There are two main types of waxers: the person who has been self-waxing since puberty, and the person who has never once gotten body hair pulled out without paying someone to do it. And before the coronavirus pandemic forced waxing studios and spas to temporarily shutter, the latter probably never expected to take matters into their own hands.
People who are stuck at home — and away from our beloved beauty providers — are turning to the types of DIY treatments and beauty projects they might not have considered doing before. Cutting your own hair? Worth a try. Attempting to freehand your own nail art? Sure, we've got time. But since at-home waxing involves putting hot wax on your bare skin, there are a few things to consider before you pull out the Popsicle sticks.
Whether this is your first time attempting at-home waxing or you're a lifelong devotee, our job is to make sure your skin stays burn-free and intact on its way to smoothness. We asked board-certified dermatologists to break down the basics — and their advice is, for the most part, don't wax at home.
Yes, home waxing kits exist, and yes, your cousin's best friend's great-aunt probably swears she's been waxing her underarms for 15 years. But even though you can wax, dermatologists don't think you should.
Shari Marchbein, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, gives waxing a hard no: "I would absolutely not recommend waxing at home," she tells Allure. "I get it. We're all off of our normal self-care routines, but certain things are best left to professionals."
Chapel Hill, North Carolina-based, board-certified dermatologist Chris G. Adigun agrees: "Unless you are an experienced at-home waxer, I am always very cautious to recommend it," he says. "There are many variables that can go awry with waxing at home, including managing the temperature of the wax, which requires heating, waxing off just the hair (and not the skin), and irritated reactions to components of the kits."
Adigun shared a long list of potential issues with at-home waxing, such as burns, ingrown hairs, infection, and itchy or painful rashes. Keep in mind that many of those issues could happen even if you get waxed at a spa, although it's perhaps less likely under the care of an expert aesthetician.
Even expert aestheticians worry about their clients attempting to wax sensitive areas. Haven Spa aesthetician Hanna Naranjo has one word to say when it comes to at-home brow waxing: "Don't!" If not for your skin, at least for your brows: "Don't wax your eyebrows at home. It's very easy to accidentally rip off more hair than you would like," she says. "A tweezer is your best bet."
Keep in mind that any waxing mishaps on your face will be, well, on your face. "Consequences of bad outcomes from waxing on the face as compared to the body are much greater, such as burns and hyperpigmentation," says Adigun. The experts agree: Stick this one out until you can get back to your professional waxer, or opt for a simpler tool like tweezers.
How about the bikini line? According to the experts, it's the same deal. "Just let [your pubic hair] be for now," says Naranjo. "There are too many risks involved as it's extremely difficult to do on your own."
In addition to all the regular reasons not to wax at home, there's also the pandemic-specific reason. Jessica Krant, a board-certified dermatologist at Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, reminds us that "there is always a risk of tearing the skin or getting burned, which can trigger a round of more risk-laden experiences, like having to decide about going to see a doctor or trying to manage the risk of scarring or infection at home."
The only thing worse than having to go to a hospital because you burned your bikini line is having to go to a hospital in the midst of a global health crisis.
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Originally Appeared on Allure