Skin Lifting from Waxing | The Complete Guide
There's nothing more dreadful than a client getting a wax burn on the face or body during their service with you or your staff. You might not even notice it right away, then the surrounding skin starts to normalize, and there it is, a steaming, red-hot spot that echoes into your very soul. It can be intense because you don't know if the client will get a scar, is prone to pigmentation, or if they’ll ever book with you again.
Whether it’s an eyebrow wax burn, or a Brazilian wax burn, in this article, we'll talk about how to avoid skin lifting from waxing, possible causes like retinol and waxing, and give you some treatment tips as well as ways to keep yourself covered with salon and insurance policies for a complete guide to skin lifting from waxing.
WHAT IS SKIN LIFTING FROM WAXING?
Skin lifting from waxing, also known as a wax burn, is a wound caused by wax grabbing more than you bargained for—the client’s skin. Usually, a wax burn only goes as deep as the top layer of the skin but can leave a client open to bacteria, scarring, and pigmentation.
Wax burns are less common to experience on the legs or back but are more commonly seen as an eyebrow wax burn or Brazilian wax burn symptoms. A wax burn on the skin, skin ripped off from eyebrow waxing, or a Brazilian wax burn can all resemble anywhere from a seriously skinned knee wound to a small abrasion. Sometimes, you and the client won’t even notice that it’s there until it starts to scab over within a day or two.
Depending on the client, and the size of the burn, a little abrasion won’t bother them, but if they’ve gotten some serious road rash, saving face (literally and figuratively) will be ever-so-important.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN LIFTING FROM WAXING?
These are some factors that can cause wax burns on the face or body.
- Using low-quality wax
- Using the wrong wax for your client's skin type
- Waxing when you shouldn’t be
- Applying wax that is too hot onto the skin
- Waxing over the same area more than once
- Retinol and waxing
WAX BURNS FROM USING LOW-QUALITY WAX
When you use low-quality wax, you increase the likelihood of damage to the skin because of questionable melting points, uneven warming, breakage, or the need to go over an area more than once (because the wax didn’t get enough of the hair the first time). Your first line of defense against skin ripped off from eyebrow waxing or causing Brazilian wax burn symptoms is to only use high-quality wax (like Strapil Wax of course)!
USING THE WRONG WAX FOR YOUR CLIENT'S SKIN TYPE
Using the right wax type for your client's skin is something to keep in mind regarding skin lifting from waxing. It's essential to know the skin, and it's various needs to have a safe and successful wax.
If you're working on someone who has sensitive, mature or dry skin and you're waxing their brows or lip, which wax type would you use and how would you use it to ensure an injury-free service?
WAXING WHEN YOU SHOULDN’T BE
Waxing is generally safe for most skin types but not recommended for those with diabetes, varicose veins, rosacea, phlebitis, circulation issues, or skin conditions that cause skin thinning or sensitivity, thereby increasing the risk of infection. Waxing is definitely unwise for people suffering from diseases like lupus, AIDS, or those receiving treatments for cancer.
Use extreme caution when waxing pregnant people, and those on birth control, blood thinners, or hormone replacement pills. DO NOT wax people using Accutane, or other prescription or powerful acne treatments like Differin. If you see inflamed, irritated, or sunburned skin, steer clear. Don’t wax over body piercings, rashes, moles, or warts. Other NO-NOs for waxing include Botox, Retinols (see below), sunburns, or freshly waxed areas.
Make sure that your clients have all of this info before getting onto your spa bed by putting it all on your website and have them sign a waiver saying that they understand these terms before they book. (More on waivers below.)
APPLYING WAX THAT IS TOO HOT ONTO THE SKIN
Whether you're using hard wax vs. soft wax, if the wax is too hot, it can fuse with the top layers of the skin and take those layers with them along with the hairs. To get to the correct temperature, follow your professional wax warmer instructions to the "T" and keep wax to a thick, honey-like consistency. Always, always test your wax before applying it to take hot wax out of the skin-lifting equation.
WAXING OVER THE SAME AREA MORE THAN ONCE
Generally, if the right wax is used properly, and at the correct temperature, you can apply it over the same area more than once on thicker-skinned regions like the legs or back. The trick is to pay attention to what the skin is doing. If the redness is subsiding quickly, and you feel it's chill to come through with another pass, then, use your judgment. Best practices are to not double-pass on sensitive skin, especially on the facial areas to avoid an eyebrow wax burn or a wax burn on the face. It’s also wise not to go over intimate areas more than once either to avoid a Brazilian wax burn.
Definitely do not go over the skin a second time with soft wax, especially on the facial areas. You can use the same non-woven wax strip with removed wax on it to go over the skin multiple times if you feel like the skin is doing alright, but, as always, use your best judgment.
If you see missed hairs, go in with tweezers or use smaller waxing spatulas to avoid overlapping onto previously waxed skin if it's sensitive.
RETINOL AND WAXING
"Retinol" is anything containing a vitamin A derivative (a type of retinoid). That's the thing; some clients might not realize that they're using a potent derivative of vitamin A. They can unknowingly answer "no" on their intake form when asked if they're using a Retinol product, thereby increasing their risk of damages from using retinol and waxing.
Here is a list of retinoids that might cause wax burning if used within a week or so of a waxing service.
- Retin-A micro
- retinol, retinyl palmitate
- Tretinoin (Renova)
Instruct your clients to avoid using retinoids about four to five days before their appointment or have them reschedule. ALWAYS ask your clients if they're using retinoids before a service unless you know for a fact that they aren't and then ask anyway to avoid mixing retinol and waxing.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CLIENT GETS A WAX BURN
When you first see the damage, no matter how it happened, it needs immediate treatment. Give your client a heads-up by using "we" terms until the cause of the burn is fully determined.
"CLIENT NAME, it seems that we've gotten a wax burn. Let's take care of this right now so that it will subside as soon as possible."
If the client doesn't know what a wax burn is, give them the education to answer questions like, how long do wax burns last and how to get rid of wax burns. The answers? Typically an open wound like a wax burn will heal-over within four or five days but could take about a week or two to fully disappear. This doesn’t include potential scarring or pigmentation. Getting rid of a wax burn takes time. It's OK to downplay it when you’re in the moment to limit panic, but it’s important to stress home care education on how to heal ripped skin from waxing.
HOW TO HEAL RIPPED SKIN FROM WAXING
Follow these tips ASAP and have the client continue with these steps for on-going wax burn treatment.
- Cool the skin with water (submerge the area or pour over for five to twenty minutes)
- Cleanse with a gentle cream cleanser free from toxic ingredients or alcohol
- Apply ice or an ice pack covered in a flannel cloth or paper towel to reduce swelling and soothe the pain.
- Apply 100% pure aloe vera gel by dabbing at the area several times a day.
- Apply Neosporin or an antibiotic ointment.
- To avoid infection, bandage the area before the client leaves. If they feel it necessary, at home, they can change the bandage every day.
- Use over-the-counter ibuprofen to ease pain and reduce swelling.
- Avoid wearing makeup over the area.
- Wear sun protection to reduce pigmentation.
DETERMINING THE CAUSE OF A WAX BURN
While you're doing damage control on the skin, you can be navigating damage control with your client. Do the following.
- Take a quick look at your professional wax warmer and note the temperature it's at. Is it at a safe temperature?
- What about the wax itself. Is it best for the client's skin type?
- Did you go over the area one too many times?
- Confirm with the client that they haven't used any retinoids from the list in the last week.
"I know that we already went over this, but there are many different types of retinoids, let's just double-double confirm that you're not using anything that's on this list as they can be in a lot of your everyday products."
WHAT TO DO IF YOU CAUSED A WAX BURN?
In some cases, a client might be too embarrassed to admit that they caused the burn themselves, in others, it was you who caused the burn. With waxing, there are no guarantees that clients won't experience a wax burn or a botched eyebrow at some point in their hair removal life. Yes, they come to you because they trust you, but there is always that one-in-a-million chance that something might not go as planned. This is where your wax salon policy needs to come into play. If an esthie doesn’t follow any of the above advice (or even if they did), or they allowed an inexperienced assistant to take a client unsupervised, a client can file a claim for negligence. They could also forget the whole thing and consider it no big deal. To avoid the former, it’s best to have protection.
WAX SALON INSURANCE POLICIES
Since you never know what can happen, make sure that you have an excellent salon policy that includes a client waiver. First, check the laws in your state to determine what kind of client waivers you can present to your clients upon booking. Work with your representation to come up with a salon waiver form that best represents your business. A client waiver is a form that doesn't hold you liable for certain damages that may occur while visiting your salon.
A good beauty business insurance plan should protect you against negligence claims, emotional trauma, lost wages, or the leaking of sensitive client data. General liability coverage should protect you from property damage claims, bodily injury and associated medical expenses, and slander.
Along with keeping your clients safe and protected with preventative measures and treatment in the case of a wax burn, take any steps necessary to ease any ill will in a way that you feel comfortable. This could include not charging for the appointment or sending a follow-up card, for example. No matter what you think that the skin lifting was a result of, use your best judgment in how you'd like to proceed in a way that aligns with your salon policy and client waiver.
Here is an example of a client waiver form that could be located on your website and required to be signed in order to book.
The undersigned________________________, hereafter referred to as "Client" does at this moment waive and release, indemnify, hold harmless and forever discharge SALON NAME, hereafter referred to as SALON NAME and its agents, employees, officers, directors, affiliates, successors, members, and assigns, of and from any and all claims, demands, debts, contracts, expenses, causes of action, lawsuits, damages, and liabilities, of every kind and nature, whether known or unknown, in law or equity, that I ever had or may have, arising from or in any way related to the services being provided to me by SALON NAME provided that this waiver of liability does not apply to any acts of gross negligence, or intentional, willful or wanton misconduct.
Said services might include, but are not limited to, facial and body waxing, SERVICE NAME, SERVICE NAME, SERVICE NAME…. etc.
By this Waiver, I assume any risk, and take full responsibility and waive any claims of personal injury, death, or damage to personal property associated with such services by SALON NAME, including but not limited to temporary or permanent damage to my skin (hair, or whatever your services cater to), or unsatisfactory results from the said services being provided to me.
This Waiver and Release contains the entire agreement between SALON NAME and myself and supersedes any prior written or oral agreements concerning the subject matter of this Waiver and Release. The provisions of this Waiver and Release may be waived, altered, amended, or repealed, in whole or in part, only upon SALON NAME's prior written consent and myself.
The provision of this Waiver and Release will continue in full force and effect even after the termination of the services being provided to me, whether by agreement, by operation of law, or otherwise.
I have read, understand, and fully agree to the terms of this Waiver and Release. I understand and confirm that by signing this Waiver and Release, I have given up considerable future legal rights. I have signed this Agreement freely, voluntarily, under no duress or threat of duress, without inducement, promise, or guarantee being communicated to me. My signature is proof of my intention to execute a complete and unconditional Waiver and Release of all liability to the full extent of the law.
I am 18 years of age or older and mentally competent to enter into this Waiver and Release.
Sign and date.
You are a total pro. Your goals are to offer exemplary services at all times. You are on the ball and want to go above and beyond for your clients; that's why skin lifting from waxing may never be an issue for you, especially if you're using Starpil Wax according to best practices. But since you always want your clients, yourself, and your businesses to be safe, keep your bases covered, with training for yourself and your staff on what to do for a wax burn, and see about having a salon policy and client waiver in place in the event of skin lifting from waxing.
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