Body waxing is a convenient and effective method to remove unwanted facial or body hair. While not a permanent fix, waxing lasts much longer than shaving or using depilatories, since during this process hair is removed from the root. Waxing is frequently used as a successful means of removing unwanted hair from the eyebrows, upper lip, chin, underarms, legs, back, and bikini area. The treated area usually remains smooth and hairless for 4 to 6 weeks.
Candidates for Body Waxing
Almost anyone with unwanted hair is a candidate for body waxing, though the individual must be prepared to experienced some discomfort or pain during the process. Individual sensitivities vary so some people tolerate waxing on certain parts of their body more easily than others. Whenever the skin is in an unusually sensitive condition, body waxing should be avoided since in such situations the skin is more prone to "lifting," meaning that the top layer of the skin can be torn away during the waxing process. Because of this, individuals in the following categories are not good candidates for body waxing:
Those taking blood thinners or corticosteroids
Those who have psoriasis, eczema or rosacea
Those with autoimmune diseases, like lupus
Those who are sunburned, have infections or cold sores
Those with severe varicose veins
Those who have undergone recent laser treatment
Those who have undergone recent chemical peels
Types of Body Waxing Procedures
There are two basic types of body waxing procedures: strip waxing and strip-less waxing.
After both strip waxing and strip-less waxing, a soothing lotion is applied to the skin to minimize discomfort. Although the treated hairs are completely removed and will not regrow for many weeks, not every hair is growing at the same time. The waxing process may have to be repeated in order to remove hairs that were in a dormant state during the first treatment.
During strip waxing, a thin layer of soft wax is spread over the area and a cloth or paper strip is applied and pressed firmly. The goal is to have the strip adhere to the wax and the wax adhere to the skin so that when the strip is quickly pulled off against the direction of hair growth, the hair is effectively removed. If the process is performed carefully, although there is brief pain involved, skin trauma is minimized and bruising, ingrown hairs and broken capillaries are avoided.
Benefits of Body Waxing
There are several benefits to body waxing over other methods of body hair removal. Waxing is more effective than some other hair removal treatments because:
Large amounts of hair can be removed at one time
Waxing lasts for a relatively long time, 4 to 8 weeks
Regrowth of hair is softer than after shaving or depilatory use
Pain or discomfort lessens as treatments become routine
Complications of Body Waxing
Probably the biggest drawback to body waxing is the pain involved, although for most individuals the end results are well worth the discomfort. While short-lived, the stinging or burning can be intense, especially if the waxing is administered to sensitive areas of the body. It is very important that an experienced, licensed technician perform the body waxing since proper technique and careful sanitation is essential to maintain health and avoid infection.
Even when waxing is performed with care, it is possible for red bumps, minor bleeding or bruising. or ingrown hairs to result, although these conditions are usually easily resolved. Such complications are most likely to occur during the primary waxing, especially on areas where hair growth is thick.
National Institutes of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
U.S. National Library of Medicine