Nair is a depilatory cream that can be used at home to remove unwanted hair. Unlike waxing or sugaring, which remove hair from the root, depilatory creams use chemicals to dissolve hair. You can then easily wipe it away.

These chemicals dissolve only the hair shaft, which is the part that pokes out from the skin; the root under the skin remains intact. Other popular depilatory hair removal creams include Veet, Sally Hansen Cream Hair Remover Kit, and Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo.

Because depilatory creams burn the hair, they can also burn the skin, especially if your skin is sensitive. This article will cover what causes depilatory burns and how to treat depilatory burns on your skin.

Nair and other depilatory creams can burn your skin, even if you use them as intended. The active ingredients in Nair are chemicals like calcium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. These chemicals cause the hair shaft to swell so the chemicals can enter and break down the hair. However, these chemicals may also burn or irritate the skin.

While certain brands are FDA-approved, all depilatory creams come with strong warnings because the chemicals are so strong and can cause serious burns or reactions.

The FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors says it has received reports of “burns, blisters, stinging, itchy rashes, and skin peeling associated with depilatories and other types of cosmetic hair removers.” You may notice burning or redness while using the product, and in some cases, it can take a few days for redness, rawness, or stinging to show up.

There are remedies and over-the-counter methods to treat depilatory burns at home.

Home treatments for depilatory burns

  • Flush the chemicals off your skin by rinsing with cool water. Make sure you thoroughly remove any product from your skin and clothes before you begin treatment.
  • Because Nair is acidic, it can help to use an alkaline cleanser, which may neutralize the burn.
  • Using hydrocortisone cream, a topical steroid, can help stop some of the inflammation associated with chemical burns.
  • Cover the burn in Neosporin and then bandage it or wrap with gauze.
  • If the burn is still stinging, you can try using a cold compress to relieve the burning sensations.
  • An over-the-counter pain reliever can help you manage discomfort.
  • Keep the burn moist with petroleum jelly.

Medical treatments

If your burn persists, oozes, or starts feeling worse, it’s important to seek medical attention. Medical treatments for depilatory burns may include:

  • antibiotics
  • anti-itch medications
  • debridement (cleaning or removing dirt and dead tissue)
  • intravenous (IV) fluids, which can help with healing

See a doctor if your burn appears to be getting worse. If your blisters start to ooze pus or turn yellow, you should see a doctor immediately as this could be a sign of a more serious infection.

Nair can be used on the legs, the lower half of the face, and the bikini or pubic area (avoiding direct contact with the genital area). If you are going to use Nair and other depilatories instead of waxing, shaving, or laser hair removal, then it’s essential to take the following safety precautions:

  • Perform a patch test on a small area of your leg or arm.
  • If it’s your first time using Nair, leave it on for less time than the bottle recommends. Two to three minutes is a good place to start.
  • Have a wet, cold washcloth on hand in case you start to feel burning.
  • Because Nair is acidic, an alkaline lotion can serve to neutralize the burn.
  • Hydrocortisone and petroleum jelly can also help soothe a burn.

Is Nair safe for your face?

Nair is generally considered safe for use on the lower half of your face, including the chin, cheeks, or mustache line. If you have sensitive skin, it’s best not to use Nair on your face. There are other, safer methods for facial hair removal.

If you’re using Nair around your mouth, take extra precaution to make sure none gets into your mouth, as the chemicals can be dangerous to ingest. Never use Nair near your eyes, so avoid using it on your eyebrows.

Is Nair safe for the groin?

You can use Nair on your groin or bikini line area on the thigh (there is a type of Nair specifically for this purpose). However, do not use Nair on your genitals or anus.

Nair is a brand of depilatory cream used at home to remove unwanted hair from the face, legs, or bikini line. Depilatory creams are made of strong chemicals that can cause chemical burns, even when following the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you feel burning or stinging when using Nair, rinse the cream off immediately. If you still have redness or burning, rinse your body thoroughly, then apply a healing ointment like Neosporin.

You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers to help lessen inflammation and burning. If your burn appears to be getting worse, or it starts to turn yellow, blister, or ooze, contact a doctor immediately, as this can be a sign of a more serious infection.