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What are Paraffin Wax Treatments?

Diane Goettel
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Paraffin wax treatments are luxurious spa treatments that are intended to moisturize and soften the skin. Paraffin wax treatments are most often applied to the hands and feet as components of manicures and pedicures respectively. Paraffin wax is unlike more common spa wax that is used for hair removal on the face and body. That type of wax is much more viscous and bonds to the skin.

Paraffin wax is a softer wax because of the paraffin oil component. Because it is a soft wax, it melts at a lower than normal temperature. This means that the skin can be submerged in the wax without causing burning or blistering. Spa specialists melt blocks of paraffin wax in special vats. During these treatments, beauticians have their clients dip their hands or feet into the melted wax one or more times to coat the skin in a generous layer. The hands or feet are then wrapped in plastic, or some other non-absorbent material and left to "soak" in the layer of wax for up to half an hour.

Paraffin wax treatments are particular popular in the winter because they are warming and because they help moisturize dry and cracked skin. During these treatments, the skin is bathed in warmth, which helps the pores to open and the skin to soften. Because the treatments are meant to be soothing, calming oils are often added to the wax in order to add a dimension of aromatherapy to the experience. Lavender treatments are common in posh spas.

Once the skin has been allowed to soak in the wax and the layer has hardened, it can be pulled off in one solid piece. Because the wax is soft and contains oil, it does not become very stiff and does not adhere to the skin. Rather, after a paraffin wax treatment, the skin is left slick and soft.

People who experience seasonal dry skin often find these treatments to be helpful and relaxing preventative measures. Dry, cracked heels and knuckles can make cold weather unbearable. One or two moisturizing paraffin wax treatments can help a great deal during snowy months. If you are interested in purchasing paraffin wax treatments for yourself or as gifts, get in touch with the spas in your area to see if they are offered.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diane Goettel
By Diane Goettel , Former Writer
"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount Vernon, New York with her husband, Noah. They are the proud parents of a Doberman Pinscher named Spoon. Specialties: book editing, book marketing, book publishing, freelance writing, magazine publishing, magazine writing, copywriting,"

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Discussion Comments

By cgardner — On Aug 22, 2013

Is there a specific paraffin wax for facials or can you use the same you would use on feet/hands?

By CoffeeGirl85 — On May 02, 2011

@anon159316 - You should wait to tan for 24 hours after any waxing treatment. The skin is extra sensitive after waxing and could burn more easily.

By anon159316 — On Mar 11, 2011

What's the aftercare advice? Can you go in to a sunbed?

By shwesin — On May 23, 2010

Can paraffin wax be used for the treatment of leprosy? If it can be used, how and what is its effect?

By anon61012 — On Jan 17, 2010

There shouldn't be any reason why a pregnant woman could not have a paraffin wax treatment on the hands or feet. The wax doesn't enter the body, and the oils that are absorbed would be comparable to putting on lotion.

The main difference is that the pores are opened by the heat so they can be absorbed more readily. Of course, you might want to check with your doctor first, just to be on the safe side.

On a related note, diabetics should *never* have this kind of treatment or anything else that involves submerging the limbs in anything hot. I worked with a fellow with diabetes who used one of the home foot spas. He damaged his feet, requiring amputation. They couldn't get the infection under control and had to continue amputations up his legs until he eventually passed away.

By anon54646 — On Dec 01, 2009

how do you apply paraffin wax in detail?

By anon39144 — On Jul 30, 2009

can a pregnant lady have parrafin wax treatment

By anon27842 — On Mar 06, 2009

The paraffin itself does not enter the skin because the molecules are too large. It is my understanding that the paraffin heat causes increased circulation and opened pores and the paraffin itself creates a barrier and encourages the body's own moisture to be re-absorbed by the superficial layers of the skin, end enhances absorption of any lotions or creams applied to the skin before the paraffin application.

Diane Goettel

Diane Goettel

Former Writer

"Diane Goettel has a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in English from Brooklyn College. Diane lives in Mount...
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