Everything you need to know before waxing your body hair

Deciding to tweeze your body hair – or remove it in any capacity – is a personal decision and certainly not a necessity. But if you want to give it a try because you’re looking to throw your razor to the side, there are steps you can take to make the whole process go smoother.

To find out what you need to know before booking an appointment, we spoke with Dr. Cybele Fishman, a board-certified dermatologist from Advanced Dermatology PC in New York City, and Page Buldini, esthetician and founder of Page Aesthetics Skincare.

1. Let the professionals handle it

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Thinking about waxing? Best to let a professional take care of it.

If you’re wondering if you can tweeze your body hair at home, just know that it might not be the best idea to do it yourself on the fly. Fishman admits she doesn’t know all the ins and outs of how to perform a DIY body wax, but she remains conflicted if it’s even a good idea at all. “The benefits are that you control the cleanliness and can save money in the long run,” she says. On the other hand, “If you don’t follow the instructions correctly, you can burn yourself if you use hot wax,” says Fishman.

2. Make sure the spa is clean

A person waxes a client's legs.

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Go to an establishment specifically specializing in hair removal.

Always do your research on a salon before booking your waxing appointment. Fishman stresses the importance of finding a clean spa, because unsanitary treatment can have serious consequences for your skin. “I’ve seen many staph infections after waxing, and now, with MRSA so common, it’s even more important to pick your spot carefully,” she says.

The main thing to keep in mind when looking for a salon: find a place that specializes in waxing as opposed to a nail salon, for example, which may offer waxing as a secondary service . “[A waxing center] is more likely to have specific sanitation protocols,” says Fishman. It’s the health of your skin that we’re talking about, so never rush to find a waxing service and trust your intuition when choosing one.

3. Avoid waxing under certain circumstances

A person uses cream to relieve a sunburn.

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It is better to postpone if you have a sunburn.

Using specific skincare products or having a particular skin condition immediately eliminates the possibility of waxing. “Don’t wax anything if you’re on isotretinoin or within the first month after you’re done,” says Fishman. Isotretinoin (aka Accutane, a controversial acne drug) increases skin sensitivity, and waxing will make it rip, she says.

The rule of thumb for hands-off hair removal also applies to those who actively use skincare products that contain acids, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid, as well as retinoids. topicals, whether over-the-counter or prescription. If you’re using one but enjoy waxing, stop using these products on the area you plan to wax at least five days before treatment, especially if you’re waxing your face, says Fishman. .

Skin that has been compromised due to inflammation should also not be waxed. “This includes sunburned skin or skin that has conditions like eczema or psoriasis,” Fishman says.

4. Don’t cut your hair before waxing

A person wearing a turquoise tank top lifts their armpits to show off their hair.

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Let your hair grow before you wax.

The main purpose of waxing is to get rid of unwanted hair, so there’s no reason to trim it first. In fact, trimming excess hair can lead to poor results. “If the hairs are too short, they won’t come out completely,” says Buldini. “The longer the better, so don’t prune first.” Also, it’s best to let the hair grow four to six weeks before requesting waxing.

5. Avoid tanning sprays and exercise

A person wearing a set of brown sportswear is smiling and has their hand on their hip.

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Avoid certain activities, such as exercise, before a waxing appointment.

Keeping a low profile around wax hour is undoubtedly the main theme here, and that means giving up on some activities. Spray tan is one of the things you should do not do before a hair removal session, as the hair removal process involves exfoliating the skin and the spray tan may fade. Once waxed, however, you can get a tan after one to three days because the hair follicles would have had some time to heal, Buldini says.

In the meantime, she recommends exercising at least 24 hours after waxing, as wearing tight-fitting clothes and physical activity “could cause chafing, which would also be unpleasant for freshly waxed skin.”

6. Wear loose clothes on your date

Two people are wearing comfortable tracksuits.

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Choose to wear something flowy and loose for the date.

You’ll want to be very comfortable after your waxing, and tight-fitting clothes can rub against the waxed area and cause irritation. For this reason, be sure to wear loose clothing, such as an oversized t-shirt, flowy skirt, or casual pants, to your waxing appointment. Going commando is also not a bad idea if you plan to wax the bikini area.

7. Know that irritation is normal

A pack of Cortizone and a bottle of lotion.

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Reduce itching with a moisturizing body lotion.

Your skin will probably be tender after waxing, but there are ways to ease the pain. Apply hydrocortisone to the skin if you experience “minor swelling or itching,” says Buldini, who encourages “moisturizing your body with your normal body lotion or body oil.” Additional note: If you have waxed your bikini line, only apply products around the edges to prevent any product from migrating to more sensitive areas.

For relief from post-waxing irritation, consider using Cortizone 10 Maximum Strength 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream, a drugstore solution that soothes inflammation and redness. And to make sure your skin gets the hydration it needs, try Lubriderm Fragrance-Free Daily Moisturizing Lotion, which won our best place overall for its ability to absorb into skin without pilling or clinging to areas. dry.

8. Relax for a day or two

A person relaxes in a jacuzzi.

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It’s important to relax, but don’t swim in a pool or soak in a hot tub until 24 hours have passed after waxing.

Just as it is advisable to refrain from exercise and spraying from pre-waxing to tanning, you should also press pause on activities like swimming, sunbathing and sex (for waxing of the bikini area) for 24 hours after waxing, explains Buldini. It’s also wise to avoid soaking in a hot tub for a few days after waxing, according to Fishman, who says, “You’ll be more prone to [a skin infection called] spa folliculitis caused by [water-borne] the pseudomonas bacterium nowadays.

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