Waxing Precautions and Warnings

What You Should Know Before Getting Waxed

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. This method is extremely exfoliating to skin and may leave the wrong kind of hair removal mark.

If you're ever unsure about getting waxed for any reason, always do a patch test first. This is only a reference guide, talk to your doctor or technician if you have any concerns or questions.

When to Be Cautious

These may not be deal-breakers but you do want to take some medical advice, stay away from specific areas or not remove hair for a certain amount of time.

  • You're pregnant, take birth control, hormone replacement or antibiotics. Your skin may be more sensitive, 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 in people with Rosacea and smokers. If the capillaries are very red, stay away from removing hair in that area.
  • You take blood thinners, have diabetes, phlebitis or want post-cancer hair growth in the side-burn area removed. These all relate to medical conditions, so first get your doctor's approval first.
  • 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. It's recommended to stop using these products in the area getting waxed for at least three days before, and three to four days after the hair has been removed. (Depending on the strength of the product and the type of skin you have the safe wax wait 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 the skin to be extra sensitive to waxing because they can cause water retention, and leave skin more red or inflamed than usual. Give yourself a couple hours after drinking a large amount of coffee or alcohol before getting waxed. 
  • Real or fake sun exposed. If you have been in direct sunlight for a long period of time or went to a tanning bed within the last 24 hours. Wait at least a day or two to get hair removed, or longer until your skin has healed if you got burned.

When Not to Get Waxed

These are often called waxing contraindications when it could be harmful to you to use this hair removal method.

  • 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.

Areas Not to Wax

  • Irritated, inflamed, cut, or sunburned skin.
  • Anywhere you're using Retin-A.
  • 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 in the last seven days.
  • 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.

Other Ways to Remove Hair

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 safer in your circumstance.

Keep in mind that even if you're a candidate, other issues like ingrown hairs, pain, bumps, bruising are other possible side effects.