The Dangers Of Waxing While Using Retinol

by Emily McClure

Retinol lovers, it's time to listen up. Using your favorite retinol skin care products prior to waxing is not only a bad idea, but it's also dangerous for your skin. If you didn't know, retinol (which is a weak version of retinoic acid), is used to fade hyperpigmentation and fight the signs of aging through chemical exfoliation. These ingredients work to remove the outer layer of skin cells to leave behind more radiant, younger looking skin. While this may sound like a dream come true for some, it's a horrible idea for those who love to wax away unwanted hair.

When you wax your skin, you aren't just removing hair follicles, you're removing skin cells as well. If you wax while using retinoids then you risk exposing a very sensitive area of live skin cells, according to Dr. Joel Schlessinger, founder of Not only is this super painful, but it can also cause the skin to separate further than necessary during waxing. Ouch!

Besides exposing vital skin cells, there are a plethora of other risks of waxing while on retinoids. According to, waxing while using retinoids can lead to scarring, localized skin discoloration, redness, irritation and severe dryness. Uhm, no thanks.

Basically, when you wax, you need a small layer of dead skin cells to protect the live cells underneath. The experts at Allure recommend to stop using retinoids for several days prior to waxing. This allows your skin to heal prior to the hair removal process.

However, if you are still set on using retinoids and waxing, you may want to reconsider your methods. recommended to apply a light moisturizer before applying your retinol based products in order to reduce any painful side effects. Having that moisture barrier lessens the amount of retinol that is absorbed into the skin, which lessens the exfoliation. Also, applying retinol at night time is another way to lessen its harsh side effects as you will be less susceptible to sunburns.

While retinol may do wonders for aging skin, it isn't the best for those who love to wax. So, if you want the best of both worlds, here are a few safer ways to remove hair without waxing.

1. Threading

Tim Whitby/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Remove excess hair without removing excess skin cells by threading away the hair. Done at many salons, threading is a simple procedure that uses thread to remove hair at the root without damaging the skin's collagen, according to

2. Tweezing

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Tweezing your eyebrows may not be as quick as waxing, however, it is a much safer alternative for those who use retinoids. Tweezing removes hair at the root without damaging the surrounding skin.

3. Laser Hair Removal

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

While this certainly can't be done will using retinoids, it is a great permanent solution to hair removal. Prior to using retinoids, talk with your doctor about permanent hair removal options that will lessen your chances of damaging your skin in the future.

Images: Bustle