Before you book your next
waxing appointment, consider this: There’s a natural, less painful,
healthier alternative that’s popping up all over – sugaring.
What is sugaring?
Sugaring is a hair-removal technique that relies on a paste
traditionally made from lemon, sugar, and water, though some spas add honey and
essential oils as well. “Patients are increasingly attracted to clean beauty
and clean skincare routines, so it’s a great option for those seeking
more natural products,” says Dr Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist in New York
City. Typical wax formulas have resins and often preservatives, which, though
not labelled unsafe, can irritate those with sensitive skin (and not be great
for the environment).
But what makes sugaring stand out even more is the fact that it’s
significantly gentler on skin. “Regular wax needs to be very hot to stick to
hair, then dries into a solid when it cools,” says Bowe. You have the risk of a
thermal burn – a pretty common side effect, especially with less-than-stellar aestheticians.
While thermal burns are usually just a temporary problem (red and
hot, like a sunburn), the heat can penetrate into the deeper layers of the
skin, which could leave you with scarring or discolouration.
Sugar wax, on the other hand, is more like a dough. All the
mixture needs is a little warmth to make it pliable, but no heat, since its
stickiness isn’t temperature-dependent. That means no risk of a thermal burn.
Plus, “typical wax attaches very aggressively to the top layers of
skin, so when it pulls out hair, it can pull out living layers of skin too,”
says Bowe. Sugaring supposedly adheres only to the dead layer of skin cells and
the hair shaft, reducing the ouch factor even more. Your waxer may have to go
over the same area a few times, but because it’s so much gentler, it shouldn’t
hurt or cause irritation.
Read more: 9 things your waxer wants you to know, but will never tell you
So…are there any risks at all?
When skin is involved, there’s always reason to be cautious. “You
could still contract an infection by bacterial contamination,” says Bowe, “so
always make sure your aesthetician prepares a new paste for you.”
Also keep in mind that lemon juice, one of the paste’s main
ingredients, is extremely acidic, and if used in an improper ratio, it could
potentially cause a chemical burn. That’s rather unlikely, but still, the acid
can be damaging to the skin barrier, so consider skipping it for your Brazilian.
Added essential oils can also be irritating to some, so “ask the salon for a
sample so you can test a patch at home”, Bowe suggests.
And don’t forget: You’re still ripping out hair, so make sure you
have at least rice-length growth, don’t exfoliate beforehand (no retinols),
and wear loose-fitting clothing after your wax so your skin can breathe.
Ready to get sugared?
Go for it! Find a salon via a quick Google – reviews are your best
friend when it comes to the beauty trend. Prepare to actually be excited about
was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za
Image credit: iStock