Waxing is done by applying a warm, soothing wax directly to the unwanted hair and removing it with a gauze cloth, taking out the hair by the root. Hair will return within four to six weeks.

While depilatories remove hair at the skin’s surface, “epilatories,” such as tweezers and waxes, pluck hairs from below the surface. Waxing and tweezing may be more painful than using a depilatory, but the results are longer lasting. Because the hair is plucked at the root, new growth is not visible for several weeks after treatment.

If you don’t mind pulling a sticky bandage off your own skin, and if you have too much unwanted body hair but too little time to run out to waxing salons, then you may be the perfect candidate for a home waxing kit.

Epilatory waxes are available over the counter for home use. They contain combinations of waxes, such as paraffin and beeswax, oils or fats, and a resin that makes the wax adhere to the skin.

There are “hot” and “cold” waxes. With hot waxing, a thin layer of heated wax is applied to the skin in the direction of the hair growth. The hair becomes embedded in the wax as it cools and hardens. The wax is then pulled off quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth, taking the uprooted hair with it.

Cold waxes work similarly. Strips precoated with wax are pressed on the skin in the direction of the hair growth and pulled off in the opposite direction. The strips come in different sizes for use on the eyebrows, upper lip, chin, and bikini area.

Labeling of over-the-counter waxes cautions that these products should not be used by people with diabetes and circulatory problems, who are particularly susceptible to infection. Waxing–and tweezing as well–can leave the skin sore and open to infection.

Waxes should not be used over varicose veins, moles, or warts. They should not be used on the eyelashes, inside the nose or ears, on the nipples or genital areas, or on irritated, chapped, sunburned, or cut skin.

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