Herpes from an Eyebrow Wax?


If you’ve been reading, the internet is all buzzing about the latest beauty news scare to hit the wires, with the possibility of getting herpes from an eyebrow wax.

Jeanine Camerlengo of Staten Island, N.Y., went to her local salon for an eyebrow waxing, and, according to her lawyer Bruce Egert, the attendant applied the wax with “a terribly infected stick,” that had been “used on somebody else in a rather delicate part of her body,” he told the New York Post.

Some of the wax dripped onto the corners of her eyes. Five days later an ophthalmologist found she was “suffering from herpetic keratoconjunctivitis in her eyes,” the Post reported.

Contracting herpes from a wax is unlikely, said Dr. Lynn McKinley-Grant, a dermatologist in Chevy Chase, Md., but it is possible. source

First of all, the fact that wax got in her eye is very hard to do unless done by someone that just doesn’t know what they’re doing (as in way too much is applied and applied in the wrong way.) 

But it raises the point of how waxing should be done and the proper techniques that should be used to insure that you are safe when getting a brow, or any other kind of wax service.

What to check for:

1. Does your esthetician wash her hands or use hand sanitizer to clean her hands between clients?

2. When applying the wax, is she dipping repeatedly into the jar of wax? If so, ask her to apply another way, or just leave. This is rule #1 in waxing,  as in never ‘”double-dip”.  One way is to always use and apply the wax outside of the main source. As in remove what you need to another small container, and work from there. That way a single stick can be used and then tossed when done since the main source is not touched, or use new wax sticks with each and every application of a wax strip.

3. A used stick is a no no. Do you see a used one on top of the wax pot? Ask for a new one to be used.

4. How clean is the area that you are in? Are all tools clean, covered? Is the station area neat and tidy? If you see a mess, it’s best to just leave.

Another case has been shown to spread herpes from the lip to the eye by waxing, as in this story:

One concerning practice, said Lewelling, is when someone has a “cold sore on the lip, they get a lip wax, the technician puts the stick back into the wax, then the wax is contaminated.”  The herpes virus could easily be transmitted to the next person or people to be treated using that same warmed wax.  source

Again, always be sure that a new waxing stick is used each and every time, and that you’re not seeing your esthetician dip into the wax pot over and over.  I personally pick up the wax I use with a metal spatula, transfer to a cup, and then apply from there with a wooden stick.  A different wax stick is used if doing both eyebrow and lip waxes, and then all are thrown away, and the metal spatula(s) are cleaned in soapy hot water and then sanitized for the next use. Or I’ll use a large wooden spatula to pick up the wax, and then use little wooden spatulas to apply to the skin with. When done, all get tossed.

All in all, be aware of your procedure and how it’s being done.  If you feel less than completely comfortable, you have every right to stop the service and look elsewhere.