Among many other things, TikTok has become a way for users to share beauty and grooming tips — although not always for the better, as the recent Gorilla Glue challenge showed us. Hot on the heels of that TikTok sensation now comes the full face wax trend. While proponents swear by the procedure’s skincare benefits, medical professionals are a bit more skeptical of this skin-peeling trend.
The bizarre video clips show participants having hot wax poured all over their faces, covering their eyes, nose and ears. The wax is then allowed to harden before it is peeled off of the skin.
The most popular face wax videos have been shared to TikTok by Dutch barbershop Kapsalon Freedom. The business’ account, which currently boasts more than 800,000 followers, is full of face waxing clips, many having been viewed thousands or even millions of times.
While it’s unclear what the benefit of full face waxing is supposed to be, Kapsalon Freedom barber Renaz Ismael told the BBC that skin waxing is common in the Middle East. Full face waxing, however, was his idea.
“I am the first person in the world who has done whole waxing,” Ismael said. “It’s not bad for your skin.”
Experts Weigh In
Despite Ismael’s assurances, several dermatologists have spoken up against full face waxing, including Dr. Anjali Mahto of the British Association of Dermatologists.
“Waxing is a traumatic process for the skin, especially sensitive areas such as those found around the eyes,” Dr. Mahto told Yahoo News. “These areas can become inflamed and irritated, in some cases tiny pimples or pus-filled bumps could develop as a result. This is known as folliculitis.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Emma Wedgeworth of the British Skin Foundation said the treatment was unlikely to clear up blackheads or other types of clogging.
“The wax will not get deep enough into the pore and even if surface pigments are removed, these will just reaccumulate,” said Dr. Wedgeworth. “There are far safer ways of removing blackheads.”
Dr. Wedgeworth also raised concerns about clips that show children receiving the controversial skin treatment.
“Personally I would not recommend treating children,” she told the BBC.
Dr. Mahto agreed:
“Children typically have more sensitive skin than adults meaning it will handle the trauma of waxing poorly,” she said.
In addition to concerns of skin health, some beauty experts are also pointing out a more obvious issue.
“Our first consideration would be that it could cause suffocation,” said Alex Echeverri, an employee at John and Ginger Salon in West Sussex.
“There’s no control element to smothering the face with wax,” she told the BBC. “And wax hardens. So it could harden in the airways and have to be surgically removed.”
The full face wax has joined the proliferation of bizarre beauty tips on TikTok that Dr. Mahto said should always be taken with a grain of salt.
“If you do see a beauty trend or challenge on social media, we recommend that you do your research on the potential side effects,” she said.