What is full-face hot-wax challenge? TikTok trend raises concerns and prompts warning from dermatologists
Dermotologists warned against putting wax in ear canals and nostrils, and that it risks damaging the delicate lining
As TikTok continues to grow its popularity, as do some of its trends. The latest trend to go viral is unique and has dermatologists deeming it to be too dangerous. Netherlands' Kapsalon Freedom barbershop's TikTok has reached more than 800,000 followers for its brand of unique videos, one of which is dousing its customers' face with wax and peeling it off.
The video clip shows a barber pouring gooey green wax onto the customer's face, including their eyes, nose and ears. The customer has wax-dipped Q-Tips inserted into his nose, presumably to extract nasal hairs. The barber in these TikTok videos, Renaz Ismael, frequently posts similar videos of his clients getting "treatments" done and claims them to be beneficial.
Ismael told BBC News that face-waxing is common in the Middle East, where he was born, but that he has taken it to a new level. He said, "I am the first person in the world who has done whole waxing. It's not bad for your skin."
However, experts say otherwise. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) telling BBC, "Attempting to wax inside your nose or ears is not recommended." An expert told the publication that TikTok should add a warning.
Reportedly, TikTok indicated that the videos are excluded from its community guidelines on dangerous behavior as they show skilled professionals.
Another stylist, Alex Echeverri, who works at a salon in West Sussex, told BBC that he was concerned about the safety while attempting the process. The beautician with over two decades of experience in the industry said, "Our first consideration would be that it could cause suffocation." He continued, "There's no control element to smothering the face with wax. And wax hardens. So it could harden in the airways and have to be surgically removed."
Dr Sarah Jarvis, a general practitioner, echoed the concerns and told The Sun UK that she would never recommend the process. "The whole point of wax is that it hardens as it cools. If it gets into the nostrils, it may block them, making it very hard to get out."
She added, "Trying to get hard wax out of ear canals and nostrils risks damaging the delicate lining, causing infection, inflammation, and possible damage to the eardrum while attempting to get it out. In addition, the skin of the face, particularly round the eyes, is very delicate. Hardened wax could bring eyelashes and eyebrows out with it and lead to painful inflammation of the skin."
Dr Anjali Mahto of BBC News also said that waxing is a traumatic process for the skin, especially for sensitive areas such as those found around the eyes. She raised concerns of copycat incidents noting that social media platforms have "the ability of quickly spreading health and beauty trends."
Some of Ismael's videos also show him performing the process on children. The British Skin Foundation's Dr Emma Wedgeworth told BBC that it was not recommended for children.
Many concerns have been raised over the rise of dangerous TikTok trends, including the Blackout and the Benadryl challenges, raising concerns among authorities.