To wax or not to wax, that is the question. If you have sensitive skin, it might be a no-no as it can be irritating. In fact, eczema and psoriasis sufferers are encouraged to avoid it altogether.
But is it really so bad for your skin? Let’s take a closer look…
How waxing affects the skin
Body hair serves a very necessary purpose, protecting the sensitive skin in key areas.
“Getting a wax literally strips away that layer of protection,” explains Linda Franks, M.D, Assistant of Dermatology at NY School of Medicine.
As well as causing many tiny tears and openings in the skin’s uppermost layer, through which bacteria can permeate, waxing can also cause inflammation. Inflammation traps bacteria under skin which can cause skin infections, hair follicle infections and ingrown hairs.
How to choose a wax for sensitive skin
If you have sensitive skin and want to wax, it’s best to choose your wax and the salon itself quite carefully. Much like skincare, you need to know what’s inside the wax as well as the form it takes.
Most salons will offer a patch test if you’re concerned, so do book in and check that what they’re using is going to work for your skin.
It’s often said that hard wax – a type of hot wax which is applied and then hardens so that it can be removed without strips – is best for sensitive skin. Not only is it gentler as a formula, but it sticks to the hair itself, rather than the skin.
To avoid spread of bacteria, make sure your therapist does not double dip the wax applicator and instead uses a new spatula for each strip. Double dipping introduces bacteria into the pot, which can then be spread from person to person.
How to prevent irritation when waxing
After waxing (or indeed any other form of hair removal), it’s best to use a skin-soothing cream like Polly Plum. Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties will calm the skin, and help to repair and regenerate any damaged areas.
If waxing isn’t working for you, you might want to try out alternative hair removal techniques such as threading or epilation, which are a lot kinder on the skin as they don’t use any product.
Or, you can even try our Middlemist Seven cleanser, which doubles up as a shaving cream!
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