Can tweezing damage my skin?

Woman tweezing eyebrows.
Tweezing might save you money, but can it do anything to harm your skin? See more pictures of personal hygiene practices.
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During their lifetime, most women -- and a few men -- will probably spend hours in front of a mirror with a pair of tweezers. Tweezing is one of the most common techniques used to shape eyebrows and is often used to get rid of small amounts of unwanted hair on other parts of the body. It might be a painful and time-consuming process, but it's generally harmless and, compared with other hair removal techniques, it's hard to beat the price.

As with waxing, tweezing works by plucking hair out of the hair follicle all the way down to the root. Since this technique removes hair below the surface of the skin, it takes longer to grow back than with some other techniques, such as shaving. The most common side effects associated with tweezing are red, irritated skin and ingrown hairs. Considering the process, that's to be expected. When you pull a hair out of your skin, it's usually going to be painful and cause at least a little bit of inflammation, and ingrown hairs can result if hair is broken off above the root.


To avoid complications, try tweezing after a warm bath so that your pores will release the hair more easily. As you pluck, pull the surrounding skin tight, and grab the hair as close to the root as possible. Make sure you've got a good grip, but don't just rip the hair out. Instead, pull gently in the direction that the hair naturally grows, and the hair should usually slide right out.

Keep in mind that tweezing during a menstrual period could be more painful than usual, so avoid it if at all possible [source: Gall]. It's also a good idea to sterilize your tweezers before using them. All you have to do is give them a good wipe with some rubbing alcohol. It could save you from getting an infection, which often leads to scarring.

Learn more about tweezing and its possible side effects by following the links on the next page.


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  • Barba, Alicia, M.D.; Leslie Stafford Baumann, M.D.; and Esperanza C. Welsh, M.D. "Nonlaser Hair Removal Techniques." eMedicine. May 27, 2008. (accessed 08/25/2009)
  • Gall, Amy. "In Search of Smooth Surfaces." American Academy of Dermatology. Dermatology Insights. Vol. 3, No 2. 2002. (accessed 08/25/2009)
  • Hirsch, Larissa, M.D. "Hair Removal." TeensHealth. January 2008. (accessed 09/01/2009)