Folliculitis After Waxing Treatment: What is it, How to Treat it, and How to Prevent it?

Folliculitis After Waxing Treatment: What is it, How to Treat it, and How to Prevent it?

Posted by Diana Kissinger on May 12th 2024

Hey there, fellow esthetician! If you're reading this, chances are you've had a client experience some not-so-fun side effects after their waxing treatment. Don't worry, we've got you covered!

As estheticians, it's our job to understand what folliculitis is, how to prevent it, and what to do if it happens to our clients. In this article, we'll dive into all the details so you can keep your clients' skin looking smooth and feeling fabulous.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out in the industry, this info is essential for anyone who wants to provide top-notch waxing services. So, let's get started and make sure you have all the tools you need to keep your clients happy and coming back for more!


Let's break down the term folliculitis:

Follicul = follicle

Itis = inflammation

Now the definition makes sense, right? Folliculitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles, which can be caused by either a bacterial or fungal infection.

It usually appears as small, red bumps or white-headed pimples around the hair follicles. While it's not serious for most people, it can be itchy, sore, and just plain annoying.


Ingrown hairs only typically appear 24 hours or later after a treatment. These are not the same as folliculitis. A small amount of hair is trapped beneath the skin, causing an infection.

Allergies often show up at the exact same time as folliculitis, but are actually the least common issue that actually happens after waxing. If the bumps subside within 1 day and are not spreading, it is very unlikely an allergic reaction. However, if you are unsure, please consult a physician.


Folliculitis is usually caused by either a bacterial or fungal infection. At first, it may look like small, red bumps or white-headed pimples around hair follicles. The condition isn't serious in nonimmune compromised clients. It is, in fact, itchy, sore, and unsightly.

Severe cases or immuno-compromised individuals should seek professional medical intervention. The two main types of folliculitis are superficial and deep. The superficial type involves part of the follicle, and the deep type involves the entire follicle and is usually more severe.


Histamine or utricaria is the body's immune response to trauma or the introduction of an allergen.

How does histamine effect your client during a wax?

When we pull the hair from the follicle, we damage the follicle's surrounding tissues. It is this damage that triggers the histamine response. A controlled histamine response can help nourish and heal the injured tissue. However, the histamine response after waxing can become out of control. This is when it causes more severe irritation.

What does the histamine reaction do to your clients?

When a more severe histamine reaction occurs, your client may experience a raised histamine rash, razor bumps, or itchy, sore, and painful areas. Histamine reaction doesn't always present itself as hives. It can look like the picture on the left, and most of them will when it comes to waxing.

Histamine Reaction - Post-Waxing

Most common after waxing folliculitis:

Bacterial folliculitis. This common type many times can be associated with itchy, white pus bumps after Brazilian wax. It occurs when hair follicles become infected with bacteria. Staph can be a big culprit in bacterial folliculitis. Staph lives on all of us. This is the most common infection after waxing.

Bacterial Folliculitis

Ingrown Hair

Uncommon folliculitis you will see:

Hot tub folliculitis (pseudomonas folliculitis). With this type you may develop a rash of red, round, itchy bumps one to two days after exposure to the bacteria that causes it. Hot tub folliculitis is caused by pseudomonas bacteria, which is found in many places, including hot tubs and heated pools, in which the chlorine and pH levels aren't well-regulated.

Razor bumps (pseudo folliculitis barbae). This is a skin irritation caused by ingrown hairs after waxing. It mainly affects men with curly hair who shave too close and is most noticeable on the face and neck.

People who get bikini waxes may develop barber's itch in the groin area. This condition may leave dark raised scars (keloids). This can also be known as after Brazilian razor bumps.

Pityrosporum (malassezia) folliculitis. This type produces chronic, red, itchy pustules on the back and chest and sometimes on the neck, shoulders, upper arms, and face. This type is caused by a yeast infection. This needs medical attention as we cannot diagnose or treat.

Hot Tub Folliculitis

Razor Bumps

Pityrosporum Folliculitis

Forms of deep folliculitis include:

Sycosis barbae. This type affects males who have begun to shave.

Gram-negative folliculitis. This type sometimes develops if you're receiving long-term antibiotic therapy for acne.

Boils (furuncles) and carbuncles. These occur when hair follicles become deeply infected with staph bacteria. A boil usually appears suddenly as a painful pink or red bump. A carbuncle is a cluster of boils.

Histamine Reaction - Post-Waxing

Eosinophilic (e-o-sin-o-FILL-ik) folliculitis. This type mainly affects people with HIV/AIDS. Signs and symptoms include intense itching and recurring patches of bumps and pimples that form near hair follicles of the face and upper body. Once healed, the affected skin may be darker than your skin was previously (hyperpigmented). The cause of eosinophilic folliculitis isn't known.

NOTE: The previous 3 forms of folliculitis require you to STOP service and refer to a doctor. DO NOT service again without a doctor’s note.

Consult a Doctor As Necessary!


Proper post-waxing care, especially after Brazilian wax care, is essential to ensure a clean wax and prevent this type of reaction in clients.

This means always using a high-quality pre and post cleanser as well as a high-quality pre and post oil.

Be sure to treat all the skin in the areas you are treating. Your clients will appreciate the attention to detail you provided and the knowledge you have relating to preventing folliculitis.

Always take all the precautions you can to prevent this condition. However, know that even when we take the best precautions to prevent folliculitis, there is always a possibility that it could still present. In that case, we must help our clients through the issues they may experience.

How you can do that is by offering great home care products for them to use. You want to look for a product that has limited ingredients, doesn't contain comogenic ingredients such as kelp and is a chemical exfoliant. Manual exfoliants like scrubs and loofahs don't typically help drastically with folliculitis. A chemical exfoliant will work from under the skin where the hair or bacteria is trapped.


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If your client experiences a minor to moderate histamine reaction after waxing, making these recommendations to them can help alleviate the symptoms:

1) Change sheets
2) Wear clean shirts that have been washed with fragrance free detergent
3) Limit activities that cause sweating
4) Take a cool shower with an antibacterial soap 2x a day for 3 days

*You can also consider recommending that they apply a topical antibiotic and antihistamine, but only with the approval of their doctor.

If symptoms don't clear up in a few days, advise medical intervention. Be very careful about suggesting over-the-counter remedies. Word it just the right way to protect yourself from liability.

Why recommend an antihistamine if it is a bacterial infection? The folliculitis could have been caused by an after waxing histamine reaction and morphed to a bacterial reaction. Suggesting both ointments will alleviate symptoms of both issues.

You could phrase it like this to your client: "I would recommend you do the ‘the first four steps listed above’ as well as talking to your doctor about applying Neosporin or antibiotic ointment, and an anti-histamine ointment."

Treating Folliculitis & Beyond: Hive Tonic and Hive Daily to the Rescue!

Our Hive Tonic (Ingrown Spot Treatment) is perfect for targeting individual folliculitis bumps that look like they may become an ingrown. The salicylic acid is able to penetrate the dermis and has been shown to reduce inflammation. Simply apply a small amount directly to the affected area.

For more widespread prevention, Hive Daily (Ingrown Serum) is your go-to. Apply a thin layer to the waxed area to help your client's skin be happy and bump-free. Lactic, malic, and hyaluronic acid will help moisturize and lightly disinfect.


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The Importance of Quality Wax

The quality of the wax used during hair removal plays a crucial role in preventing folliculitis after waxing. High-quality waxes are formulated to effectively remove hair from the root, reducing the chances of ingrown hairs and minimizing the risk of post-waxing complications.

While a higher-quality wax may lead to a stronger initial reaction due to its effectiveness, this temporary discomfort is outweighed by the long-term benefits of smoother, healthier, and bump-free skin. When selecting waxes for your salon or spa, look for products that contain high-quality, natural ingredients and are manufactured by reputable companies.

For example, Honeycomb Wax Company offers a range of hard and soft waxes, such as their Professional Hard Wax (Wild Honey), Natural Hard Wax (Smooth Nectar), Petal Soft Cream Wax, and Smooth Nectar Soft Wax. These products are designed to provide a clean and efficient waxing experience while minimizing the risk of folliculitis.

Educate your clients about the importance of using high-quality waxes and encourage them to prioritize the quality of the products used during their waxing treatments. By investing in superior waxes, you can provide a better waxing experience, minimize the risk of folliculitis, and establish yourself as a trusted professional in the industry.


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How can you help your client with more severe folliculitis symptoms after waxing?

You must be very careful when you talk about treating or recommending anything for folliculitis or histamine reactions. Recommending specific treatments for after-waxing folliculitis could cause legal problems for you down the road. You do not want to get caught in a 'well she told me to and it went poorly' lawsuit. Do your absolute best to STAY IN SCOPE OF PRACTICE.

With that said, there are a few very general forms of treatment you can recommend. If your client is experiencing more severe symptoms of folliculitis, making these recommendations can help alleviate the symptoms:

  • Change sheets
  • Wear clean shirts that have been washed with fragrance free detergent
  • Limit activities that cause sweating
  • Take a cool shower with an antibacterial soap 2x a day for 3 days
  • Apply a topical antibiotic and antihistamine (only with the approval of their doctor).
  • After 48 hours, exfoliate at least 1x a day for a few days.
  • Do NOT pick or itch the area - this will certainly make the after-waxing histamine reaction worse.
  • A calamine lotion can help with itching.
  • Use a chemical exfoliant in between waxing.


As estheticians, it's our responsibility to prevent folliculitis where possible, educate clients about what it is, and make sensible recommendations to help them get past any trauma or allergic reactions from waxing.

By providing proper post-waxing care advice and using high-quality products like our Professional Hard Wax, Natural Hard Wax, BeeClean Pre/Post Cleanser, BeeSmooth Pre/Post Oil, Hive Tonic Ingrown Spot Treatment, and Hive Daily Ingrown Serum; you can help your clients achieve smooth, bump-free skin and keep them coming back for more.


Diana is the CEO and Founder of Honeycomb Wax Company. She formulated our depilatory wax and skin care line.