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Hair removal can be painful business if waxing is the chosen method. However, a variety of techniques can alleviate the pain. Numbing skin prior to a wax can greatly reduce the discomfort during a wax and lessen the irritation afterwards. It is important to prepare your body before waxing in order to make the numbing process more effective.
Time your session appropriately. Whether you are waxing your legs, facial hair, bikini line or some other area, hair needs to be long enough for the wax to grab. A general rule is a minimum of one-quarter inch in length. Additionally, Women's Health magazine recommends scheduling the wax two weeks after your period because studies have found that women are less susceptible to pain during that time.
Exfoliate and moisturise. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores and may release ingrown hairs for easier removal. After exfoliating, moisturise with a non-comedogenic (non-clogging) moisturiser.
Avoid toners, astringent and ice. Anything that causes pores to tighten increases the hold on the hair follicle that is ultimately getting ripped out. Avoid applying any of these items to the skin so that hair stays soft and relaxed.
Sprinkle baby powder on skin. Slippery skin makes it difficult for wax to adhere to hair, so sprinkle baby power on beforehand to absorb moisture.
Take an anti-inflammatory. Thirty minutes before waxing, take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen. Not only will it provide pain relief, but it also reduces swelling.
Purchase or request a topical numbing cream. Numbing creams come in a variety of strengths and not all can be purchased over the counter. The lotion No Scream Cream is an over-the-counter topical anesthetic that must be applied 30-45 minutes before a wax. Also consider a skin-numbing cream such as Gigi Anesthetic Numbing Spray.
Be careful when choosing skin numbing creams because the Food and Drug Administration warned consumers in 2007 about the dangers of topical numbing creams after two young women died from overdoses.
Consider a panty/lotion combination. Grace Gold, a writer for Stylist.com, reports in her 2011 article "Strip Tease: Finally a Pain-Free Bikini Wax," on a kit created by anaesthesiologist Dr. Edna Ma that includes a Lidocaine-based numbing cream and a pink latex thong. The thong was designed to assist in absorption of the cream. Gold, who tried the product personally, found the waxing, after she used the cream and thong, almost entirely painless.
- Steve Mason/Digital Vision/Getty Images