Swimming after waxing is a common concern many people have, especially as the summer months approach and pool time becomes a priority. You might be eager to hit the water right after a waxing appointment, but perhaps that’s not the best idea. So how long after waxing can you swim?
Generally, it is best to wait at least 24-48 hours after waxing before going for a swim. This waiting time allows your skin to heal and your hair follicles to close up, reducing the risk of infection or irritation when exposed to chlorine and saltwater.
In this article, we’ll discuss the recommended waiting times and why they are crucial for maintaining the health and appearance of your recently waxed skin.
What Happens During a Waxing Procedure?
The Waxing Process
During a waxing, your skin is first prepped by cleansing and sometimes lightly exfoliating the area. Then, the wax — which can be hard wax, soft wax, or sugar wax — is applied in the direction of hair growth. The thickness of the wax application depends on the type of wax being used.
Once the wax has set, it is removed quickly in the opposite direction of hair growth, taking the hairs with it. Hard wax typically does not require a strip, as it hardens into its own strip-like structure, while soft wax and sugar wax usually require a strip to aid in the hair removal process.
Aftereffects of Waxing
Immediately after waxing, your skin may experience some redness and sensitivity. This is normal and typically subsides within a few hours.
While your skin recovers from a waxing, you should be gentle and avoid activities that can cause further irritation, such as swimming, for at least 24-48 hours.
Following a waxing procedure, you can expect smooth skin and slower hair growth. To maintain the results, it’s a good idea to gently exfoliate the area between appointments to help prevent ingrown hairs.
Why Post-Wax Care Matters
Protecting Your Skin After Waxing
Taking proper care of your skin after waxing is necessary to ensure the longevity of the results and to prevent irritation and other possible issues.
After waxing, your skin becomes more sensitive and vulnerable, which may lead to infections, irritation, redness, and ingrown hairs. That’s why it is crucial for you to treat your freshly waxed skin carefully and avoid certain activities, like swimming, for a specific period of time.
Common Post-Wax Care Tips
Here are some common post-wax care tips to help your skin recover faster and stay healthy:
- Avoiding heat and friction: Keep your skin cool and friction-free to reduce the risk of irritation and ingrown hairs. That means no hot tubs and staying out of the sun.
- Gentle skin products: Use gentle, fragrance-free skin products to minimize irritation and sensitivity.
- Loose clothing: Opt for loose clothing made from natural materials to allow your skin to breathe and avoid chafing.
- Sunscreen: If you need to go outdoors, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays or wear UV protective clothing.
Other Activities to Avoid Post-Wax
In addition to swimming, there are a few other activities you should avoid for 24-48 hours after waxing:
- Intense physical activity: High-intensity workouts can make you sweat and cause friction, increasing the chance of irritation.
- Sunbathing and tanning: Freshly waxed skin is more sensitive to the sun and prone to burns; avoid sun exposure as much as possible.
- Hot baths, saunas, and steam rooms: These can cause excess heat and make your skin more prone to infections.
- Yoga and tight clothes: Tight clothing, like leggings, and activities such as yoga can cause friction and irritate your skin.
- Oils and moisturizer: These products can clog your pores with harsh chemicals too soon after a wax. Wait at least 24 hours before applying them.
- Exfoliate: Your skin is extremely sensitive and your pores are exposed after getting waxed. Wait at least 24 hours before doing so.
How Waxing Affects Swimming
Risks of Swimming Right After Waxing
Swimming right after waxing can increase the risks of irritation and infections. Keep in mind that your newly waxed skin is more sensitive, and the combination of chlorine, saltwater, and bacteria exposure in pool water can exacerbate this sensitivity.
You should only expose your waxed skin to clean water, i.e. from your own shower stall, and avoid any other source of water.
Even chlorinated water from the pool is not as safe as you might think, since it can take chlorine a few hours to eliminate some bacteria, and fresh bacteria is constantly introduced to the pool each time someone enters the pool.
If the bacteria gets into your wound, you can easily get an infection, hence why it is risky to go swimming right after waxing.
Ideal Wait Time Before Swimming Post-Wax
To give your skin a chance to recover and protect itself, it’s best to wait at least 24-48 hours after waxing before diving into a pool or ocean.
During this time, your hair follicles will close up, and your skin will have a chance to regain its protective barrier.
To facilitate a smoother healing process, clean the skin gently after waxing to minimize irritation and further exposure to pool water.
Navigating Swimming Events Post-Wax
For competitive swimmers or those participating in swimming events, it might be challenging to find the right time for a waxing appointment.
In such cases, try to schedule waxing appointments as far in advance as possible, taking into account the 24-48 hour waiting period before swimming.
If you cannot avoid swimming shortly after waxing, consider using a gentle, protective barrier cream on your waxed areas to minimize irritation and keep your skin safe.
Otherwise, you may have to settle for shaving your hair, using hair removal cream, or some other method of hair removal that you can do alone or with the help of a family member or friend, as this gives you more control over when you can remove your hair.
Special Considerations for Swimmers
What to do if you Must Swim Soon After Waxing
If you absolutely must swim soon after waxing, take some precautions to minimize risks. Start by keeping the affected area clean and dry.
Apply a protective barrier, like an ointment or hydrocortisone cream, to soothe irritation and ward off bacteria. When you’re at the pool, take steps to reduce your time in the water:
- Swim gently to minimize friction on the waxed area
- Rinse off immediately after swimming and pat dry with a clean towel
Note that despite these measures, it’s still best to wait 24-48 hours after waxing before swimming to allow your skin time to heal and avoid irritation or infection.
Tips for Regular Waxing Swimmers
As a casual swimmer who waxes, while you don’t have the pressure of timing your waxing appointment so that it’s 1-2 days before a swim meet, it’s still a good idea to have a plan. Here are some tips to help you make waxing a seamless part of your swimming routine:
- Plan ahead: Aim for a window of at least one to two days before swimming. You may even have to skip a day of swimming to recover from a waxing appointment, something you have the luxury to do as a casual swimmer.
- Double down on pre- and post-wax care: Exfoliate before your waxing treatment to prevent ingrown hairs and follow a proper aftercare routine to minimize irritation and healing time.
- Consider alternative methods: If you have a sensitive skin type, consider alternative hair removal methods like laser hair removal or electrolysis, which tend to be gentler on the skin and may better suit your swimming schedule.
Regardless of the type of wax you choose (e.g., bikini wax, Brazilian), prioritizing skincare and planning with your swim schedule in mind can help you maintain your waxing and swimming routine successfully.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take a shower or bath immediately after waxing?
After waxing, it’s recommended to wait at least 24 hours before taking a hot shower or bath. This is because the heat can open the pores, potentially leading to irritation or infection. However, a lukewarm or cool shower is typically fine and can actually help soothe the skin, though you should still wait a couple of hours to let your skin breathe after waxing.
Can the type of water (chlorine, salt, fresh) affect my waxed skin?
Yes, the type of water can indeed impact your waxed skin. Both chlorinated water from swimming pools and salt water from the ocean can potentially dry out and irritate recently waxed skin. Freshwater sources, like lakes or rivers, can carry bacteria, which can increase the risk of infection in waxed areas where the skin is more vulnerable.
How can I protect my waxed skin if I have to swim soon after?
If you absolutely have to swim after waxing, it’s recommended to apply a waterproof, skin-protecting barrier cream to the waxed area to reduce the risk of irritation and infection. Always clean the area thoroughly with a gentle, non-alcoholic cleanser immediately after swimming, then apply a soothing lotion or aloe vera gel to calm the skin.
Does the area of the body that was waxed influence the wait time before I can swim?
The wait time before swimming can indeed be influenced by the area that was waxed. More sensitive areas, such as the bikini line or underarms, might require a longer wait time as they can be more prone to irritation and are often more exposed to water while swimming. The exact time can vary based on individual skin reaction and sensitivity.
What are the potential signs of irritation or infection after swimming post-wax?
Signs of irritation can include redness, itching, and a burning sensation in the waxed area. In case of infection, these symptoms may be accompanied by swelling, pus, increased pain, and possibly fever. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional immediately.