Beautiful brows: Why it’s important to know about the products you use

Posted by Monarch Plastic Surgery

Sep 21, 2015 9:30:00 AM

waxing eyebrows and using retinol skin productsBeautiful, bold brows are all the rage in fashion beauty right now. It can take some work to get the perfect look for your brows, and oftentimes you’ll use a few products to help. You’ve probably heard how beneficial retinol can be for your skin in reducing the signs of aging and giving you a healthier, younger, and fresher look. But when it comes to our brows, we also love to wax. It’s important to trust that the products you use on your skin cause more good than harm. Let’s take a look at how retinol affects our skin.

What is retinol?

A weak version of retinoic acid (tretinoin, Retin-A), retinol is used to reduce fine lines and age spots through an exfoliation process. In this process, fresh skin replaces the upper dull skin cells. Retinol stimulates collagen growth, leaving you with a smoother, more youthful complexion. But sometimes the process can be harmful to your skin.

“Retinol skin care products exfoliate your skin,” says Cynthia Bailey, M.D., a board certified dermatologist. “This means that the outer protective dead skin cell layer of your skin is much thinner, which is what it means to ‘exfoliate.’ That layer protects the living skin cell layers below from a variety of environmental insults such as sun, wind, harsh products and wax.”

When you wax, both your hairs and a dead skin cell layer are attached to the wax and removed. If you’re using a retinol product that removes or reduces the dead skin cell layer, some of the living cell layer below is removed when bound to the wax. It can be painful and damaging to your skin.

What are the side effects associated with retinol?

Using a retinol product on your skin can cause redness, irritation, and dryness. Your skin is sensitive after the removal or reduction of the dead skin cell layer, and you should be cautious of performing any additional exfoliation procedures. This means, avoiding waxing your eyebrows and having chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser treatments.

“Topical retinoids can thin the outer layer of the skin and make the skin more sensitive to trauma, including waxing,” explained Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research Joshua Zeichner, M.D., at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

What are the dangers?

You may feel a burning sensation after having your eyebrows or upper lip waxed. This discomfort often stems from a natural thinning of the skin caused by hormone changes during your monthly cycle and menopause. But if you’ve been using a retinol product on your skin, waxing can hurt a lot more. The skin cells become sensitive after applying a retinol or retinoid, which can cause deeper separation than normal during waxing. A good rule to follow is to avoid retinol products for at least two to five days before you do any waxing on the application area.

What should you do to prevent damaging your skin while maintaining your retinol and waxing needs?

Proceed with caution when waxing while using retinol products. Before visiting your waxing specialist or skincare aesthetician for a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or laser treatment, stop using retinol or tretinoin products. Ask a skincare expert the recommended cessation period before undergoing the aforementioned procedures to ensure your skin will not be damaged or hurt.

Pro tip: Use your retinol products before bedtime and apply a light moisturizer prior to application to reduce the side effects.

Knowledge of the products you use in your skincare regimen is paramount to understanding if your skin will be damaged by any treatments to remove hair or reduce the signs of aging. Be sure to research the products you use and learn if you need to reduce your usage before undergoing any eyebrow waxing and skin rejuvenation treatments.

Read more about retinol products and waxing on

Looking for the perfect skincare regimen? Visit the Monarch Skin Rejuvenation Center Skin Store to discover the products we recommend to our patients. If you have questions about any products or skin rejuvenation treatments, request a consultation with one of our skincare experts.

Topics: Skincare, Skin rejuvenation, Beauty

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