Lilliane Caron discusses hyperpigmentation and why it’s an avoidable and unacceptable side effect of waxing.
You may have read that waxing can cause darkening and darker skin patches called hyperpigmentation. The facts are, with superior product and expert technique, waxing won’t cause hyperpigmentation at all. Products or packages on offer that include serums claiming to reduce hyperpigmentation after waxing are essentially degrading to the wax industry. Skin damage due to waxing is unacceptable. A client shouldn’t leave a wax treatment feeling anything less than amazing, let alone loaded up with after-care products for an avoidable condition. Hyperpigmentation can occur after skin lifting, burning, irritation and bruising, all of which are completely unacceptable during the waxing process. Promoting a product/cure to treat an avoidable occurrence is simply lowering industry standards and that’s just not good enough for clients or our salons.
Hyperpigmentation occurs when excess melanin forms deposits under the lower layer of the epidermis and darker patches begin to appear. There are two types of hyperpigmentation, Passive Pigmentationand Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH).
Passive Pigmentation occurs when an internal imbalance stimulates our melanin producing hormones and generally occurs in women around times of hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, contraceptive medication, and menopause.
Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, is the result of skin trauma. When our skin is in distress, our melanocyte cell is stimulated to send melanin to the skin’s surface (between the dermis and the epidermis). Where waxing is concerned, the preventable trauma associated with hyperpigmentation occurs when the skin layers have been damaged due to lifting, burning, irritation and subsequent bruising. The occurrence of ingrown hair can be lessened during waxing when using the correct techniques. The scarring and darkening of the skin due to an infected ingrown is similar to acne scarring and can occur when the hair diverts while growing back through the surface of the skin.
Our products are best sellers because they are trusted to deliver a smooth and efficient Brazilian waxing treatment, without any side effects. Our kits offer every in-treatment product required delivering the entire service from pre-waxing hygiene, to post wax treatment and even room hygiene once the client has left the treatment. We’ve never considered wholesaling or retailing unnecessary after-care products because our waxes and pre & post products are superior and we care about your salon’s bottom line.
But it’s not just inferior products that are damaging the industry. Improper technique, speed waxing, 7 minute Brazilians, and the like are all grounds for skin trauma and un-happy clients. My article The Truth About The 7 Minute Brazilian goes into more detail about the importance of looking after our clients and taking the time to make sure we use gentle techniques.
Again, hyperpigmentation is an avoidable side effect so let’s talk about prevention…
Prevention is better than a cure
• Conducting a thorough skin analysis is imperative to getting to know your client’s requirements. Observations to consider include skin tone (darker tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation upon damage), the client’s age and any medications he/she may be using, as well as topical skin care products and ingredients. Each of these factors can determine skin health and elasticity and what wax treatments are most suitable. For all skin types, when waxing sensitive and intimate areas, we recommend Brilliance Hard Wax. It contains Titanium Dioxide to reduce skin redness.
A skin analysis is also a GREAT time to cross-promote your services. Whilst talking to the client on the condition of their skin you can upsell a suitable facial or body wrap to improve the health and appearance of their skin.
• Skin preparation is imperative to an effective and trauma-free wax. Micro Defence Foam is ideal for facial and intimate areas as it is an alcohol and chemical free biocide that eliminates germs, removes oils, surface dirt, moisture and makeup. Caronlab’s Pre Waxing Skin Cleanser is ideal for the body. Prepping the skin ensures that the area is clean and the wax grips the hair first time every time so no need to repeat waxing the same area which can lead to skin lifting.
• If you use an inferior product or you haven’t considered a suitable wax for your client’s skin type, it can lead to skin lifting, burning, pulling and bruising which as we know can lead to hyperpigmentation during the healing process.
When you’re assessing your wax ask yourself the following; does it grip the hairs? Is the consistency stringy? Does it smell of resin or chemicals? Does it lift the skin? Does it cause redness and irritation? Does it cause ingrown hairs or pimples? Does it require the use of a pre-wax oil to protect the skin? If you answered yes to one or more of these you definitely need to rethink your wax.
Consider a wax that is pliable, consistent, nourishing on the skin, has a subtle aroma, and of course, is removing hair properly. Brilliance the original white wax has been the number 1 selling wax in Australia for 10 years. If you are using a superior wax with a good reputation and still experience difficulty, it may be your technique. Don’t hesitate to ask the manufacturer. They can provide some tips on the best consistency and technique for using their wax. After all, they know it best!
• The number one most crucial step to avoid the horror of skin damage during waxing is technique. Training and up-to-date knowledge is imperative to protect your clients and your salon’s reputation. Caronlab provides extensive training and support through hands-on workshops. Keeping informed and up to date on the latest products and techniques is paramount to running a successful salon. Innovations in products can change the way our industry performs treatments. We’ve seen a huge rise in the use of fi lm wax since our Brazilliant beaded fi lm wax hit the market. This new product has a lower melting point, unique application and removal technique and can be used all over the body.
• Soothing with an after wax treatment can nourish and cool the skin. Caronlab’s After Care lotions with Mango and Witchazel or Tea Tree Oil, have pharmaceutical properties that actively soothe skin after waxing.
Another factor to consider post waxing is that during the natural process of waxing, dead skin cells are lifted revealing fresh new skin cells. These new cells may be more sensitive and reactive to UV light which is something to be aware of for hyperpigmentation prone clients. We recommend all skin types to wear protective clothing and a SPF 50+ to protect their skin after waxing and beyond.
• Following up with appropriate and affordable aftercare advice is a great way to protect the integrity of your treatment. Breakouts can occur after waxing the lip for the fi rst time, to avoid this use Bump eRaiser Medi Paste. Also as a preventative measure, the entire range of Bump eRaiser (Cool Splash, Triple Action Lotion, Zesty Wash, Exfoliating Mitt) can counteract the possibility of ingrown hair. As a retail option you can make a great profit on-selling this necessary range to your clients and in-turn they’ll be wrapped with the results.
As Therapists, it is our job to do all we can to make a client’s waxing experience, including the treatment itself and the results afterwards as pleasant as possible. Globally, salons and aestheticians have a healthy, booming waxing industry. With IPL becoming increasingly popular we need to protect our client base from scaremongering about avoidable side effects. And if clients suffer from severe side effects because we aren’t using the right products or technique – they definitely won’t be back!
Contact us today if you’re considering a re-fresh in your training and skill set. We’d be more than happy to come and teach you more about our latest products and how they can lead to repeat business and happy clients.
Lilliane Caron is Owner & Director of Caronlab Australia and Waxxxpress