At-home waxing is an appealing option for people who want to remove hair from their legs, underarms, bikini line, or face quickly and privately.
Waxing, unlike shaving or depilatory creams, removes hair from the root. It takes longer to grow back and is a more permanent solution, though the hair will eventually grow back.
Waxing can be painful, but it can be dangerous because of the potential to burn yourself. This usually happens when the wax is microwaved, and the heat isn’t evenly distributed.
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We’ll talk about what to do if you get an at-home wax burn and what steps you can take to prevent burns from happening in the first place.
If you get a wax burn, there are a few things you can do to help the healing process begin:
- Immediately run the burn under cool water for 20 minutes.
- Rinse the area with mild soap, and if it’s still painful, apply a cold compress to the area. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin.
- Follow up with an antibacterial ointment like Neosporin or Bacitracin, and cover the burn with an adhesive bandage or gauze.
- Apply aloe vera, which can ease burns and help reduce the sensation or burning. Studies show that it can help heal minor burns.
- If you don’t have aloe vera, honey also may help with burns.
- Continue to apply antibiotic ointment as the burn heals.
- Take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like Tylenol.
- If your burn is oozing or doesn’t seem to be healing, call your doctor.
Your burn may heal more quickly if you take immediate action. Typically, a first or second degree burn will take anywhere from 2 and 3 weeks to heal.
It’s helpful to continue applying ointment and bandage a burn with gauze as it heals.
Avoid picking a scab off of a burn, which will only delay the healing process and could make scarring worse. Keep the burn covered, especially when you’re in the sun.
Don’t use ice or oil products on the burn — even coconut oil — as these can make the burn worse.
The good news is that there are ways to prep your skin for at-home waxing that may reduce your risk of getting a burn.
Microwaved wax gets very hot, and it can heat unevenly. This may mean that the top still looks solid while the wax is smoldering inside.
You can place the wax container on a microwave-safe plate and use an oven mitt to remove it, so you avoid touching it directly.
Hard wax may be slightly safer, because it doesn’t get as hot as soft wax, which you use with strips to pull off the hair.
It’s a good idea to do a small test on an area with thicker skin, like the thigh or arm, so you can gauge how hot the wax is before applying it all over.
Avoid waxing at all if you:
- have a sunburn
- have a wound
- have been you using retinoids or chemical peels on your face
If you’re unsure about waxing at home, it’s always a good idea to have the treatment done at a trusted spa or salon. Leave it to the pros if the area you’re trying to wax is hard to reach by yourself.
Eyebrows should also be done by professionals, because they’re so close to the eyes.
You can wax your bikini line at home, but avoid doing a full Brazilian wax yourself, as burns can be very damaging. One
Many burns will heal on their own with time and proper aftercare, but see a doctor if any of the following occurs:
- Oozing, yellow pus appears from the burn.
- You have continued pain, redness, and irritation.
- The burn isn’t healing after 2 weeks.
- You experience nausea, headache, or vomiting.
Many people like the ease and privacy of waxing at home, but it can be dangerous. Wax, especially the kind that needs to be microwaved, gets extremely hot and can often result in burns, particularly on the hands.
If you do get burned, run the burn under cool water for at least 20 minutes, then follow up with an antibiotic ointment and a bandage.
Try not to pick at the scab as it heals, and if you notice that it’s not healing or the burn is oozing, it’s time to see a doctor.
To prevent burns from happening in the first place, use oven mitts to pull the wax out of the microwave, and test it on a small patch of skin before applying it liberally.