Folliculitis is a form of skin irritation characterized by tender red spots on the skin that originate from the hair follicle. It results when bacteria enter the hair follicle and becomes infected, creating a red spot or pustule on the skin. Folliculitis can occur on any area of the body, but it is most common on the more sensitive areas, such as the chest, back, and bikini area. Although folliculitis is not completely avoidable, there are important tips to consider to help reduce the chances of it occurring.
Direction of Application and Removal of Wax
It is important to observe the direction that the wax needs to be applied and pulled off the skin. Strip wax is applied with the hair growth directly on the skin. The strip is, then, pressed firmly on the wax and removed against the growth of the hair. Hot waxes are first applied against the hair growth to encapsulate all of the hair and then the wax is smoothed against the skin by using the spatula to redirect the hair to be lying back down in its normal growing direction. Similarly to strip wax, the hot wax is then pulled and removed against the direction of hair growth, pulling the hair from its root. It is important that the hair is removed directly against the hair growth and not sideways, as this form of removal can cause irritation. If the hair is pulled out sideways, it can cause the hair to dig into the side of hair follicle and scratch the follicle, resulting in follicle irritation. Another side effect of pulling the hair out sideways is that the hair can break while being pulled out, creating irritation with the follicle and causing ingrown hairs or folliculitis.
Cleansing Prior To and After Waxing
Using a cleanser with antiseptic properties prior to waxing will help to ensure that the skin is clear of any debris or bacteria that may be present on the surface of the skin. When waxing is performed, the hair follicles are opened, which can allow any bacteria present on the skin to enter and result in an infection (folliculitis). Additionally, it is recommended to cleanse the area that has been waxed with the cleanser to help close the hair follicle and further reduce the chances for bacteria to enter.
Educating clients on the importance of using the correct after care products will help to improve their overall waxing experience and minimize the chances that they will have any side effects, such as irritation, redness, ingrown hairs, or folliculitis. Products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid will help to reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs. Tea tree is a highly effective ingredient due to its antibacterial qualities that aid in decreasing chances of infection. It also has a soothing effect on the skin when applied directly after waxing and reduces redness.
Treatment of Folliculitis
If a client does experience redness and tender spots after waxing, there are a few things to recommend that can help minimize the longevity and severity of the bumps. Applying a cold compress immediately after waxing will help reduce redness and soothe the skin. Additionally, recommending retail products that are targeted at reducing ingrown hairs and encouraging clients to routinely exfoliate between treatments will further reduce chances of folliculitis developing after waxing.
Educating clients on folliculitis will allow them to be more aware of treatment options in the instance irritation does occur. Although it is rare, it is important to be aware of the possibility of it occurring and to continue to stress the significance of proper homecare.
Lindsay Miller is the President of LYCON Wax North America. Having first discovered LYCON wax in the UK 10 years ago, she has dedicated her time to growing the brand across North America including introducing LYCON to Canada. Training and product quality are extremely important to Lindsay and she prides herself on building a strong team around her that can offer the best customer experience possible. LYCON continues to be a market leader in hair removal wax and is used in top spas and salons around the world.
Written by Lindsay Miller, president of LYCON Wax North America
Featured in Dermascope Magazine