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Waxing is a popular way of removing body hairs, which has been used for centuries. It is a temporary hair removal method that can be done professionally or at by anyone in the comfort of their homes.

Effects of Waxing

Waxing is an easy, although painful way of removing unwanted body hairs in various areas of the body, including the legs, chest, back, bikini area, chin, eyebrows, and above the upper lip. Unlike shaving, another popular method of removing hair, waxing results in complete removal of the hair shafts, including the roots. This results in longer hair-free days, which may take about two to three weeks. Furthermore, with repeated use, waxing can destroy hair follicles and may result in fewer hairs growing back.

You can have your hairs removed professionally in a spa or salon, where warm waxing methods are usually employed, using strip wax, hard wax or elastic wax. However, do-it-yourself waxing kits are also available in pharmacies and supermarkets, which may involve either warm or cold wax methods.

Although waxing results in fast removal of hair, resulting in smooth, hairless skin that lasts for weeks, this method also has side effects, which you must consider.

Side Effects of Waxing

Depending on your threshold for pain, this procedure can be extremely painful. Although it is a quick way of clearing hair from large areas of skin, such as the legs, waxing can lead to skin irritation and burns when wax is applied too hot.

Since the procedure involves removal of hairs from the roots, skin infection can occur from the open pores, which can result in folliculitis or inflammation of the hair follicles. This may appear as red spots on the skin, which can later develop into small pus-filled pustules or boils.

Folliculitis may also result from regrowth of hairs after waxing, plucking or shaving. Irritant folliculitis commonly develops on the legs, and although no infection occurs, the red bumps on skin can become very itchy.

Aside from these, other side effects of waxing include bruising, bleeding and darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation). When hairs are incompletely pulled out, ingrown hairs (pseudofolliculitis) may occur, which appears as red bumps or acne-like eruptions in the skin.

Skin Preparations

To prevent the side effects of waxing, it is advisable to ensure that the area to be waxed must be clean. Gentle exfoliation a day before waxing can remove dirt and dead skin, which can clog pores. You must also wait till your hairs are long enough to be effectively pulled out from the roots. If you are doing the waxing at home, do a test first on a small area, making sure that the wax is not too hot. Avoid double-dipping wax applicators to prevent infection. Apply wax in the direction of hair growth but pull the wax strip in the opposite direction.

Use hypoallergenic wax preparations for sensitive skin. To help close pores and soothe skin after waxing, apply a gentle facial toner on the skin.

You must avoid waxing if you have any type of skin irritation, sunburn or broken skin. People who are using oral or topical retinoid preparations must avoid waxing because this can cause skin tearing and injuries.

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