Is waxing safe for underarm skin?

Woman waxing underarm.
Waxing your underarms has its downsides, but it's safe for your skin.

If you're like many women, you may want to kick the routine task of shaving your underarms to the curb. You may be wondering about other hair-removal options, and there are many: electrolysis, laser removal, hot wax, cold wax, sugaring and various creams -- along with a variety of devices seen on late-night infomercials being wielded by women with smooth, beautiful skin.

Unlike some of these options, waxing has been around for a long time. It's easy to find a salon that does waxing, and there are many brands of do-it-yourself products at the drugstore. However, you may wonder if waxing is safe -- after all, you're ripping the hairs out of your sensitive underarm skin.


There are some downsides to waxing, including pain, bruising and minor bleeding -- when you rip the hair out of your skin, you're also removing a thin layer of skin in the process. This may leave your freshly waxed skin vulnerable to irritation and infection. You may also experience minor burns if the wax is too hot, and some people find that over time, repeated waxing can darken skin or cause it to lose its elasticity [source: eMedicine].

In addition, there may be some risk of infection related to the reuse of wax at a salon. Salons often reheat wax and use it on multiple clients, and if a piece of skin gets in the wax, the sticky substance can harbor germs. If you're concerned about wax reuse, ask the salon owner for a fresh batch of wax [source: Skomal].

Overall, underarm waxing is an effective and relatively safe method of hair removal used by many people. For more information on waxing your underarms, see the links on the following page.


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Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • eMedicine. "Nonlaser Hair Removal Techniques." Medscape. (Accessed 10/16/09)
  • Skomal, Lenore. "Waxing for Hair Removal: Dipping into Danger?" Sexual Health Connection. (Accessed 10/1/09)