Dr. Herzog answers a Family Savvy reader who wants advice on a Brazilian wax procedure. As a Family Savvy contributor, Dr. Herzog is happy to answers questions on topics related to dermatology and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
QUESTION: Dr. Herzog, I just received an online coupon for a full Brazilian wax for $39. I’ve toyed with the idea of trying this procedure, so should I grab this deal? Also, is this antimicrobial wax less painful? Thanks in advance – A Potential Waxee
ANSWER: Dear Waxee, thanks for asking such an interesting question. It opened up a learning experience for me. I am a dermatologist and can give my medical opinion, but I have never been waxed and have no personal experience with the procedure.
What is a Brazilian wax? This is a waxing that removes one’s pubic hair and leaves the area smooth and hairless. Most define Brazilian as a total wax, but some leave a “landing strip” of hair down the middle. Others call the wax with the remaining strip a “French” wax. Some wax both your front and back ends. So, make sure you ask specific questions before buying this deal if this matters to you.
I looked for photos online, and as you can imagine, they are harder to find than Botox photos. I did see one that compares the total Brazilian to the “strip down the middle” French. Warm wax is applied to the area and a strip attached to it so when it dries and hardens, the strip is pulled off – along with your hairs. Many say that the more you do it the tougher you get and the less it hurts.
Can adding the antibacterial potion help the pain? Not in any way that I can see, but it might possibly decrease risk of folliculitis and infection later. Some people use OTC numbing creams prior to going for the procedure; however, some spas do not like this. First, if your skin is numb, you may not realize if wax is too hot and will not be able to give them feedback. Second, wax might be harder to apply after a numbing cream. Finally, they are also afraid of allergic reactions from cream being confused with a reaction to their wax.
The pros – Why wax? People do this because they believe that it is fashionable, clean, sexy, or in some way more comfortable.
The cons- Why not? Before waxing, those with fine hair must grow the hair 1/4 inch long, those with coarse hair 1/2 inch long. Everyone does not want to wait on hair to grow for a waxing if they can choose to shave whenever needed.
Another possible downside is that ripping out hair damages the skin and opens the door for infection. Any infection would be easier to contract and spread in skin that has just been traumatized.
Molluscum, a virus which can be sexually transmitted, has been found to be more common in those that wax. Beware of places where a stick is dipped into a communal pot of wax more than once. You will get what someone else left behind. Ask those at the spa if wax is disposed of after each client.
Apparently “hard wax” is less irritating for the skin then “speed wax,” so ask about that too. Ingrown hairs are more likely to occur after waxing, and of course, burns are possible.
All this being said, I don’t want you to be afraid to wax. Just be cautious about where you go, who performs the procedure, and how to prevent infection to this area. On the evening after you wax, wash with antibacterial soap and apply 1% hydrocortisone and a topical antibiotic cream to area. Also, keep out of hot tubs for a couple of days after the procedure.
The deal??- I looked up some prices and other places offer a full wax for $35 as the regular price, so do your homework before grabbing a deal.
Want more advice? “The French Waxing Diva” offers guidelines for a successful waxing experience. I think she offers some sound and savvy advice for anyone who might be considering a Brazilian wax.
Hope this helps.