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Male chest before and after waxing.
Waxing is a method of semi-permanent hair removal which removes the hair from the root. New hairs will not grow back in the previously waxed area for two to eight weeks. Almost any area of the body can be waxed, including eyebrows, face, bikini area, legs, arms, back, abdomen and feet. There are many types of waxing suitable for removing unwanted hair. If waxing is done regularly for several years, permanent hair reduction may be achieved.

Waxing is accomplished by spreading a wax combination thinly over the skin. A cloth or paper strip is then pressed on the top and ripped off with a quick movement against the direction of hair growth. This removes the wax along with the hair. Another method utilizes hard wax (as opposed to strip wax). In this case, the wax is applied somewhat thickly and with no cloth or paper strips. The wax then hardens when it cools, thus allowing the easy removal by a therapist without the aid of cloths. This waxing method is very beneficial to people who have sensitive skin.

Types of waxing

Various types of waxing are available. Some must be performed by a licensed cosmetologist or esthetician. The different types of waxing that can be performed are:
  • Eyebrow waxing
  • Leg waxing
  • Arm/underarm waxing
  • Back waxing
  • Foot waxing
  • Chest waxing
  • Entire body wax
  • Bikini wax

Most parts of the body can be waxed, but other parts, not listed above are not given special consideration. Areas individuals should never wax include inside the ears and nose as well as eyelashes, eyelids, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. These areas are of particular concern due to sensitive skin that can be severely damaged if waxed.

Male Body Waxing

While waxing for hair removal is typically done by women, many men also opt for this type of hair removal treatment. Swimmers and athletes may choose body waxing for aesthetic appeal and to improve their performance, or men who prefer to shave their heads may opt for waxing as a more long-lasting technique.

Benefits and drawbacks

There are many benefits to waxing versus other forms of hair removal. It is an effective method to remove large amounts of hair at one time. It is a long-lasting method. Hair in waxed areas will not grow back for two to eight weeks. When hair is shaved or removed by depilatory cream, the hair is removed at the surface rather than the root. Within a few days, the hair can be seen at the surface. With these methods, hair tends to grow back in a rough stubble. Areas that are repeatedly waxed over long periods of time often exhibit regrowth that is softer.

There are many drawbacks of waxing as well. Waxing can be painful when the strip is removed from the skin. Although the pain is not long-lasting, it can be intense, particularly in more sensitive areas. Another drawback to waxing is the expense: waxing is usually performed by a licensed cosmetologist, and the cost can be very high, up to several hundred dollars depending on the area of hair removed and how many treatments are necessary. There are do-it-yourself waxing supplies, but they may be difficult to use on oneself on some areas on the body. Hair removal is not permanent. When removed against the direction of hair growth, the wax strip may disturb hair follicles, causing hair to begin to grow in different directions. This may cause hair growth to be more noticeable and make other methods of hair removal more difficult. Fortunately, this risk is negligible if the waxing is performed properly.

Another drawback of waxing is that some people experience ingrown hairs, red bumps, and minor bleeding. This is more likely to occur when waxing areas with thick hair, especially the first few times when follicles are strongest. While usually impossible to eliminate, ingrown hairs can be reduced by regularly exfoliating, and applying an astringent or a solution of both astringent and oil (typically baby or azulene oil).


Health concerns

Redness and swelling after being waxed
Some physicians do not recommend waxing for persons suffering from diabetes or who have varicose veins or poor circulation as they are more susceptible to infection. Users of Retin-A, Renova, Differin or Isotretinoin are advised not to have waxing performed; these medications tend to weaken the skin and tearing of the skin may occur when the wax is removed. Waxing should not be done on areas of skin affected by warts, pimples, moles or rashes or on skin that is irritated, chapped or suffering from sunburn. Never apply wax to peeling, broken skin or varicose veins. Women's tolerance to pain may vary at different points in their menstrual cycle. Women may experience greater sensitivity to pain during the week before menstruation. For this reason, many experienced estheticians recommend that women schedule waxing appointments for the week after menstruation, when pain tolerance is generally at its highest. Waxing rips the hair out of the skin and often causes pain. The pain increases in areas such as the genitals, especially for people who haven't waxed before or don't wax often. Redness and swelling also often occurs at the waxing site. Waxing in itself is a safe thing, but there are times when it is not safe to get waxed. When skin is sunburnt it is not good to get a wax treatment. Allergic reactions can also happen with waxing. People with medical problems such as diabetes, chronic kidney or liver disease, skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, or weakened immune systems are advised not to get wax treatments at all. At least one woman, with diabetes, almost died due to getting a bikini wax and the resulting area becoming infected and another woman was hospitalised after being waxed in her genital area. In 2007 the New Jerseymarker State Board of Cosmetology and Hairstyling came close to banning genital waxing based on health concerns. There is also concern about the trend to remove all or most of the pubic hair from a person's genitals. Dr. Linda K. Franks, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine, says "Pubic hair is there for a reason—to protect the sensitive skin and mucous membranes in the genital region, getting a wax literally strips away that layer of protection." Waxing can pull small pieces of skin off the body. This is usually minor and is not unusual. Skin infections can also occur such as staph, folliculitis (infection of the hair follicles). Ingrown hairs are also quite common and can become infected.

Waxing of children

Young children also get waxing treatment with children as young as eight receiving wax treatments such as eyebrows, legs and genital waxing. Such genital waxing on young girls has been called "virgin bikini" waxes, and is aimed at either reducing the girl's need for pubic hair removal in the future or stopping hair growth permanently with as few as five or six treatments as long as the child has never shaved before. The increase demand for preteen waxing is being met by spas, with some 10,000 spas in offering services only for young girls and early teenagers in the United States of Americamarker alone. The International Spa Association has reported that 16% of teens who have had spa treatments have had waxing done. The association has not been able to give figures for younger children because it is illegal to survey them.

Both parents and children say that young girls feel intense pressure from television shows and other children to look pretty and sexy and say that peer pressure, magazines, pop stars like Britney Spears and TV shows like Miley Cyrus' Hannah Montana increase children's demands to have spa treatments such as waxing, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Such pressure has been reported to cause intense stress and emotional problems in young girls. The opinions of boys about girl's beauty is also a pressure to look their best with reports of boys rating girls on a scale of 1 to 10 at school.

Dr. Diane Levin, professor of education at Wheelock Collegemarker in Bostonmarker and co-author of the book So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids (a book critical of the sexualization of children), believes child waxing to be bad because it tells girls to “keep your bodies like little girls’ because that’s what men like.” This is backed up with surveys that show that 93% of men want women to, at least, remove some hair from their pubic area. Dr. Doris Pastor, a pediatrician, feels that the problem is not whether young children get wax treatments but that such events might encourage young children and preteens to take part in risky behaviour. Pubic hair waxing of children has caused concern with doctors. Dr. Janice Hillman, of the Penn Health System, a specialist in adolescent medicine, when checking for pubic hair on young girls as a sign of development has said she often has to ask the girls if they wax because it has become so common.

See also

External links


  1. Waxing for hair removal from
  2. Hair Removal Methods from
  3. Waxing For Hair Removal from
  4. Skin Waxing from

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