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Side Effects of Waxing

Chandramita Bora
The growing trend of removing unwanted body hair has led to the emergence of several hair removal procedures and products, of which waxing is a popular one. It is less a time-consuming and inexpensive procedure, as compared to several other hair removal methods. But it can cause a few side effects, which are discussed in this story.
Waxing is an effective and popular hair removal method that can remove hair from the roots. It can be used to remove unwanted hair from any part of the body, including facial hair. Though it cannot remove hair permanently like laser and electrolysis hair removal systems, it is comparatively an easier and less expensive option, for which its popularity has increased rapidly.
There are usually two types of waxing - hot and cold waxing. For removing hair from a particular area, a sticky wax is applied on that area and a piece of cloth or a paper strip is pressed over it. Then with a quick and rapid movement, the cloth or paper is ripped off in the opposite direction of hair growth.
In this way, this procedure removes hair from the roots. Waxing if done regularly, can reduce the growth of hair considerably. However, this easy and quick process of hair removal has certain side effects, which should be taken into consideration.

Waxing Dangers

It can sometimes produce some serious side effects, especially on sensitive skin. The procedure is also quite painful, especially for the first few times. Apart from these, this hair removal procedure can cause the following side effects.
  • Loss of Skin Elasticity: An important side effect of waxing is loss of suppleness and elasticity of the skin, which over a period of time can result in the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Pigmentation: Pigmentation or darkening of the skin may occur in some individuals.
  • Skin Rash: Skin rashes and redness of the skin are some of the common side effects experienced by almost everyone. However, these side effects usually resolve on their own within a short period of time.
  • Skin Irritation: On highly sensitive skin, waxing can cause irritation, minor bleeding, and the development of pustules. It may disturb the hair follicles and change the direction of hair growth.
  • Ingrown Hair: Ingrown hair or hair that curls or grows sideways into the skin, is another common side effect, which can occasionally cause inflammation of the area and pain.
  • Burns: Skin darkening and burns may occur if the wax is overly heated.
  • Folliculitis: Folliculitis is another side effect which is characterized by the inflammation and infection of the hair follicles. This condition may require medical treatment.
This procedure is especially not recommended for patients of diabetes, or people afflicted with varicose veins. The wax should not be applied on chapped or broken skin, and on pimples, moles, and rashes. People using certain medications like Retin-A, Renova, and Differin or Isotretinoin, should avoid waxing.
Many physicians have also expressed their concerns regarding pubic hair removal with this method, as hair provides the necessary protection to the highly sensitive skin and mucous membrane of the genital area.
An advantage of this procedure is that it exfoliates the skin, i.e., it removes the dead skin cells besides removing hair. In order to avoid the side effects associated with this procedure, you should take adequate care and protection. As it generally causes irritation and redness, you should immediately apply ice on the affected area.
A moisturizer can also soothe the irritated and inflamed skin. For removing ingrown hair, you can scrub the area with a facial scrub or pumice stone while taking a shower. However, if this hair removal procedure causes allergic reactions and serious skin rashes or scarring, you should immediately consult a dermatologist.
Though you can perform waxing at home, it is better to get it done by a professional or a licensed cosmetologist, as he/she can do it efficiently, quickly, and without causing much pain and irritation.