Is it normal to get hives after a wax?
In a nutshell…yes. Although not very common, it can happen and is nothing to worry about.
Now for some more science….!
- What do hives look like?
Raised welts or bumps on the surface of the skin. The bumps can be paler than your natural skin colour, the same colour as your skin or pink/red. Sometimes they come along with what looks like a blotchy rash. It can be alarming if you have never had hives before, especially if they are slightly itchy. But rest assured there’s no need to panic.
- Why do I get hives after waxing?
This usually happens if it is your first wax (although still pretty uncommon) or if you don’t get waxed very often. The skin feels heat, then hairs are removed from their root which triggers a sensation in the nerve endings along with a light exfoliation of the skin. The skin is reacting to what it thinks is a type of trauma.
- What is a hive?
Also known as ‘Urticaria.’ It’s the skin’s natural reaction to protect itself from some sort of external trauma. The body releases a chemical called ‘histamines’ which are ‘signalling’ cells. They tell the body there is an intruder or something that the body does not want. White blood cells react and rush to the area to treat whatever has triggered the reaction. When the body realizes there was no problem (only waxing) the white blood cells leave the area and the bumps/rash disappear.
This video is a fantastic breakdown of what happens in the body when histamines are released:
- How to get rid of hives after waxing?
Hives will naturally disappear on their own but using a cold compress after your wax will cool the temperature of the skin. This will reduce redness and calm any itchiness. Aloe vera can also help cool and heal the skin but avoid any other products with chemicals, fragrances and anything that could cause further irritation.
- How to reduce the chances of getting hives after waxing
First, ensure you follow the usual precautions before waxing (see blog post ‘Preparing For A Wax.’) No Heat, sweating, stimulants, tanning etc.
Secondly, the below list is not exhaustive but definitely worth checking out to ensure you are not using any of these prior to your wax:
- Chemical peel products/treatments (Acids such as salicylic, glycolic, alpha hydroxy)
- Blood thinning medications
- Hydroquinone (Skin lightening products)
Thirdly, ensure you are going to a reputable wax bar. Check out their website, reviews, social media platforms and their hygiene standards.