The subject of waxing before or after exfoliation comes up frequently as... First, if I regularly exfoliate, is it ok to wax? And second, if I have just waxed, is it ok to exfoliate?
I’ll take the confusion out of this subject with one simple, somewhat out of the box statement: waxing is a form of physical exfoliation! Bet you never thought of it that way, but for the same reason that the wax grabs and holds onto the hair, it does the same thing to the upper layers of skin cells. So when the wax gets pulled off, it removes both the hair and the upper layers of skin cells which also are adherent to the wax.
So now that you’re thinking of wax as an exfoliant, lets revisit waxing before or after exfoliation.
First, if I regularly exfoliate, is it ok to then wax?
Well, since regular exfoliation removes many of the layers of dead skin cells and exposes live layers, the wax may then grab those live layers and pull them off, which in fact is what usually causes a waxing burn, not the hot temperature of the wax. So… If you exfoliate, as I hope you do, and you in fact exfoliate in an area you’re going to get waxed, such as the upper lip, eyebrows, or even bikini area, let the waxer know so he or she can adjust the wax so you don't get "burned.” And to further help prevent a problem, stop exfoliating for two or three days before you get waxed.
Now the answer to the other question, “If I’ve just waxed, is it ok to exfoliate?” also becomes obvious.
Of course the answer is no because you don’t want to over exfoliate which can also cause irritation or even a burn from chemical or physical exfoliants used too soon on skin that has had too many layers of skin cells stripped off from waxing. Again, wait two to three days after waxing before resuming any exfoliation.
Oh… And since regular exfoliation helps to minimize ingrowns from waxing, that’s just one more reason to exfoliate regularly.