Side Effects of Waxing

Waxing removes hair but can have side effects.

Although using hot wax has been a time-honored way of quickly and cleanly removing unwanted body hair, there are a number of side effects of waxing, both immediate and long-term, that everyone should be aware of before they book an appointment.

Most Common Side Effects of Waxing

Nearly everyone who gets body hair waxed, no matter how strong their skin, will endure some redness for a while post-wax. This can vary from being just a bit pink in the treated area for a few hours to having a rash, red bumps, and even some bleeding and bruising that can last for several days. Even those who get waxed regularly may not be immune.

Fortunately, this most common and unsightly side effect can be mitigated through several easy steps. Ice and cold compresses applied immediately after waxing can bring down the redness considerably. Upscale spas and salons will have ice at the ready for you and let you rest a few minutes with it on before applying a cooling lotion or salve.

Some people also have good results with taking an aspirin or two before getting waxed. It can prevent pain and bruising, if you are prone to it.

Other Concerns

Another fairly common and uncomfortable side effect of waxing is ingrown hairs. Although hair is waxed in the direction of growth, areas like the bikini and underarms can be difficult to wax because the hair grows in multiple directions. Ingrowns here are very common and can be uncomfortable as well as unsightly.

Rashes, bumps, and bleeding are other unsightly side effects of waxing and often occur in the bikini area. It's best not to plan on a beach or pool trip too soon after waxing, just in case you experience these side effects.

Allergic reactions to the wax are comparatively rare, but they do happen and can be very uncomfortable. If you've never been waxed before, it might be prudent to have a patch test prior to a full wax, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Long-Term Problems

As more women choose to wax off their body hair over a period of years, more problematic side effects of waxing are being observed. Waxing involves pulling the skin, no matter how gentle the waxer may be. Over the long term, this pulling can lead to a loss of elasticity and strength in the skin. Once this happens, the skin is then more prone to wrinkling. This will be seen on the most delicate skin, such as around the eyebrows, but can also occur on all affected skin. So while waxing can improve one's appearance and make someone feel cleaner and sexier in the short term, it can lead to premature aging.

While rare, skin darkening can also occur. This usually only happens if the wax is too hot, but the resulting pigmentation can take months to fade.

Preventing and Treating Problems

One of the best ways to prevent waxing problems is to go to a qualified waxer at a reputable salon or spa. Someone who knows what they are doing will never burn you and will do their best to work quickly and efficiently while not overstressing the skin. They will clean you completely with antiseptic and apply any necessary salves or compresses after the treatment, as well as advise you on home treatment for the next 24 hours.

If you are concerned about the possibility of the skin loosening over a period of years due to regular waxing, you may wish to explore laser hair removal. This method is not free of side effects, but might be worth considering if you have a lot of hair you want to keep off permanently.


While waxing may be an efficient and effective method of hair removal, it is important to consider all possible side effects in order to make the best choice for your beauty regimen.

Side Effects of Waxing