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Skin Care: Then and Now--Hair Removal

By: Michelle Goldsmith
Posted: February 28, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Tweezing. Tweezing is one example of epilation that is relatively easy on the skin, but can be painful, depending upon the area being tweezed. Facial areas, such as the eyebrows, are still commonly tweezed both at home and by professionals. Tweezing is a good method for smaller areas with less dense hair, is specifically confined to use on the face, and can be performed easily on all skin types and conditions with little to no irritation.

Waxing. Waxing can be performed with either cold or hot wax, and wax types vary from hard to soft. Hard wax is applied to the skin and, once it hardens, can be pulled off in a quick motion; whereas soft wax, which is also typically applied warm, is removed with a porous or muslin strip. Waxing is a beneficial type of hair removal for small and large areas of the body. It is quick, but can be relatively painful, depending on the density of the hair and the area being treated.

Because of the heat and pulling of the wax from the skin, this may not be the best type of treatment for sensitive skin, especially clients with rosacea, and those with impaired barrier function issues. It is important to be sure the skin is properly hydrated, because skin that is over-dry or not intact could become more easily irritated and, depending upon the severity of the condition, there is an increased risk of removing skin, in some cases.

Consider scheduling hydrating treatments that alternate with clients’ regular waxing appointments, as well as recommending proper hydrating products for home use that can be obtained in your retail area. PIH can also be a concern, especially for clients with darker skin. Suggest to clients that they begin using gentle pigment-inhibiting products at home to minimize this risk. Unlike dermaplaning, waxing and peels should not be performed during the same appointment; peels, however, can be implemented at appropriate intervals according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Because chemical peels either coagulate on the surface of the skin or loosen the bonds between keratinocytes, the ripping action of wax removal can actually remove skin prematurely and cause unwanted trauma to the skin. It is best to schedule waxing and peels in alternate appointments, one to two weeks prior to or post-waxing appointment.

Pseudofolliculitis barbae (ingrown hairs) is also a concern for some clients. This is a condition where the follicle becomes irritated or infected as the hair begins to grow back, and is very common in people with more coarse and curly hair. Many skin care lines have both professional and daily care protocols specifically designed to treat this condition. By recommending services and products that contain resorcinol, and salicylic and lactic acids in conjunction with regular hair removal treatments, you will minimize the risk and also prevent recurrence of this condition by keeping the follicles free from excess debris and keratinized skin.