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Treating Wax Burns the Right Way

Waxing is an excellent way to remove your unwanted body hair. Unfortunately, it also comes with a surprisingly high risk of burn injury. So, if you accidentally got burns during your last waxing, you might wonder how to treat them safely.

Here’s how you treat wax burns the right way:

  1. Assess the burn severity.
  2. Submerge the burn area in cool water for 20 minutes.
  3. Gently remove any remaining wax.
  4. Apply aloe vera to the wound.
  5. Cover the burn with gauze if necessary.
  6. Take treatment for the pain.
  7. Call a doctor if the burn doesn’t heal.
  8. Avoid the burn altogether.


1. Assess the Burn Severity

Before you do anything, quickly assess how bad your burn is.

When it comes to wax burns, chances are it won’t be too severe. If you only see some redness and slight swelling, you can likely treat it yourself. Assuming the pain isn’t too bad, of course.

However, you can’t handle every wax burn at home. You’re better off calling a doctor if you notice:

  • The burn goes deep into your skin.
  • The skin around the burn looks black or white.
  • There is no pain or feeling at the burn site.
  • The burn covers a large area.
  • The burns are on your face or other sensitive areas (such as the groin).

Please don’t underestimate how dangerous burns can be. Especially when they’re mistreated and cause infection.

For anything worse than a small second-degree burn, seek medical aid.


closeup of person's legs in water

2. Submerge the Burn Area in Cool Water for 20 Minutes

If the wound looks self-treatable, you must start handling it right away. The longer you let your burn go without aid, the less likely it’ll heal properly.

First, fill a small bowl with cool (not cold or icy) water. Then submerge the afflicted part of your body into that water. If your burn is somewhere you can’t immerse, don’t worry—you can also run cool water over it.

You want to do that for about 20 minutes.

I know, it seems like a long time, right? However, it’s crucial to do so because burn wounds are highly susceptible to infection.

You may also notice that small pieces of dead skin come off. Make sure you don’t tug on them and further traumatise your skin, though.

Applying a mild, non-scented soap is a good idea. But make sure you don’t use anything too harsh or scrub too hard. You’ll apply antibacterial ointment later anyway.


3. Gently Remove Any Remaining Wax

While washing your burn and immediately after, remove any leftover wax on you.

Wax is very sticky and adhesive. It’s why it’s so good at removing your unwanted body hairs. So, chances are there will be a few pieces or strips around your burn.

However, don’t pull on the wax too hard.

If you notice skin coming up with the wax, leave it. The last thing you want to do is cause more damage.

An excellent way to remove stubborn wax is petroleum jelly:

  • Apply it to areas with lingering residue and wait 5 minutes.
  • Then, use a soft cloth or your (washed) hands to wipe it away gently.

Afterwards, you can use a cold compress to assuage any soreness. But don’t directly apply ice to your burn area. It might sound like it would feel nice, but doing so can worsen your burn.


4. Apply Aloe Vera to the Wound

Aloe vera is one of the best treatments for minor burn wounds. Research has shown it’s effective at keeping infection away and ensuring faster recovery.

You can find it at pretty much any drug store. Or you could even take a clipping from an aloe plant if you own one, and squeeze out the extract.

Apply some aloe vera generously but gently to your burn area. Reapply the gel five to six times daily, particularly when you notice dryness or pain.

You might wonder what if you’re allergic to aloe vera or prefer not to use it?

In that case, antibiotics and healing ointment for burns will also work. Such as Bacitracin, Neosporin, or Aquaphor. Just make sure you read and follow their directions carefully.


5. Cover the Wound with Gauze If Necessary

Earlier, you learned that burns are vulnerable to infection. So, it makes sense that you’d want to cover yours up to reduce the chances of that happening.

After using aloe vera or ointment, apply medical gauze to your burn.

Preferably, have at least two layers and secure it down with medical tape. That way, your burn won’t be exposed. And the gauze can soak up any fluids that come from it.

Redress your gauze every few days while the burn persists. Or if you notice that it looks dirty or damp.

It’s also crucial that you don’t use any fluffy bandaging (like cotton). Such materials can easily get stuck to your wound and make it worse.


Person sitting on bed holding a glass of water in one hand and painkillers in the other

6. Take Treatment for the Pain

As your burn heals, you’ll likely feel some moderate pain.

Washing and redressing the burn can cause the most discomfort. Which is an unfortunate fact since doing both of those things is crucial.

To counteract this, take some painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol. They’ll help mitigate soreness while your wound heals. Plus, they can treat any headaches caused by the constant discomfort of your burn.

Many pain-suppressing medicines (such as ibuprofen) have anti-inflammatory properties too. Meaning they can help your burn recover faster and be less swollen.

Keeping your burn elevated when possible will also keep down swelling and inflammation.


7. Call a Doctor If the Burn Doesn’t Heal

Your burn will heal in one to two weeks if all goes well. For the best results, make sure you keep redressing it with more ointment and fresh gauze. However, there are situations where you might need to call a doctor.

Below are some signs that you should seek medical aid for your burn:

  • If you notice signs of infection, like oozing or spreading redness.
  • Your burn is not healing after a couple of weeks.
  • The burn is excruciating or prevents you from doing things.
  • Blisters keep appearing after two weeks.
  • You feel feverish.
  • Other unexplained symptoms.

Thankfully, most wax burns aren’t severe despite how common they are. Regardless of whether they come from cosmetic waxing or a spilt candle.

Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry. So, keep an eye on your burn and look out for anything unusual.


8. Avoid the Burn Altogether

Assuming your burn is a waxing-related hair removal side-effect, why not take the path of least resistance and avoid the burn entirely?

Laser hair removal offers the safest and fastest path to velvety smooth and beautiful skin. Why would you treat yourself to anything less?