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Waxing, Depilatories, Ingrown Hair on Face and Body – and Aliens

The late comic Joan Rivers once remarked that a bikini waxing would beat waterboarding for getting results easy-peasy. The ordeal of WAXING does make one wonder if it is another dreadful plot by the patriarchy; but, then we come to learn the patriarchy is now waxing, too.

Waxing is by far the biggest segment in skincare in dollars spent and customer populations. Fully 80% of professional services are related to waxing. Pubic hair has its fans though, even if they tend to be screaming less about it than those who wax.

But at this point culturally in western society, pubic hair is mostly thumbs down, while facial hair is thumbs up. Underarm hair seems to be more tolerated but generally is shunned by the teen crowd. Shaved heads are also on the option board.

These hair off/hair on extremes follow a trend of self-definition toward the pre-pubescent and adolescent and may signal a deeper desire for an image of innocence, or, if you are more cynical, sterility.

If you choose to believe you will have a better relationship with bald aliens when they take over Earth (have they already?) then “going smooth” possibly makes sense if Hollywood depictions of aliens circa 1950 are accurate. But this could be a long shot as the Skin Dork thinks on it.

Waxing is painful and annoying in having to repeat the process again and again, so the choice is not a casual one. LASERS and other cauterizing devices have been in use for some time to go permanently hairless by burning the hair root. This is also a most unpleasant, tedious and expensive experience and often results in several follow up sessions to ‘polish the floor’ as one of my laser tech friends says. It often is not successful as a permanent solution and the resulting patchiness is “not aesthetic.” Think weeds in a vacant lot.

For many, waxing is just a procedure reserved for summer beach season and once a year is tolerated. But for those who are really serious about the down there hair-free look, waxing can be a 6x per year experience and even more. These serious players have a tolerance for pain, or perhaps it is an appreciation, beyond most of us.

The melted wax is applied at elevated temperatures, an experience sometimes described as a “fanny grabber” then allowed to cool and, finally ripped off by various techniques. Waxing studios live and die by the rip off. A studio with good technique gets good word of mouth and clients line up around the block. But then, even the best technique depends on the fragility of the skin. Taking hair and skin in the same rip off is only too common.

It is important to avoid skin softeners in the area to be waxed to limit the possibility of skin ripping off. This means avoiding lotions, creams, serums and exfoliating products, in fact everything but cleansers for at least one month ahead of waxing. The cleanser should be neutral, without acids.

The alternative to waxing is depilatories such as Nair™. The depilatory formulas are the more user friendly approach to off-loading unwanted hair but waxing enthusiasts say that depilatories are for the weak minded; get uneven results, and can create a rash that is persistent. But, in their favor, skin ripping is very unlikely with depilatories.

If the Skin Dork were to choose going hairless, the depilatory would be his choice to get there. This event will not occur however as the Dork is an interstellar alien, as we already know and his fibrous hair is a shield from radiation, perfume and bullets.

The waxing concerns are twofold. First off, there will be tenderness and even inflammation that can last for days. Second, ingrown hairs will often develop and lead to more discomfort.

The studio often suggests and sends home a vial of salicylic acid to exfoliate the waxed area in the hope this will prevent ingrown hair formation. The notion is that by exfoliating the area the hard surface of repairing skin will not form and the emerging hair follicle will not be helpless in its effort to break through that surface.

The problem with that approach is that salicylic acid applied to tender skin is apt to be very uncomfortable and even more annoying, can lead to inflammation and chronic itching.

The other, and more serious problem, is the same salicylic acid PROMOTES the rapid formation of surface cells which often come in fragmented, the proteins formless and a kind of gristle occurs at the micro level. Emerging hair follicles bump their heads into this gristle and turn around. They go ingrown and eruptions occur – the natural oils that form in the hair root are blocked and dirt, debris and bugs fester into a comedone (a zit),

Now what?

First of all do NOT tenderize your skin before or after waxing with salicylic acid – not in cleansers or in serums or in anything. Do not use any acid for that matter.

AFTER waxing, when the skin is very tender and susceptible, apply nothing for at least 24 hours and 48 hours is better (2 days) rinse only with tepid water (a bath is fine, but avoid the bubble bath stuff). The Skin Dork recommends:

1) cleanse with FACE & BODY BAR;
2) apply a smidgen of REMEDY;
3) if skin is dry, mix MOISTURIZING DROPS (Gray Label) with that smidgen of REMEDY.

Once the damnable hairs have a chance to emerge again, you are home free to fret about your next waxing appointment.

With depilatories the story is the same. Apply nothing to the area for at least 24 hours and 48 hours is better (2 days) rinse only with tepid water (a bath is fine, but avoid the bubble bath stuff).

Generally, the use of the FACE & BODY BAR will be sufficient for areas that have used a depilatory.

For facial skin that develops annoying ingrown hairs on a regular basis and the visible result is very bumpy skin in the beard area, wash regularly with FACE & BODY BAR and that problem will go away – generally takes from a week to a month, depending on severity.

Do not use EXFOLIATING ACIDS (like salicylic, or glycolic, or lactic, etc.) on a face that easily gets ingrown hair. It will make the problem much worse.

Until next time.

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