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Bikini Wax Safety

Facial Waxing Can Be Scarring — Literally

There's a lot to snicker about in this local-news report on the dangers of waxing. The sound effects and video treatments are ubercheesy, and the alarmist nature of the reporting is a bit much. But still, it's worth watching, if only to be reminded of the potential hazards of sketchy waxing places.

A woman named Shannon Boruch went to a strip-mall salon to have her eyebrows waxed; the next day, she woke up to find her face swollen. Turns out, she had an abscess over her left eye. Doctors drained it, but the infection spread. Eventually, doctors were able to treat the infection, but Boruch retains a small scar from the incident. (To be fair, a doctor says that the bacteria could have come from anywhere, and the infection may or may not have been a result of the waxing.)

So what should you look for if you're going to get waxed? Here are three of my tips:

  • Make sure the esthetician is licensed. Should be a no-brainer, but don't let someone near your skin if she isn't properly trained and licensed.
  • Don't double dip the stick. Each Popsicle stick should be dipped into the wax only once, then disposed of. Otherwise, your germs mix in with everyone else's in a bacteria-laden pool of hot wax. Not good.
  • Do judge a book by its cover. If a salon looks skeevy or doesn't smell right, keep on walking.

Any other suggestions on assessing a salon or spa's safety levels?


SKC-Sparkle SKC-Sparkle 8 years
Too scary for me...
ckeller825 ckeller825 8 years
this is why i do my own waxings!!!!!
irishgrlk irishgrlk 8 years
I saw someone post the Jersey ban article yesterday, and she left a comment to "BYOW." Has anyone ever done this?? I want to get my bikini waxed, but I've always been really nervous about it, and now this article has me thinking.
a_mama a_mama 8 years
This is why I buy Zip wax from drugstore dot com, and do all my own waxing.
jtotheessie jtotheessie 8 years
and of course. the first comment i actually go to post on here, i spell something wrong. :) maybe i should stick to waxing and makeup, haha.
jtotheessie jtotheessie 8 years
awesome post. I'm a licensed Esthetician in IL and double dipping is a HUGE no-no. I actually work at a Benefit Brow Bar, we are seriously really anal about our hygienic standards- we have to be! the state board is not exactly something friendly to deal with, i'd imagine. tips- - if the person who is waxing you sanitizes their hands before touching you or any implements- this is a good sign. - if you lay down, and have a headband placed in with a bobby pin- watch them. does it go in their mouth at all while they're holding the headband? bad sign. i've seen it happen at a few spas. trust me. -the questionnaire/consent form at the beginning is VERY important. if they're not asking you- chances are they don't care enough about how your brows look- because they don't care to know if they'll take your skin off! - are they making sure to lay out everything they need before hand? and not using their hand to go into a jar to get something out with the hand that touched you? if you touch someone's skin or the used muslin strip they used to to remove your wax- and THEN going into another container for more stripes...sticks....etc. without sanitizing- they are cross-contaminating. and chances are, they did it with the client before you. with waxing, being on the esthetician side of it all- you really do get what you pay for. enough of my horror stories, haha :)
tglynn tglynn 8 years
The only tip I have is to NEVER wax anything while taking Accutane, or similar drugs. Oral drugs are just as important as topical treatments you use for your face. It says this on the prescription, but they dry out your skin, and waxing will rip the top layers of your skin off. I made the mistake of waxing my eyebrows while on it- luckily I don't have any scars.
sofi sofi 8 years
Great point, Jabbadoo. A good aesthetician should ask about what you use on your face. I haven't waxed for almost a year and do my own maintenance because of products I use. Some even suggest stopping their use for longer before waxing. Just thinking of double dipping into wax just creeps me out now.
Jabbadoo Jabbadoo 8 years
Bella, this is a good post but you forgot the most obvious one that can cause scarring. If you use products with vit A or retin A. I was using an eye cream with ACE vitamins and I didn't know that it thins your skin... had my brows done and it stung more than usual, and after I left it was clear that I'd been burned. I had scars for about 3 years. Normally the ethestician asks you, or it's on the form that you sign the first time you go to a place. I always go to spas and very clean places, but if they don't ask you about EVERYTHING you use on your skin, you should be suspect. The woman who does my waxing and facials always has me stop the retin-a and metrogel a full week before getting a service.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
I told my aunt that she should be careful about getting her bikini area waxed b/c I watched on Tyra that you can catch stuff from double dipping the stick. My aunt thought the heat of the wax killed all germs.
pinkflake2 pinkflake2 8 years
Soulpass, does your waxer separate the wax? Does she use different bowls of wax for each client? If so, I don't know if it'd matter if she uses the same one for your whole wax right??
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I don't need to do this thank God.
emalove emalove 8 years
I've never had my brows waxed and don't plan on it ever. I have pretty nice ones, and they're low-maintenance, thank God. Waxing scares me.
soul-bypass soul-bypass 8 years
Ummm, I just realized the salon that I go to get my eyebrows wax the lady uses the same stick from beginning to end. Meaning she dips the stick more than once, let alone twice...and I never gave it a second thought, I was just content with the fact she used a fresh piece of cloth every time...oh no...
soapbox soapbox 8 years
I thread my own brows because of this reason. I think thats the best way to go, doing your own, wether its threading/waxing/plucking.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Benefit Cosmetics Berkeley = great for waxing
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Even at some reputable placed you can get scaring or a negative reaction as far as the skin on the face is concerned so I say go with threading! Benefit Cosmetics in Berkeley is a great place LOVE THEM!!!
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
Oh, plus most people that "live" on the jersey shore are out of towners anyway... from non-shore-esq areas... so I guess the ban won't be too bad for them...
le-romantique le-romantique 8 years
I'm from NJ and heard about the ban a week ago or so... its ridiculous... people are just going to go out of state to get it done... or you can always be traditional and shave...
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i was just reading yesterday how they are thinking about putting a ban in place in NJ for brazilian waxing because people have gotten infections or scarring. i think that the first thing to always do is check out the place that you're going. i find that the places that have a waiting list are good since a LOT of people obviously trust it and go back...and make sure the place is clean. if i don't like the look of a place, then i don't go. i know a lot of nail salons have waxing there, and i just don't feel right about that - if it's a full service salon, then it's another thing, but just a nail salon - it just doesn't feel right.
colleenb colleenb 8 years
"bacteria-laden pool of hot wax." ha! that may the grossest imagery I've read in some time.
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