The stratum corneum needs water to naturally slough off the old cells and replace them with new skin cells. If the skin is dehydrated and dry, the desquamation process of the stratum corneum slows down and won’t be fully completed, making the skin scaly. Wax sticks to the scaly skin layers much tighter, and removing it will remove a much thicker layer of the skin and make waxing more painful. You can easily see the patchy redness and irritation on dry skin after waxing.
Drinking water and taking a bath, or at least a shower, the morning before waxing will help to rehydrate the skin. Using non-greasy hydrating moisturizer not only helps to hydrate the skin, but also moisturizes the hairs and makes them smooth and more flexible. Dry hair is fragile and much easier to snap.
The most-known recommendation for a less painful and more comfortable waxing is exfoliating the skin. Exfoliation means removing the skin’s stratum corneum—the very superficial layer of the skin. By removing the superficial layers, the skin becomes smoother and shinier, and the wax adheres much looser to it. The looser the wax adheres to the skin, the less pain and irritation.
The other effect of exfoliation is opening the ostium (opening) of the follicles and removing the hair. Opening the ostium of the follicles through chemical exfoliation is better and easier than physical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation penetrates much deeper into the hair follicle and thus dissolves a much deeper layer inside the follicles, consequently giving less resistance against hair removal.
You might suggest your client use a loofah, exfoliating gloves, or any other exfoliating scrub one or two days before waxing. Chemical exfoliation should be done at least a couple days before waxing or according to its instructions.
Making the skin taught, or stretching the skin, while you are waxing makes for an easier and less painful process, and also helps reduce post-wax complications, like bruising.
In most cases, the wax sticks to the skin, especially soft wax. Removing the wax while it is stuck to the skin will detach the skin layers from their underlying support tissues and very tiny blood vessels associated with it. Blood moves out of broken blood vessels in between the cells and turns into bruising.
Older clients have thinner skin and more fragile blood vessels, making them more prone to bruising and other complications of waxing. For those groups of clients, stretching the skin is even more important.
With any waxing treatment, some small vessels break microscopically anyway and are not noticeable in most cases, but if there is a blood disorder, like hemophilia, or the client is taking blood thinners, like aspirin or heparin, the blood may not easily clot, leading to a higher chance of bruising and complications.
If your client has any medical condition or is taking medication, you must have written permission from a doctor to do the service. But even with a written doctor’s permission, you should not treat this client in the same way as other customers. You need to use your best judgment and treat the client accordingly. For instance, for someone who is on blood thinners, you may need to consider the following precaution: use smaller patches of wax so you can hold the skin, make the skin taut in all areas of the body, use the type of wax that doesn’t stick to the skin, like hard wax, or suggest sugaring instead of waxing.
The areas of the skin that have less or looser underlying supports and cushion, like eyebrows, testes, and labia, over tendons and joints are more prone to pain and complications.
Stretching the skin on loose skin areas like the labia, tastes, penis, and eyebrows not only prevents bruising and other complications, but also distracts the client from the waxing treatment, especially if it is done by the clients. It is always a good idea to involve your client in the treatment process.