Why do dermatologists often recommend threading?- Musings of a NYC dermatologist

Other than the types of hair removal that can be offered in a medical setting , such as light-assisted (laser/IPL) or prescriptions, there are other choices that people have that may by more appropriate in certain circumstances.  For example, non-permanent techniques of hair removal are often preferable for the grooming of the eyebrows as style and fashion of eyebrow shape and thickness changes.  The popular options for grooming of eyebrows are plucking, waxing and threading.  Why would one be preferable?

If you are a regular user of exfoliating products, such as topical retinoids (Retin-A (tretinoin) , Tazorac (tazarotene), Ziana (tretinoin), Differin (adapalene) or glycolic or salicylic acids, or even oral medicines such as Accutane (isotretinoin, Sotret, Claravis, Amnesteem), your skin will be more fragile and may be more prone to tear with the pulling involved with waxing.  If you recently had a chemical peel you would want to avoid waxing for the same reason- the skin is more fragile.  Years ago, when I lived in Los Angeles, waxing professionals would inquire as to whether a client was on any of the above products and have them sign a waiver if they insisted on getting the services.  This is the only place I’ve ever seen or heard of this going on.  I’ve also seen professionals who had a particular technique they used to wax clients on these other treatments.  Generally, in my experience,  most hair removal facilities do not ask.   This means that the onus is on the client to know whether getting waxed is a good idea.

Plucking is safe to do when on the above medications or products–only if your technique is good.  May people are very aggressive with the plucking also plucking skin with the hair they are trying to remove.  Sometimes it is difficult to pluck yourself safely on parts of the face that are hard to see- such as the chin and neck.  An alternative is to have a professional do the plucking.

I commonly recommend threading as a facial hair grooming technique for areas such as the eyebrows.  With this technique, that originated from India and parts of the Middle East, threads are twisted together and run across an area with the hairs being pulled out as they are unwound.  There is much less chance of skin trauma with threading.  People have different opinions as to whether threading or waxing hurts more, however, from my perspective, an area where the skin has been torn off hurts a lot too– and for longer.

Posted in: Aesthetic Services, Cosmetic Dermatology, General Dermatology