My client uses Retinol on their face – can they still have waxing too?
In today’s world of anti-aging skincare – this is a biggy! It’s also alarmingly becoming an issue in the waxing world too.
Retinol based skincare is very much the ‘in thing’, the new ‘essential’. In fact, Retinol is now one of the most popular (if not the most popular) skin care ingredients on the market.
But what exactly is it, and what does it do?
Retinol is a member of a group of Vitamin A derived drugs called Retinoids and can be both prescribed and bought over the counter, in different strengths depending on the requirements of the user. Retinoids are used for many different reasons – they were first used in the 1970’s to treat acne.
Prescription retinoids, such as Roaccutane, are in tablet form prescribed for severe forms of acne and requires close supervision from a doctor. This is the strongest form of retinoids available and only used for severe cases of acne. This strength retinoid is far stronger than the percentage used in your skincare cream or serum.
Researchers later discovered that Retinol also fade age spots, pigmentation and speeds the turnover of superficial skin cells speeds up exfoliation, where the upper dead skin cells are removed and replaced by underlying fresh skin.
But all the while your client is using Retinol based creams and serums on their skin, their skin becomes thinner on the area it is applied (due to the exfoliation process) and in turn makes it more sensitive. This is where you NEED TO KNOW if your client is applying Retinol to your skin before, at the time of or after their waxing treatment.
The following could happen:
- The skin could be more heat sensitive, which could cause a burn (or feel like it’s burning) where usually it wouldn’t
- Waxing could leave the skin more red or sensitive than normal post-treatment
- Waxing could cause a ‘graze’ – this is where the very top layer of skin will come off with the wax. The skin will look red, patchy, it will sting a little and maybe weep
- Waxing could cause a full-on tear – and this will look raw, very weepy or even bleeding, and be extremely stingy and sensitive
These scenarios could cause unsightly wounds, scabbing, scarring and even pigmentation after healing. EVEN WITH HOT WAX AND THE CORRECT SKIN PREP!!
It is imperative that a THOROUGH consultation is carried out prior to the waxing treatment and this is why we added a specific Retinol section to our consultation form.
Skin care companies recommend that the client DOES NOT use Retinol based products in the 7 days prior to their wax. If your client is taking Roaccutane, they cannot have waxing for the duration of the course of treatment. Be advised by your client if there is a grace period after stopping the treatment too, but if skin looks aggravated, sensitive or flaky it’s best to refrain until it has recovered.
On the flip side, advise your client to please wait until their skin has FULLY recovered from your waxing treatment (and then tag a day on top just to be safe) to restart their Retinol treatment regimen. If they start too soon their skin could become aggravated.
You can inform your client it is also essential to use a high sunscreen at all times even when using a low percentage Retinol strength to protect the new layers of skin, they may not be aware of this!
So ultimately, YES your client can have waxing on their face and use Retinol as part of their skin care routine. They just have to be careful and time it right before and after their waxing treatment.
Hope this helps – love Glam-Ma Moo xx
Kristeen Cherney (Updated Jan 4th 2022) (Medically reviewed by Clare Wightman MS PAC Dermatology_ – How does retinol work on the skin https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/how-does-retinol-work
Kong R et al. (2015) A comparative study of the effects of Retinol on retinoic acid on histological, molecular and clinical properties of human skin.
Retinoids, topical. (n.d.)
Vitamin A and skin health (2022)
Harvard Health publishing – Do retinoids really reduce wrinkles (October 22 2019)
Everyday Health – Moira Lawler (Medically reviewd by Ross Radusky MD April 8 2020) https://www.everydayhealth.com/smart-skin/new-to-retinol-a-complete-guide-on-the-skin-care-ingredient/
What Is Retinol? Uses, Side Effects, Products, and More (healthline.com) Lauren Sharkey August 13 2021 (Medically reviewed by Susan Bard MD