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What is a Histamine Reaction After Waxing?

What is a Histamine Reaction After Waxing?

A client having any kind of histamine reaction after waxing isn’t something any esthetician wants to see. However, it can happen to anyone - even to clients who try to be the most educated about their skin and possible allergens they might have. 

As a professional, it’s part of your job to know how to spot, treat, care for, and help prevent histamine reactions from waxing. It can be tricky, but don’t worry - we’ll be discussing all of that plus the proper protocol to follow if your clients have a histamine allergic reaction on the face or body. 

Table of Contents

What is Histamine? 

Histamine is a compound of the immune and neurological systems and is found in cells throughout the body. Histamines induce swelling and produce a red color on the skin. 

When the skin is affected by trauma (in our case, waxing is a superficial trauma), allergies, or infection, histamines boost blood flow to the sensitive area, which creates inflammation in the skin. 

Having something be inflamed for a minute or two is no big deal, but a strong histamine reaction after waxing needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. 

what is histamine?

What is a Histamine Reaction to Waxing? 

Histamine reaction symptoms after waxing can look different for everyone. Since waxing (especially for first-timers) can shock the hair follicle, it may cause a histamine reaction. There are several types of histamine reactions. A histamine reaction to waxing could materialize as the following:

  • Prolonged redness after waxing 
  • Hives
  • Sneezing (very common for eyebrow and facial waxing)
  • Red bumps after waxing

READ: 5 Tips for How to Wax Sensitive Skin

How Long Does a Histamine Reaction Last?

Histamine reaction symptoms like redness, hives, or blotchy red spots after waxing are par for the course when it comes to waxing skin, so a normal reaction to waxing can sometimes be mistaken as a histamine reaction. 

However, wait a little bit before thinking that a histamine reaction might be taking place. 

Skin can start to soothe as soon as you apply beneficial post-wax care products. But generally, skin sensitivities, spots, or redness after waxing should subside in between 24 to 48 hours.

How to Handle a Histamine Reaction on the Body

If the histamine reaction is particularly strong, recommend anti-histamines like Benadryl or hydrocortisone cream to your clients to soothe and quell the reaction. 

If your clients want something more natural, lavender and calendula essential oils contain anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce redness and sensitivity. 

We recommend using either Original Post-Wax Lotion for common histamine symptoms after waxing or Starsoft Post-Wax Lotion or Calendula Post-Wax Care Mousse for more sensitive skin types.


These products are specially formulated to speed up skin’s PH level recovery after waxing.

READ MORE: 7 Ways to Prevent and Treat Ingrown Hairs

What’s the Difference Between a Histamine Reaction and an Allergic Reaction?

histamine vs bacterial reaction

As mentioned above, common histamine reaction symptoms can be a minor irritation compared to a histamine allergic reaction or a bacterial one. When experiencing a bacterial or allergic reaction to waxing, your client may experience sensitivity, itchiness, hives or welts, and have raised white, puss-filled bumps.

Post-wax acne can be commonplace, especially when the client doesn’t follow proper post-wax care procedures. Still, if the acne is cystic or redness lasts longer than a couple of days, these are anything but run-of-the-mill histamine reaction symptoms.

It’s up to the client if they wish to seek further medical attention or stop waxing altogether. 

How to Treat an Allergic Reaction to Waxing

Since there are varying degrees of histamine reactions, the level of discomfort caused by waxing vs. hair removal's benefits is up to the client. If a client has an allergic reaction to eyebrow wax or leg wax, for example, follow treatments like Benadryl and recommend a cold compress.

Apply cooling cucumber and stay away from skincare until the reaction subsides. If the allergic reaction contains blisters, the client should seek medical care.

If you know that a client has a history of intense allergic reactions from hair removal, it wouldn’t be prudent to keep seeing them. 

READ MORE: How to Prevent Pimples After Waxing

How to Prevent a Histamine Reaction

When learning how to stop a histamine reaction, start at the beginning. Your awareness of when the skin is particularly dry or sensitive before waxing is essential.

Does the client’s skin turn red quickly when you’re just touching them? Does hair feel brittle? Both dryness and redness factors are indicators that this person has skin sensitivities.

Use the best pre and post-wax care according to their skin type. Start with a post-wax care oil before using a pre-cleansing gel to soften hair and revive dry skin

Pre & Post Waxing Care

Always discuss these things and using the best pre and post-waxing care to help relieve an allergic reaction to waxing with your clients is very important.

READ: Post-Wax Care: Tips & Best Practices 

10% off any wax OR pre and post wax care

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How to Treat a Histamine Reaction at Home 

Starpil waxes are formulated with the highest ingredients to be gentle on the skin and cause minimal redness and irritation. 

In addition to using the waxing products with the right ingredients, a good way to better avoid hives or a histamine reaction to waxing before the waxing service itself is through directing the client to practice proper at-home skincare routines, and for you to bolster skin’s support as much as possible when the client is in your care.

Final Thoughts

A skin reaction after waxing is normal! At the end of the day, waxing means pulling a pretty good amount of hair from the root all at once, often multiple times during a service. Skin has every right to protest and protect itself with these responses!

It’s important to share this knowledge with all of your clients, especially those with sensitive skin. If they can understand what’s going on with their skin and practice the best post-wax care, they can trust that they are in good hands and that it wasn’t your method or wax itself that caused the issue. 

The next day everything should be back to normal! 

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