Eyebrow waxing and acne
June 7, 2005 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I had my eyebrows waxed for the first time ever yesterday and half of my forehead is now full of tiny zits.

I have blackheads and rosacea, but didn't think the waxing would affect large areas of skin because the line of wax applied was so thin. But for an hour after the waxing, I was scarlet from my eyelids to halfway up my forehead. This soon faded to patchy pink, then the zits appeared last night. I carefully squeezed the pus from several of them after my shower this morning, but several are just inflamed red spots with no heads.

I ain't putting any of my rosacea medication or Differin on my forehead until it calms down. The waxer applied a "calming" cream afterwards that did extend well beyond my eyebrows, so this may be the cause of my breakouts or it may be exacerbating the reaction to waxing.

Is this a typical reaction? How long until this calms down? My sister says that your skin gets used to repeated waxing, but I'm inclined to go back to tweezing now that waxing established a nice shape.
posted by maudlin to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total)
I'd put my money on the calming cream irritating your skin. Tell them not to use that anymore, or go someplace different.

I have very fair skin. I get a little pink and blotchy right after, but it goes away after a few hours.

You can get away with waxing just several times a year, tweezing for maintenance in-between waxes.
posted by desuetude at 12:21 PM on June 7, 2005

I had the exact same thing happen, it is the calming cream I would guess. DO NOT PICK AT IT. These aren't really "zits" they're more like inflamed pores, if you let them go down on their own, they'll go away quickly. I used raw aloe to help.
posted by annathea at 12:43 PM on June 7, 2005

does the waxing hurt? I've only ever had my legs waxed because I really really don't like pain.
posted by gaspode at 12:56 PM on June 7, 2005

gaspode: in my experience, no, it doesn't hurt. less even than ripping a band-aid off your forearm.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:21 PM on June 7, 2005

I would check with your dermatologist.
posted by me3dia at 1:28 PM on June 7, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback so far. No, the actual waxing didn't hurt much at all, although I was surprised to find my ears watering a lot after I opened them.
posted by maudlin at 1:32 PM on June 7, 2005

Response by poster: EYES not EARS. I can't close my ears with any kind of lid and my eyebrows certainly didn't extend that far.
posted by maudlin at 1:32 PM on June 7, 2005

I often get that when waxing thin hairs (generally upper lip). I think it's basically just annoyed the follicle, which tries to protect itself with pus. (Does that sound medically feasible?) In any event, yes, they go away, whether you pop them or not.
posted by occhiblu at 1:59 PM on June 7, 2005

I've had similar reactions when I have waxing done at certain types of salons. I really wonder if it has something to do with the cleanliness of their supplies. I've tried switching salons and run into the same problem. Only one place didn't cause the red spots and I no longer live nearby. My red spots have been known to last two weeks or more.

When I wax at home, I do not have the same problem. At least I know that the only person who has used the stuff is me.
posted by onhazier at 2:12 PM on June 7, 2005

Waxing does hurt, yes. But considerably less so than plucking those suckers out ONE. BY. ONE.

As for the red bumps, it sounds like they were probably caused by the cream. I get red zit-like bumps after waxing my eyebrows, but only in the follicles that had hair ripped out.
posted by rhapsodie at 3:45 PM on June 7, 2005

I suggest finding a place that does threading. You'll be red for a few hours, but because the only thing being applied to your face is a piece of string, you won't have allergic reactions to anything.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 4:40 PM on June 7, 2005

My first eyebrow waxing also resulted in similar puss spots (mine were directly above my eyebrow line, reminiscent of this facial artwork but not as colorful or pretty). I didn't really have acne anywhere on my face at the time and the place (JC Penney's salon) didn't use a "calming" cream. I followed the instructions on the release form they made me sign too, to not use any products on the area for at least 24 hrs. after. I had it done the day before starting a new job, thinking it would make me look neat and well-groomed, but that turned out to be a bad idea and bad timing - the spots lasted about a week. A week or two of that has never seemed worth it to me, so I haven't tried again. Plucking hasn't worked for me due to the pain of it.

I'm considering trying threading, though. It's seems to be gaining in popularity with more places starting to offer it.
posted by PY at 5:05 PM on June 7, 2005

Also, if you keep getting waxed, the pain goes away -- the nerves deaden or something. I've been getting my eyebrows waxed for more than ten years and it hardly makes me blink anymore.
posted by sugarfish at 7:25 PM on June 7, 2005

Yeah, the follicles get damaged so repeat waxing hurts WAY less as time goes on. You can also take an Asprin or Advil an hour before the waxing and it will deaden the pain. After the waxing, I use Tend Skin on all waxed parts. If your face is sensitive, try just some Clearasil (specifically the anti-acne cream - for pimples) or a little cortisone. The waxing basically clears out the pores and hair follicles - the way I see it, is a little Tend Skin or Clearasil disinfects those open pores, and doesn't allow bacteria to settle in overnight. I don't actually know the science behind it, but I've been doing that for years with no red bumps or acne post-waxing. Clearasil is fine for the face, but the bikini/legs really need the boost of Tend Skin.
posted by fionab at 8:45 PM on June 7, 2005

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