Some general considerations reduce the pain of waxing and sugaring:
- Make your appointment in the morning, as the pain threshold is much higher in the morning. During the day and after encountering daily stresses, the nervous system becomes more sensitive and leads to a lower threshold for pain.
- Waxing after a workout is less painful as well. During a workout, our bodies make more natural endorphins to reduce the pain of our joints and muscles. The natural endorphin reduces the pain of waxing if it is still in the body.
- Don’t drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages. Caffeine hypersensitizes the body and reduces the pain threshold.
- Don’t be hungry during waxing. Hunger makes our nervous system more sensitive and reduces our pain threshold.
- Hard wax is less painful than soft wax. Hard wax grabs hairs, while soft wax sticks to the skin and hair and is more painful.
- The esthetician is probably the most important factor in waxing and pain. The speed of pulling wax strips, their confidence, the amount of time that the wax stays on the skin, the amount of wax applied on the skin, and other technical and experimental tips and tricks are very important to pain and the whole experience of waxing and sugaring.
- If you are a woman, don’t wax right before, during, and right after your menstruation. Hormonal fluctuation during menstruation increases the sensitivity of the body to pain.
- Some people believe that taking one or two Brufen or other painkillers 20 to 30 minutes before waxing eliminates the pain. This is more of a myth than reality. If you want to take something, it’d better be an antihistamine. The main cause of late pain is inflammation. An anti-inflammatory or antihistamine helps much more than a painkiller.
Two Types of Pain from Waxing Treatments:
The first type is immediate pain—sharp, stinging, and lasting for less than a second to almost a few seconds. The best way to reduce this kind of pain is by distracting the nerve endings from the pain. Replacing the sensation of the immediate pain with the sensation of pressure, rubbing, heat, cold, or something other than pain is the best remedy to eliminate or reduce this pain.
Fortunately, the nerve endings of this sharp pain are all very superficial and can be distracted by a mild to moderate pressure on the site of waxing. Most estheticians are aware that pressing their hand on the waxing site immediately after removing the strip reduces the pain dramatically.
Exhaling (not inhaling) or coughing while the esthetician pulls the wax strip off of the skin distracts the brain and reduces the pain dramatically. Try to distract yourself from the waxing treatment by talking to the esthetician, counting numbers backward, listening to music, and so on.
The source of late pain that starts 20 minutes after waxing and lasts for hours or days is located deeper in the skin. To subside this pain, press hard for a longer time, about 5 to 10 minutes, so the nerves stop sending pain signals.
Drinking a cup of coffee right after waxing increases the blood flow and washes out inflammatory cells that are accumulating in the site of waxing. If the waxing is very painful for whatever reason, it stimulates the immune system to send more inflammatory cells to the waxing site. The more inflammatory cells, the more inflammation, and more pain. Inflammation is the major cause of ingrown hair and other waxing and sugaring complications.
Regular, over-the-counter numbing creams don’t have much effect on pain, and not many estheticians recommend numbing creams to reduce the pain of waxing or sugaring. After a few sessions of waxing or sugaring, you won’t have pain as much as the first waxing session. The first waxing session is usually the worst one.