It’s not uncommon these days for teenagers to include waxing as part of their beauty and hygiene regimes

However, there is now a growing number of pre-teens of all ethnicities also turning to professionals for hair removal to make themselves feel more accepted in their changing bodies.

The reality is that social media plays a big part in our lives these days and kids are growing up in the age of Instagram and YouTube, which heightens how self-conscious they feel about their appearances as they enter adolescence.

Furthermore, some research shows that kids are going through puberty earlier. So, the question of hair removal and which option is deemed better starts becoming a burning question for moms and their kids probably earlier than expected.

Self-conscious and unrealistic body images

“We understand that when you’re a teenager it can be overwhelming to deal with the changes you are seeing in your body and one of these being the growing presence of hair”, says says Sharon Andrew, owner of WAXIT Ballito

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Sharon has seen a large number of teens frequent her wax bar, whether it be for pure aesthetic reasons or for sport.

“For girls with darker hair or skin, it’s a much more visible issue that may even come up at a younger age. And in the summer months when swimming at school or at leisure there’s often the added unease of girls not wanting hair to show through their costumes.

“As a mom myself, I want my child to feel comfortable and happy in their own body and to love themselves just the way they are. Unfortunately, society and the body images we are surrounded by on a daily basis look to promote smooth and hairless women as the ideal look, which is why girls in particular start feeling so self-conscious about hair on their bodies from a young age and the issue of hair removal starts taking root for some girls as young as pre-teens.

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Teens and the pressure to look perfect
Copyright: Iakov Filimonov

Waxing vs shaving?

On the question of which hair removal option is deemed better, while shaving is the most popular method of hair removal (cheap, quick, convenient and relatively painless), there is the risk of getting cuts, fast regrowth and ingrown hairs.

In comparison, waxing pulls hair out from the root, resulting in slower regrowth (three to six weeks) but can be more painful, and extra caution is needed to ensure the warm wax is not so hot that it burns the skin.

“Because we specialise in waxing and hair removal we know that greater care is needed when waxing younger skin compared to an adult’s skin. For instance, the skin of a teenager is thinner than that of an adult, resulting in a greater risk of sensitivities to products,” claims Sharon.

Teenage skin also reacts to heat more than adults.

“That’s why it’s better to have a professional waxing your daughter than using an at-home wax kit, where there is less control over the temperature of the wax and more risk of burning their skin. Not only can going to a professional help prevent scarring, burning and long-term damage to the skin, but we also are up to date on the correct products to use both before and after hair removal”.

 

Waxing vs shaving
Copyright: Andrii Starunskyi

A demand from teen boys

It’s not only teenage and pre-teen girls though that are wrestling with hair removal and the best method to achieve this. It’s also males in their teens that are becoming more interested in it too – particularly those who are considered very sporty.

Apart from younger generations being more open to the idea of waxing and shaving to remove unwanted hair from an aesthetic point of view – many young adolescents are doing it for sport so that surface injuries picked up from the rugby and soccer fields and even cycling can heal more quickly and easily. Swimmers even claim that a smoother, hairless body adds to their aerodynamic performance in the pool during galas and swim meets.

Finding common ground

Whatever the motivation is for a young person to want to remove hair from their body, it is a hugely personal one and something that both the parent and child need to find common ground on.

Where the parent plays an even more important role though, is making sure that if hair removal is agreed upon – that the safest and most practical method is chosen for the child when removing hair.