More Than Skin Deep: Potential Dangers of Bikini Waxing

There are several minor dangers of bikini waxing, although none of great severe potential. These minor aftereffects are usually secondary to inflammation or allergic reactions. The inflammation can be from the mechanical aspect of the waxing related to the stripping and removal of the hot wax or they can actually be an allergic reaction to one of the components of the wax itself. Other than discomfort, those are the two major potential dangers noted in this setting.

What do you do when the skin is ultra-sensitive? Well, if the skin is sensitive it is a good idea to put a very bland lubricating lotion like Eucerin, Aveeno or Lubriderm on the skin after waxing, or an over-the-counter topical steroid cream like 1% hydracortisone. It may also be helpful to use cold soymilk compresses by taking some cold soymilk and applying it on piece of sheeting and then holding in the area for about 10-to-15 minutes in order to decrease inflammation.

I often get called by patients about how to treat ingrown hairs. Ingrown hairs are a difficult but common problem particularly in dark skin individuals such as African-Americans. They may be associated with low-grade inflammation or infection secondary to the ingrowing nature of the hair. The best way to treat ingrown hairs is by good hair removal practices. Laser hair removal has been shown to decrease the number and severity of ingrown hairs. If ingrown hairs do occur, removal of these hairs by a trained dermatologist and the utilization of topical steroid lotions, topical antibiotic lotions or gentle preparations containing sulfa or salicylic acid may be beneficial.

People want to be assured that waxing is both safe and hygienic. Waxing is hygienic and generally safe procedure. It is hygienic because the wax is heated to a point where bacteria are unable to grow or survive, so infection is extremely rare from the waxing process itself.

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What you the consumer needs to know is that waxing is safe, however hair can be removed by other methods such as the application of depilatory lotions and electrolysis. By far, though, the most effective means of hair removal is utilizing laser technologies. Laser technologies are now available in the doctor's office or at home. Three new technologies that can be used at home include the No!No!, which is a heating device that removes the growing zones of hair, the Silk'naC/, a broad-spectrum light source, and the Tria, a diode laser. Multiple treatments are necessary, but usually after several months one can approach the results that are noted by using lasers in the doctor's office.

Laser hair removal is the most effective means of hair removal. In the doctor's office setting, it has been shown in multiple studies that after an average of 3-5 treatment sessions, 50-70% long-term hair removal efficiency. Further treatments can lead to still greater, more beneficial long-term effects. It is extremely safe with new, more advanced technologies and remains the gold standard for removal of unwanted hair and correction of those individuals who have ingrown hairs - often a true but correctable nuisance. Laser hair removal can be used for all hair colors and skin types and is entirely painless.

Dr. Neil Sadick is one of the most renowned dermatologists and researchers whose multiple discoveries have strongly influenced and transformed the future of dermatology. He is a Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College and President of the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation. Dr. Sadick is author, or co-author, of more than 500 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has contributed more than 75 chapters of medical books. Read more at