Retin-A goes by many names, including Retin-A Micro, Avita, Renova, and Altinac. It is a type of vitamin A that is applied topically to the skin (tretinoin) that quickly exfoliates the skin, removing oil and dirt that can clog pores and cause breakouts. It is very potent, and can soften facial skin roughened by acne scars, as well as prevent further breakouts and eliminate fine lines and blotchiness. Usually, doctors prescribe Retin-A to exfoliate skin; the other jobs it does are bonuses. In the process of exfoliation, Retin-A can actually thin the skin it’s applied to, and often the area peels, sometimes seriously. So, basically, skin that’s been or is being treated with Retin-A is very thin and very delicate.
Waxing involves applying a hot or cold mixture, usually made up of cosmetic wax or a mixture of sugar, honey, and lemon juice (known as “sugaring”) to the skin where you want hair removed. A strip of cloth is then applied to the area, rubbed, and then ripped off quickly. The idea is that it pulls hairs out by the root as the wax sticks to the hair and the cloth, but not the skin. While it sounds like it would work well, it usually doesn’t, and it is very painful. The real problem, though, for women using Retin-A comes from the part of waxing that exfoliates.
While the waxing mixture does grab long hairs, it also adheres to the very top layer of the skin as well. While the surrounding skin is held taught when the strip is ripped off, that top layer of skin is still stuck to the wax and is ripped off along with the wax and whatever hairs got caught. It’s the removal of that top layer of skin and the trauma that the waxing procedure causes that has doctors telling their Retin-A using patients to stay away from waxing.
What would happen if skin treated with Retin-A was waxed?
Bad things. Typically, the skin left behind is glossy, and very red and inflamed. Enough skin is usually removed to cause bleeding and thick scabbing, but “chunks” coming off with the wax is not unheard of.
So, what should women who use Retin-A use for hair removal? Threading. Women who use the threading product Slique report no skin irritation, no pain, and no adverse side effects from hair removal. In fact, a large number of Slique users are women who use products like Retin-A who have had terrible waxing accidents. Curious about what Slique is? Check it out here!