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Waxing Precautions & Warnings

What You Should Know Before Getting Waxed

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Woman having eye brows waxed, close-up
Paul Burns/Photodisc/Getty Images
Waxing precautions and warnings left unchecked could leave your skin extremely red, burned or scabby. If you're ever unsure about waxing for any reason, always do a patch test first. This is only a reference guide, talk to your doctor or waxing technician if you have any concerns or questions.

When to Be Cautious:

  • You're pregnant, take birth control, hormone replacement or antibiotics. Your skin may be more sensitive to waxing, so it's best to have a patch test (like a small area on your arm) and see how your skin reacts for 24 hours before getting an entire eyebrow or leg wax.

  • Smokers or those with Rosacea. Waxing can irritate dilated capillaries (weak or broken blood vessels) which are commonly found on people with Rosacea and smokers. If the capillaries are very red, stay away from waxing in that area.

  • You take blood thinners, have diabetes, phlebitis or want post- cancer hair growth in side-burn area removed. These all relate to medical conditions, so first get your doctor's approval before waxing.

  • You use powerful exfoliators on your skin. Salicylic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, white willow bark, white willow bark extract and enzymes all strip cells from the skin. It's all too much exfoliation combined with waxing, and could make skin red, bleed or even turn scabby. So stop using these products in the area getting waxed for at least three days before, and three to four days after waxing. (Depending on the strength of the product and the type of skin you have the safe wax wait time time may be much longer before and after. If the alpha-hydroxy is over 8% then you may have to wait months before safely getting waxed.)

  • You recently drank a lot of caffeine or alcohol. These stimulants in your system can cause skin to be extra sensitive to waxing, meaning you could get more red or inflamed than usual. Give yourself a couple hours after drinking coffee or alcohol before getting waxed.

When Not to Get Waxed:

  • You currently take Accutane, or have stopped taking it less than a year ago.

  • You're taking any prescription acne medication.

  • You have lupus or AIDS.

  • You're in cancer therapy getting chemotherapy or radiation.

  • You have been in direct sunlight for a long period of time or tanning bed within the last 24 hours.

Areas Not to Wax:

  • Irritated, inflamed, cut, or sunburned skin.

  • Anywhere you're using Retin-A (learn more about hair removal and using this skin prescription).

  • Legs if you have varicose veins.

  • Any area that has a rash, recent scar tissue, a skin graft, pimples, cold sores, moles or warts.

  • Anywhere you're having dermabrasion services or have gotten them in the past three months.

  • The inside of ears and nose, and on eyelashes, nipples and male genitals.

  • Any place you've recently gotten Botox or collagen injections (about 3 -7 days prior).

  • Anywhere that has been waxed within the last 24 hours.

  • Areas you're using any alpha hydroxy acid over 8%.

  • Over or around body piercings.
Remember, even if you can't get waxing done, there are other hair removal options such as tweezing, threading, sugaring or depilatories that may be safe in your circumstance.

Even if you're a candidate, other issues from waxing like ingrown hairs, pain, bumps, bruising and more can also occur.
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