From Woes to Wows: How to Prevent Breakouts After Waxing

If waxing the unwanted hair often leaves you with unwanted breakouts, you're at the right place. Learn how to prevent them with our guide to clear, hair-free (and frustration-free) skin.

May 8, 2023 4 minutes read
Woman waxing her legs

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If you're tired of dealing with those pesky red bumps after waxing, rest assured that you're not alone in that struggle (not much of a comfort, we know!). But, if your skin leans toward a more sensitive side, even just a little bit, it's bound to break out each time you wax, as it's, let's admit, not the gentlest procedure.

And trust, many of us have experienced the frustration of smooth skin followed by red, inflamed pimples. But what causes these breakouts, and how can you prevent them?

In today's article, we'll explore the common causes of breakouts after waxing and share some tips on how to prevent them, so you can enjoy hair-free and smooth, clear skin.

So Why Do I Always Break Out After Waxing?

Breakouts can occur in any area of the skin that has been waxed, but there are certain areas that are especially not fond of it, such as the face (the upper lip, chin, and eyebrow area) and the sensitive bikini line. And these post-waxing breakouts, which sometimes form the very day of the waxing, happen due to several reasons:

How to Get Rid of Breakouts After Waxing

So, if, for whatever reason (or combination of reasons), you're dealing with breakouts after waxing, don't worry – there are steps you can take to prevent and treat them:

#1: Keep Your Skin Clean

woman cleansing her skin before waxing

If you consistently break out after hair removal treatment, the No 1. skincare advice is to keep your skin as clean as possible before, during, and after waxing. This means you should avoid touching the waxed area or showering freshly waxed skin for at least 24 hours. This will give your skin time to heal and reduce the risk of bacterial infection. Instead, take a shower or bath before waxing to clean your skin thoroughly and remove any bacteria, dirt, or oils that may be present.

#2: Exfoliate Regularly

exfoliating scrub texture

No matter your skin type, regular exfoliation may be helpful in preventing breakouts after waxing and in general. This is because exfoliation removes dead skin cells from your skin's surface, clearing out the pores and preventing the bacteria and dirt from collecting in them. However, be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this can irritate your skin and make breakouts worse. So, once or twice a week, use a gentle body scrub or skincare with a low percentage of AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids).

#3: Apply a Cold Compress

ice cubes for a cold compress

If you notice skin redness right after waxing, apply a cold compress to the affected area to soothe it. You can use a cold pack or wrap some ice cubes in a clean towel and press it against your skin for a few minutes.

#4: Use Aloe Vera

aloe vera gel and aloe vera skincare product

Aloe vera is known for its healing and soothing properties, making it an excellent natural remedy for breakouts after waxing. Apply aloe vera gel, freshly extracted from the plant or store-bought, to the waxed area to reduce inflammation and promote healing. Aloe vera can also be helpful with ingrown hairs as it's a mild exfoliant, unclogging pores and allowing the hairs to grow out.

#5: Avoid Tight Clothing

a stack of slim fit jeans

After waxing, avoid wearing tight-fitting clothing, like leggings or slim-fit jeans, as these will rub against your skin and cause irritation. Besides, tight clothes can also trap sweat and bacteria on your skin, leading to breakouts. Instead, choose loose-fitting cotton clothing that allows your skin to breathe.

#6: Avoid Saunas and Swimming Pools

woman in sauna

Since your skin may be more vulnerable to irritation right after waxing, it's essential to avoid certain activities that can further irritate the skin.

Excessive sweating in saunas can aggravate your already irritated skin and cause inflammation. The steam and heat in saunas can also open up your pores, making your skin more susceptible to bacterial infection, which can cause breakouts. Therefore, it would be best to wait at least 24-48 hours, or until breakouts subside, before using a sauna.

Also, no matter how tempting, try to avoid swimming pools for at least 24-48 hours after waxing. This is because most swimming pools are treated with chlorine, a chemical that can irritate the skin, especially if it's freshly waxed.

#7: Try Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that cleans the skin, kills acne-causing bacteria, and reduces inflammation. So, apply a few drops of tea tree oil to a cotton ball and spot-treat post-wax bumps. After 24 hours have passed, you can treat yourself to a soothing oatmeal bath mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil to speed up the healing process.

#8: Be Gentle With Your Skin

soft feather on the skin

When you're dealing with breakouts after waxing, it's crucial to treat your skin with care and avoid applying products that can be irritating, like retinol. Also, avoid using harsh soaps, sulfates, or scrubs with crushed walnut shells that can damage your skin's natural moisture barrier and worsen breakouts. Instead, use gentle cleansers and light moisturizers that are specifically designed for sensitive skin.


Although breakouts after waxing are very common, it doesn't make them any less frustrating. Besides, if you don't address the issue on time, these can be pretty persistent and even leave scars. So, try taking good care of your skin before and after waxing, and avoid anything that may irritate it and make the inflammation worse.


Why do I break out after waxing?

There are several reasons your skin might break out after waxing, including sensitive skin that's easily irritated, ingrown hairs, bacterial infection, allergy or intolerance to the wax itself, and inadequate skin care pre- and post-waxing.

How do you get rid of acne after waxing?

You can use aloe vera gel or tea tree oil to spot-treat breakouts after waxing. Aloe vera is soothing and exfoliating, while tea tree oil has antibacterial properties, preventing and healing inflammation.

Is it normal to break out after your first wax?

Breaking out after waxing is quite common, especially if you're new to it and your skin is sensitive. However, if it happens consistently, it would be best to consult your dermatologist about hair removal alternatives.

How long do breakouts after waxing last?

It will depend on your skin type and the cause of the breakouts. If post-waxing pimples are caused by ingrown hairs, they might last longer. On the other hand, if the cause is a bacterial infection, breakouts can subside within days with proper treatment.

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