As painful as it can sometimes be, waxing is an ingrained part of our beauty routine. People with excessive hair growth on certain parts of their body can suffer from low self-esteem but with regular waxing, this can be rectified leaving them feeling more confident in their appearance.
Beth Gatonye, an esthetician based in Kigali, says waxing is a form of semi-permanent hair removal which eliminates the hair from the root.
“New hair will not grow back in the previously waxed area for four to six weeks, although some people will start to see regrowth in only a week due to some of it being on a different hair growth cycle,” she says.
With the help of an esthetician, almost any area of the body can be waxed, including eyebrows, face, pubic area called bikini waxing, legs, arms, back, abdomen, knuckles and feet.
Francoise Gahongayire, a dermatologist at King Faisal Hospital, Kigali, explains that there are many types of waxing suitable for removing unwanted hair, including strip waxing, also known as soft wax, which is accomplished by spreading a wax thinly over the skin and strip-less wax, also referred to as hard wax, which is applied somewhat thickly and with no cloth or paper strips.
“Waxing on sensitive body parts such as bikini waxing and on the abdomen is best performed by an expert such as a licensed esthetician to avoid complications such as skin irritation,” he says.
Health risks involved
Because hair on our different body parts keeps growing, Gahongayire notes that waxing is a very risky and continuous procedure that must be done with ultimate care.
“This is why estheticians often orient clients to seek medical attention in case they detect sensitive skin,” she says.
Gatonye also says anyone taking antihistamine drugs, blood thinning drugs, thyroid medicines and acne drugs are more prone to skin irritations, and ‘should avoid it as it can lead to excess bleeding.’
“A qualified esthetician will also ensure that what they are using is very clean and sterilised and will do some consultation before starting the procedure. That way you cannot risk your health,” she says.
Gatonye notes that because waxing is a form of semi-permanent hair removal, one ought to prepare well before going for it.
Among the precautions is having the right knowledge before and after waxing by visiting a qualified esthetician, who then advises on the right procedure and time for waxing.
“Waxing cannot be done anytime. First, get your skin exfoliated one week before it’s done and the hair should also be half an inch long. Otherwise, if it’s longer it can be very painful,” she says.
Gatonye also advises those ready for waxing to avoid exposing their skin to harsh environments, “as the skin can be very sensitive.” Also, diabetic people should contact a doctor before going for body waxing, as their skin tends to be very delicate.
“It’s not good to wax within areas with varicose veins, broken skin or wounds until they are completely healed. The esthetician should apply aloe vera gel to sooth the skin before waxing and the talcum powder will help the skin to stay dry, since it also acts as a barrier to skin infections,” she advises.
Because we all have different skin types, some may have sensitive skins which can turn red and irritated. Gatonye, therefore, says estheticians should use natural wax.
Trying it at home
Since waxing at home requires a mere razor blade, scissors or better still a waxing kit, it can be tempting for one to carry out the procedure to beat costs.
It can be a very risky procedure although Gahongayire acknowledges that once all precautions are done, it is a safe option. However, only insensitive body parts that do not react to blade exposure or harsh environments, should be considered while trying the procedure at home, she says.
Gahongayire advises such people, to use scissors instead of the preferred strip waxing or blade, as it is less painful and safer.
“Some people’s skin may be sensitive to bacteria, infections, or even allergic reactions. If one cannot afford the laser hair removal that is a safer method to completely destroy the hairs, then using scissors would be a better option since there isn’t any contact on the skin,” she says.
Other tips on having a safe body waxing at home include exfoliating, skin moisturising, ensuring moderate temperature and keeping the skin hydrated all the time, by taking in lots of fluids, to prevent the skin from easily drying and or breaking.
“Hot water or liquids touching the waxed areas should be avoided as well as massages with oil, Jacuzzis, sauna, hot water baths after the procedure has been carried out as this tends to make the skin and waxed area red, leading to rashes sometimes,” she adds.