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Why do redness and inflammation occur post-body wax?

The process of waxing relies on the wax and in its liquid state drying on the skin and solidifying around the hair follicle so that the hair can be stripped away when pulled. Immediately upon waxing, even though the intention is to remove hairs, superficially in the skin there are layers of keratin, a skin protein, that also get removed or dislodged with the wax. By stripping away keratin, natural oils, and some superficial layers of skin, there is redness and inflammation that results right after waxing. The inflammation is likely the result of attempted healing that the skin has to restore these layers of skin. It can also be the result of our skin’s immune cells recognizing bacteria and other pathogens on the skin and mounting a reaction to keep them in check.



How does one treat redness and inflammation post-body wax?

The most important way to address redness and inflammation is to understand where it comes from. By recognizing that the redness and inflammation are from the stripping of natural oils, keratin, and other cell debris as well as a potential immune reaction to bacteria, each of these aspects needs to be addressed. The best way to address it is by applying oils to the skin to rehydrate and protect the skin barrier as well as potentially even supplementing with the topical anabiotic to address any potential bacterial pathogens in the area.

Why do pimples occur post-body wax?

There are two causes of pimples after a body wax. The first is the simple effect of bacteria in the skin infecting or inflaming the pore where the hair once was. When bacteria enter the pore, an immune reaction occurs that triggers a pimple. The second possibility is that the simple stress on the skin from experiencing the skin and hair stripped away can result in an immune reaction to attempt to heal the area. Part of the healing response is redness, inflammation, and a type of cell called neutrophils they give the appearance of a pustule or pus bump when present.

How does one treat post-body wax pimples?

Post-body wax pimples are best managed through the use of antibacterial soaps to cleanse the area as well as antibiotic lotions to treat any potential bacteria present in the area. Moisturizing and hydrating the skin can help reduce inflammation as the restoration of natural oils can also reduce the inflammation that triggers these pimples.

Why do ingrown hairs occur post-body wax?

Ingrown hairs after waxing are one of the most common questions that I am asked. Understanding what happens at the level of the pore is key to understanding why ingrown hair happens in the first place. Waxing can be aggressive as the hair is ripped right out of the follicle. As soon as the hair is removed, there is a natural response that our body has to attempt to heal in the area through an inflammatory response. This inflammatory response triggers swelling around the pore. This swelling can actually make it difficult for new hair growing in to make its way through the opening. The opening has been narrowed as a result of this inflammation. This leads to ingrown hairs developing especially in areas with coarse hairs.

How does one treat post-body wax ingrown hairs?

Using products that have an anti-inflammatory effect such as natural oils can help reduce the swelling around the pores so that these hairs can escape. It can even help to do something as simple as keeping your lotion in the refrigerator before applying it. By applying a cooler product to your skin, vasoconstriction can occur which reduces the amount of swelling and inflammation in the area. If areas persist or recur, it is important to see your dermatologist and consider a prescription antibiotic lotion or an oral antibiotic.

Besides pimples, raised bumps are oftentimes a side effect of post-body wax. Why do these occur post-body wax?

It’s really interesting that many people do not recognize that there were two pores on the skin. There are hair follicles that have oil glands at the base of the hair follicle, but we also have sweat ducts that come through the skin independently of the hair. So there are actually two types of pores coming to the skin. After waxing, also depending upon the temperature of the wax, many times the sweat ducts can actually get inflamed or irritated as well. This can lead to another type of bump that occurs as a result of sweat glands.

How does one treat post-body wax bumps?

Hydrating and cooling the skin or essential. By hydrating the skin any blocked pores can feel free to find their way to the surface through a reduction in keratin or other debris that is blocking the surface. Also by keeping the skin’s temperature somewhat cooler, the inflammatory response can be reduced which leads to these bumps in the first place.

Why does bruising occur post-body wax?

Body waxing is traumatic to the skin. We also have superficially in the dermis of the skin many capillaries that feed and nourish the skin. Depending on how traumatic the wax is, these capillaries superficially can be broken or sheared away from the surface of the skin leading to bruising or hematomas under the surface.

How does one treat post-body wax bruises?

A bruise is a bruise, once the skin is bruised there’s very little we can do to get it to go away faster. Bruises by definition are extravasation of blood cells into the superficial layers of skin. Although people can try Arnica or other formulations, these products likely do not do as much as you think to hasten the resolution of a bruise.

Why do some people experience burned or removed skin post-body wax?

After a wax, depending on the temperature of the wax, the skin can be easily burned or sheared away. Much of this has to do with the temperature of the wax that’s applied to the skin. Wax by definition relies on it being in the liquid state in order to work. This requires it to be warm when applied, then cool to dry around the hair follicles to effectively pull them away.

How does one treat burned or removed skin post-body wax?

The most effective way to treat burned skin after wax should be treated by protecting it as it heals in. The most effective way to do so, after verifying that there is no evidence of infection, is to treat it with Vaseline or Aquaphor to protect, occlude, and hydrate the skin.

Why do some people experience pain post-body wax?

We have pain receptors, touch receptors, and other sensory receptors in the skin. These can be affected by the wax. Depending again on the temperature and force with which the wax is removed. This can lead to pain as a result of the process. It is also always important to verify that the presence of pain is not a sign of an infection and treat it accordingly.

How does one treat pain post-body wax?

Protecting and occluding the skin with Aquaphor or Vaseline can be one of the most effective ways to treat pain after a wax. Also remembering that pain can be the sign of an infection and treat it with antibiotics accordingly.



Why do some experience changes in skin color post-body wax?

When the hair is stripped away and skin also follows it, the healing phase can result in changes in skin color after body wax. Much of this has to do with hyperpigmentation that can occur as a result of the healing process. For this reason, using Aquaphor or Vaseline can be essential to ensure that the chances of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are reduced.

How does one treat these changes in skin color?

The best way to treat hyperpigmentation is to prevent it by treating the skin appropriately to avoid pigmentation in the first place. If it is unavoidable or has already occurred sometimes it can only be treated with either time alone or with hydroquinone-based bleaching creams.


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