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Ask Val: Is There a Downside to Having Your Bikini Area "Sugared"?
A: It sounds sweet, doesn't it—having your bikini area "sugared?" As if you relax deliciously on a table while someone in a baker's toque carefully caramelizes your privates? Actually, sugaring works the same way waxing does, by pulling hair out by the root. (Not exactly a piece of cake!) But instead of hot wax, the aesthetician smooths a heated preparation of sugar, lemon juice, water, and sometimes glycerin over the skin before pulling it off with either her fingers or a strip of cloth. Dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD, clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine, says there's no evidence that sugaring causes less irritation than waxing, or that it's more effective. If you're not careful, you can have the same kinds of problems associated with waxing—ingrown hairs, skin discoloration, even a burn.
Keep in mind:Though you may have had a good experience with sugaring, you should still take precautions. Don't have it done on irritated skin, be sure the aesthetician uses a fresh pot of the sugar paste, and if you're having facial hair sugared, let her know if you're using a retinoid, which can make skin sensitive.
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