Tuesday, 20 September 2016 09:46

Waxing: How Young Is Too Young?

Written by   Lilliane Caron, founder of Waxxxpress

There are many milestones in every mother-daughter relationship and hair removal is often one of them. Once upon a time, most mothers would not have had to worry about hair removal until puberty, but these days, the conversation may start a little earlier than expected. Some girls are too young to be waxed, but there is an exception to every rule. What is the professional's duty of care in these kinds of situations?

While most young girls experience a small amount of hair on their bodies, some girls as young as seven have excessive hair growth on their legs, arms, and face. This hair growth can be related to cultural and genetic factors, however, it may also be a result of the changing environment.

Children are physically developing earlier than before due to what they are eating and using in their daily lives. Foods are full of hormones and, as a result, girls are getting their periods at a younger age.

With social media being so prominent in today's lives, children are being exposed to things that would have once been beyond their years. They are seeing models and celebrities acting, dressing, and looking a certain way and often want to mimic that look. Furthermore, it is not just celebrities that are influencing today's youth; their friends and families are playing a big role too. Kids as young as 10 years old have blogs and Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube accounts. Adults understand that most pictures uploaded to social media are carefully styled with filters and that multiple pictures were probably taken at slightly different angles for a perfect shot; but young, susceptible minds do not always understand this fact.

The ability to differentiate between women and girls is becoming blurry. Children at school are surrounded by others who all have their own thoughts on facial and body hair. Some are bullied and tormented for hair growth that is completely natural. Hair on the body is not a new revelation; it is a part of being a human. Children should never have to worry about their body hair. With a whole new spotlight on hair removal and minors, professionals need to recognize and sympathize with this issue.

Professionals need to be able to spot the motive behind unwanted hair removal. If a child is being bullied or feels self conscious about their body hair, the reason behind wanting to remove it can often be understood. The main concern is that there are children that are simply jumping aboard the waxing train to be cool, not because it is necessary. When a child comes in with very little visible hair on their legs and without the supervision of an adult, things begin to get tricky.

In this type of situation, the professional should consider a few questions: Does the child have extreme hair growth? Is the child suffering from bullying or peer pressure? Does the child participate in a sport or activity where it may be embarrassing for them to have hair showing? Swimming, gymnastics, and dancing activities, for example, may require young girls to wear leotards or costumes that expose pubic, underarm, and leg hair. It is easy to see how this situation would be embarrassing for anyone, especially those lacking confidence as their body is changing. Each young client should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Most of the time, the decision for a child to be waxed or not will come down to the mother, some of whom want their children to start waxing early. They may have their own insecurities from when they were a child or feel pressure to keep up with what other mothers are doing.

It is the parent's role to identify issues and educate and guide their children along the right path. While it is not the professional's place to judge any parent on these decisions, it is their place to be there as a guide for mothers and their daughters and offer them advice and education about hair removal. Children often do not realize that waxing requires regular maintenance and that once they have started, they could be getting waxed for the next 50 years. Professional's need to highlight the bigger picture so children understand that waxing is not just a one-time treatment, but a commitment they need to be ready to make.

When it comes to children, professionals should set aside their business motivations. While they want to secure their business, in these contentious cases, they are dealing with young, impressionable minds. If the professional is standing two feet away and cannot see any hair, then there is no hair that needs to be removed. It ultimately comes down to using common sense. It is the professional's right to say no if they do not feel comfortable removing the hair, especially if the child is pre-pubescent or there is no guardian approval involved. You can always look at enforcing a policy for the spa such as, "Children under the age of 16 may not get waxed without parental consent." These policies protect the professional and the spa from backlash.

The last thing anyone wants is young girls sneaking around behind their parents' backs or attempting shaving at home with no supervision or experience. At least if they are starting their hair removal routine with waxing, over time, the process will help to break down the hair follicle quicker and cause less hair growth. Once they start waxing, they should keep up with regular appointments. With young clientele, it is generally not necessary to wax every four to six weeks; every three or four months is often sufficient, but, again, it depends on the child's hair growth.

Do not forget that there is a slight discomfort involved with waxing. Some children simply do not have the pain threshold to cope; this factor often depends on their maturity level. It is recommended to use a hard wax for delicate areas – such as the face, pubic area, and underarms – and a creamy, gentle strip wax for larger areas – such as the legs. Using a low-temperature, high-quality wax can help to reduce the pain associated with waxing. If the professional chooses not to wax a minor, they could try to offer them a treatment other than waxing to boost their self-esteem or make them feel older and pampered. A manicure, pedicure, facial, or massage is a lovely treat and could take their mind off hair removal.

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