- Scaling: The outer layer of skin can start peeling off; this is a sign that it has been damaged. After all, it is dead skin coming off. However, it is important not to peel it off before it comes off on its own. If you do this you are unnecessarily exposing the newly formed layer of skin, which is still tender and fragile, to exterior threats.
- Red bumps: This happens when hair follicles have an inflammatory reaction to hair being pulled out during the waxing procedure. Hair is attached to living tissue, and this tissue can get inflamed when hair is pulled out. This should not last longer than a few hours or a few days. If irritation persists for more than three days, it needs medical attention. If your skin feels hot and the red bumps turn into larger pustules with white centers, the inflammatory reaction may have turned into folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicle. This medical condition must be treated by a dermatologist.
- A rise of skin temperature (locally): this can be the normal symptom of skin swelling.
Soothe and Repair Your Skin after a Wax Burn
Unfortunately, waxing accidents do happen. If your facial skin is already damaged, do not panic. Now that you know about the types of damage that your skin may have suffered, you can take the appropriate steps to diminish the consequences of the damage in order to recover the health and appearance of your skin and help it heal quickly.
For wax burns in general (skin redness and burning), the following are the first care steps you should follow. If the redness is superficial, it may subside very quickly—usually within minutes or hours after waxing. After you have applied this procedure a couple of times, you should see noticeable improvement. Otherwise, you might have to spend more time following this care routine. If you do not see improvement or other symptoms appear, be sure to consult a doctor.
1. Eliminate excess wax on the skin and clean the area
- This step is applicable when significant damage to the skin is noticeable immediately after pulling out the wax strip. The waxing process will most likely have to be stopped. If there is any wax residue still stuck to the skin, apply petroleum jelly very gently and use clean gauze to wipe it off. Post-depilatories can help as well.
2. Use a cold compress
- Take a soft cloth and dampen it in cool to cold water. Then apply it to the affected area. A 1/1 mixture of water and milk (milk soothes burns) is an alternative to water. An ice pack can work well, too. Keep the cool compress in place for anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes. Allow the moisture from the compress to dry out on its own. Do not rub it dry. Try not to run extremely cold water or ice directly on the skin, as this will feel uncomfortable on sensitive skin.
3. Apply a topical antibiotic
- Over-the-counter antibiotic creams such as Neosporin can keep the area from getting infected. A thin coating of cream should be enough to protect the area. However, do not attempt to use this type of cream on raw or bleeding skin.
- Your skin might start scaling anywhere between two to seven days after the wax burn. If it does, do not peel it off! You should only remove the hanging edges, which is dead skin that is no longer in contact with the new skin. Be sure to not peel the rest of the skin off too soon.
4. Apply soothing lotions or oils
- Once you have repeated steps two and three for at least four days, the burn should have subsided considerably. However, you may want to continue applying special skin treatments in order to protect and nourish your skin until it fully recovers. You can apply pure essential almond, coconut, or rose oil—all three have emollient and moisturizing properties.
These are steps that both the esthetician and the client can take after waxing procedures if there is any skin damage or over-sensitive skin. Even if your client does not have sensitive skin and only develops redness that subsides quickly, it is a good idea to follow these recommendations at least once after the waxing procedure for maximum protection from any undesirable effects. Something that estheticians should offer in their salons and adopt as a routine is the use of both pre-depilatory and post-depilatory lotions or gels, which have a variety of benefits. Pre-depilatories cleanse the area that will be waxed, and many of them cause the client to feel less pain during the waxing procedure. Post-depilatories also cleanse the area and remove wax residue while soothing and hydrating the client’s skin. Beauty Image has great pre- and post-depilatory lotions and gels that prepare and soothe skin, as well as the finest hard and soft waxes and wax strips that will leave your client’s skin silky smooth.