How to Exfoliate Waxed Skin

It’s easy to find information online on how to care for common skin types like oily skin or eczematous skin – but how are you supposed to care for waxed skin? Regretfully, there isn’t too much scientific research or advice on how to best exfoliate waxed skin, yet there still are certain tips and tricks that you should keep in mind when you exfoliate waxed skin.

Stop Exfoliating 2 -3 Days Before Your Waxing Session

exfoliate waxed skin


Many aestheticians and spas recommend that you exfoliate immediately before your waxing session, though this may not be a great choice for many individuals. When you exfoliate, you remove dead skin cells and debris from the outer layers of skin. Even though waxing is used primarily to remove unwanted hairs, waxing is also a form of physical exfoliation. If you exfoliate shortly before waxing, the wax will then remove some of the healthy yet vulnerable skin cells that had been revealed after your most recent exfoliation. This can in turn result in irritation, inflammation, and sensitivity, among other unpleasant side effects (Dr. Neal Schultz for DermTV).

Wait for a Few Days After Waxing Before Exfoliating

exfoliate waxed skin

The smooth, velvety feeling of freshly-waxed skin is among the most pleasing sensations in the world – but exfoliating too quickly after your waxing session may irritate your skin. The amount of time that you should wait before exfoliating will vary according to the region being waxed, how frequently you wax that area, and how well your skin responded to your most recent waxing session. However, various spas and clinics recommend that you wait at least 24 hours before using your exfoliating tools, although many other aestheticians and dermatologists recommend waiting as long as 72 hours before resuming your routine. Aside from refraining from exfoliating, you should also avoid strenuous exercise; hot tubs and saunas; tight clothing; and unprotected sun exposure for several days after your waxing session, as these actions may further inflame or agitate your skin (Dr. Cynthia Bailey Skincare, Waxopolitan, Painless Waxing Boutique).

Use a Combination of Chemical and Physical Exfoliants

Using both chemical and physical exfoliants almost always guarantees satisfying exfoliation (and defends against ingrown hairs!). We recommend using the ViaBuff Level 3 Exfoliating Buff, which was designed specifically to exfoliate waxed skin. Each buff has 60% more surface area than your standard exfoliating buff, ensuring that your exfoliation is speedy yet effective. Their special open-cell polyurethane structure greatly limits water and skincare product retention so that more of your exfoliating serum can be massaged into the skin, not the crevices of the buff. Similarly, the buff’s anti-absorbent design limits the amount of skincare product that is absorbed into the product, so that more of your exfoliating serum can be massaged into your skin. Our buff’s best attribute, however, is their long life; our buffs last an average of 90 days, whereas your standard loofah or puff only lasts for 3 – 4 weeks.

Although our buffs will do wonders for your skin, it is best to pair them with an exfoliating serum. We suggest using serums containing salicylic acid, one of dermatology’s most potent keratolytic ingredients that exfoliates skin by breaking down the bonds between dead and hardened skin cells. Even better, there is evidence to suggest that salicylic acid can also fight against acne and signs of hyperpigmentation, although more research is needed to support these theories (Clinics in Dermatology, Journal of Dermatological Treatment, Dermatologic Surgery). Like salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, bromelain, papain, and retinol are all reputable and effective chemical exfoliants that can remove complexion-dulling dry skin cells and debris (The International Dermal Institute).

keratolytic agents

Bottom Line

Waxed skin deserves regular exfoliation, just like every other skin type. However, those who frequently wax their skin should abide by certain precautions and procedures if they are to avoid ingrown hairs and irritation. For example, it is recommended that you do not exfoliate for at least 2 – 3 days before your waxing session, so that the wax will not remove healthy and vulnerable skin cells, but rather the dead skin cells on the skin’s outer surface. Additionally, you may want to refrain from exfoliating for at least 24 hours after being waxed, so as to avoid irritation and inflammation. For the most satisfying exfoliation, we recommend pairing the ViaBuff Level 3 Exfoliating Buff with chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or papain.

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