COVID-19 and skin reactions

“I was ready to quit doing brows altogether, after being in the industry for 17 years.”

I’ve been waxing brows for 7 years and I absolutely love my job. Creating beautiful brows gives me genuine satisfaction and allows me to engage with my innate perfectionism. These past few months have had me frustrated beyond belief and had me contemplating packing it all in! Why? Well, let’s talk skin grazes.

A skin graze occurs when a small area of skin ‘lifts’ during the waxing process, leaving a tiny patch of exposed skin, which can take a few days to heal up. A skin graze isn’t anything to worry about and is more of a minor nuisance as they can flake or scab as they heal, and nobody wants scabby eyebrows. Luckily this is a rare occurrence and usually there is a distinct cause. Ageing can naturally thin the skin and lead to easy grazing. Other causes are some medications such as acne treatments and anti-depressants, chemical treatments and exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs, retinols and actives such as glycolic and salicylic acid. Always disclose if you use these to your therapist so they can tailor your treatment if necessary.

Now, did I mention this is rare? Right, except recently they have been happening a whole lot more. I’ve been trying to figure out every possible explanation for the increase and even tried new ways of prepping the skin and triple checking my wax temperature, technique, everything! Luckily, just as I was contemplating retraining as a yoga instructor and giving up brows altogether, I stumbled upon a post in my brow specialist group that sounded like I could have written it myself. There were hundreds of replies from fellow brow therapists all experiencing the same issues, but only recently. Therapists with almost 20 years experience and never had so many skin grazes until now! It’s such a relief to have a support network where we can all put our heads together and figure out what’s happening. So, it seems as though yet another strange side effect of having the COVID-19 virus is an increase in skin reactions and sensitivity. People have reported changes in their skin allergies since the vaccine also. In the hair and beauty industry we’ve known for a while that reactions to products have been more common since COVID and have been patch testing religiously, but we never connected the skin lifting as well. Clients who never grazed from a brow wax before were now experiencing them. Unfortunately, because we can’t screen for this like we can with the medications and chemicals we can only be more vigilant during a treatment and also educate clients so they know and understand why this is happening.

So, you’ve grazed during your brow treatment. Now what? Your skin will be sensitive while it heals so avoid putting makeup on the area as makeup is rarely sterile (who cleans their brushes every day!?!). Instead, use a gentle, antibacterial cleanser on the area and then leave it alone to heal. Avoid the sun for a few days and allow the skin to scab or flake over and shed naturally. Basically you just need to keep the area hygienic and be gentle with it while it heals.