As the weather warms up, so too does the demand for smooth, hair-free skin. But before you book your next waxing appointment, consider this: There’s a natural, less painful (!), healthier alternative that’s popping up all over—sugaring.
What is sugaring?
Sugaring is a hair-removal technique that relies on a paste traditionally made from lemon, sugar, and water, though some spas add honey and essential oils as well. “Patients are increasingly attracted to clean beauty and clean skincare routines, so it’s a great option for those seeking more natural products,” says Whitney Bowe, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Typical wax formulas have resins and often preservatives, which, though not labeled unsafe, can irritate those with sensitive skin (and not be great for the environment).
“Patients are increasingly attracted to clean beauty and skincare, so it’s a great option…”
But what makes sugaring stand out even more is the fact that it’s significantly gentler on skin. “Regular wax needs to be very hot to stick to hair, then dries into a solid when it cools,” says Bowe. You have the risk of a thermal burn—a pretty common side effect, especially with less-than-stellar aestheticians.
While thermal burns are usually just a temporary problem (red and hot, like a sunburn), the heat can penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, which could leave you with scarring or discoloration.
Debating shaving your bikini line instead? Watch this:
So…are there any risks at all?
When skin is involved, there’s always reason to be cautious. “You could still contract an infection by bacterial contamination,” says Bowe, “so always make sure your aesthetician prepares a new paste for you.”
Also keep in mind that lemon juice, one of the paste’s main ingredients, is extremely acidic, and if used in an improper ratio, it could potentially cause a chemical burn. That’s rather unlikely, but still, the acid can be damaging to the skin barrier, so consider skipping it for your Brazilian. Added essential oils can also be irritating to some, so “ask the salon for a sample so you can test a patch at home,” Bowe suggests.
And don’t forget: You’re still ripping out hair, so make sure you have at least rice-length growth, don’t exfoliate beforehand (no retinols!), and wear loose-fitting clothing after your wax so your skin can breathe.
Ready to get sugared?
Go for it! Find a salon via a quick Google or Yelp search—reviews are your best friend when it comes to the beauty trend. Prepare to actually be excited about waxing.
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