- Sugaring is a hair removal process that uses a lemon and sugar paste in place of wax.
- This mixture can bond to shorter hairs and does not adhere to the skin, so it is less irritating.
- You should opt to see a specialist to get sugared, since it carries risks if you do it yourself.
Sugaring is a technique that goes back as far as the Egyptians.
While Egyptians reportedly used it for religious reasons, people today typically use sugaring as a more natural approach to waxing.
All it takes is sugar, lemon, and water. The sugary paste attaches to your hair so that when you remove it, your hairs go with it, giving you smooth skin without the irritation of waxing.
But with any hair-removal process, there are risks to sugaring. Here’s a breakdown of sugaring vs. waxing as well as what to expect from the process and the risks involved.
Why should I consider sugaring?
Sugaring is similar to waxing because they both involve the application of a sticky material to extract hair.
However, their differences lie in the manner of application and the material used to stick to the hair may put sugaring at an advantage.
Here’s how sugaring differs from waxing:
Note: Hair breakage happens when you try to pull out a strand, but it breaks in two so there is still a tiny, sharp piece of hair in the follicle. It’s easy for this hair to grow back into the skin, causing ingrown hairs.
In general, sugaring is less painful and gentler than waxing since the paste targets the hair without disturbing or pulling on the skin, Weiss says.
Other potential benefits of sugaring include:
- Providing moisture to the skin because sugar is a natural humectant, which is a substance that draws moisture from the environment and locks it in the skin.
- Lower risk of scarring because sugaring irritates the skin less than wax.
- Longer time before hair regrowth because of the lower risk of hair breakage.
Although there are many DIY sugaring recipes available, Patel recommends getting the procedure done professionally to minimize the risk of mistakes.
For instance, the sugar paste should be heated to body temperature before application. However, on your own you might accidentally heat it too much, which puts you at risk of burning your skin, Weiss says. It also takes experience to heat the mixture to the right consistency.
What to expect in a sugaring appointment
You can opt for sugaring to remove hair in the following areas:
- Bikini area
According to Patel and Weiss, this is how a sugaring appointment usually goes:
1. The licensed professional will clean the skin in the desired area of treatment.
2. A layer of lukewarm sugaring paste is applied in the opposite direction of hair growth.
3. The paste adheres to the body hair in a few moments
4. The paste is removed with strips in quick motions, pulling the hair stuck to it in the same direction that it grows.
5. After hair removal, the technician will apply a calming lotion to reduce any inflammation.
“The entire appointment varies in length depending on what area of the body is being treated. It can take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes,” Weiss says.
Risks of sugaring
Like with any method of hair removal, you may feel some irritation and inflammation after sugaring.
There’s a risk of developing ingrown hairs if you have skin that is prone to folliculitis, Patel says.
If you have any of the following, you shouldn’t undergo sugaring:
- Skin with eczema
- Super sensitive skin
- Skin that darkens with irritation
- Severe cystic acne being treated with isotretinoin
“If you have inflamed or infected skin, sugaring could make the skin [condition] worse,” Patel says.
Compared to other hair removal methods, sugaring tends to have a lower risk of scarring, hair breakage, and skin irritation.
Refrain from attempting sugaring at home and go for an appointment with a trained professional instead, which can take up to 60 minutes.
If you have sensitive, infected, or inflamed skin, sugaring is not recommended.