Friday, 23 October 2015

Post Waxing Bumps

Ingrown hairs can be a constant battle when you're into hair removal. It is sometimes a misused label when it comes to issues of the skin, it's important to get into the details of post hair removal skin life to figure out the exact source of a bumps, redness and irritation so that you're sure you are treating the right thing.

Post Waxing Redness

"I'm always red for a couple hours/a day/2 days after waxing! Each follicle is a little red dot, I look like I have polka dots!" 

It generally takes a lot of regular experience of waxing to not get some redness from it, we are literally pulling your hair out. It's not unusual for your follicle to be red, much like how it's not unusual for your skin to be red after you've been scratching an itchy spot. Some redness is good, that means we've pulled a live hair and the root/bulb (that's where your body feeds the hair nutrients) is still attached. The bulb acts as an anchor and doesn't naturally come out of the follicle opening, (it usually separates from your hair when your body decides it's time for your hair to shed) meaning that when we wax a live hair, that bulbs hits the walls of your follicle in a way it's not used to. Some people do hold onto this redness for 24-48 hours, particularly in areas with denser hair, like the bikini zone. Majority of people see redness for 1 - 4 hours after waxing, and the more regularly you wax the less time the area stays red. 

When is post waxing redness bad? When after hours the redness is still ALL the surface of the skin, it doesn't seem to be concentrating to just at the follicle opening, when the skin is swelling, the area is very sore to the touch, there's weeping or the texture of the skin has changed. Then the waxing might have been too aggressive for the skin. This circumstance is one that's easy to come by if there's been a change in medications with the clients, the area hasn't been properly waxed or there's been an increase of exfoliating products. These cases are beyond appropriate for a spa to treat and the proper advice would be to recommend visiting a doctor.

How can you clear this issue up? Calming products are recommended, our post waxing oil contains a very light amount of cooling peppermint and soothing arnica. We recommend Whish's pre and post waxing products because they are rich in aloe, witch hazel and other calming ingredients. Cool compresses can work wonders and you want to avoid putting more heat in the skin right after waxing (that's part of why no baths or working out for a day after). 

Short-Term Post Waxing Pustules

"Within 24-72 hours I always get white heads/zits where I waxed!"

These are not ingrown hairs generally, as you'd hope there aren't any hairs in the follicle this soon after waxing! Your hair helps clear debris that can block the follicle opening and keeps the opening somewhat shielded so that bacteria can't get it. When you remove the hair your follicle opening is a nice new spot for bacteria to sneak in, especially areas where your sweat glands don't have antimicrobial peptides (such as underarms and bikini zone), are more likely to have these break outs. 

When is it beyond typical? If almost all the area you've waxed or removed hair from is showing this sort of response, then that can be a sign that bacteria has been introduced to your follicle during the waxing process (or very shortly after, this is why working out and/or wearing soiled work out clothes and waxing are a bad combo), if the pustule continues to become more red and a harder bump under the skin - always monitor it as MRSA is easy to catch and appears as a boil. It could also possibly be, the very common but not often spoken about, Hidradenitis Suppurativa  All of these are symptoms of something beyond the care a spa can responsibly offer, we'd recommend seeing a doctor. 

What can you do to prevent pustules? Make sure your post waxing product is appropriate. We recommend mineral oil and petrolatum free, a disinfecting compress can be ideal (such as witch hazel or tea tree water, not alcohol denat). Products containing salicylic acid (like Whish's Flawless) are popular because at the right percentage salicylic acid helps liquefy contents of a pore/follicle opening, which ensures everything clears out easier. Alum Blocks are more often used as an aftershave for men, and also amazing for waxing. You simply wet the area and slide the block over, Eliss prefers to not rinse off afterwards for body waxing. You won't be able to put a cream or oil on over top nicely though. The alum block will leave a soothing, disinfecting barrier. 

The "Can't Break Through" Hair!

"My thighs/arms/lower legs feel sort of bumpy and uneven!"

Now these are ingrowns, they're just not irritated. This is especially common on dry / less flexible skins or areas that are regularly wearing more fitting clothes (like upper legs). The hair might be too soft to really be forceful and easily bend back if it meets any resistance.

What can you do to prevent this? Regular exfoliation, make sure at least once a week it's manual (meaning something scrubby, the shower puff balls are not really scrubby enough) and regular application of body lotion, or at least a hydrating gel, to keep flexibility in the skin. This will make the follicle less rigid so the hair has an easier time finding the opening.