Copyright © 2011. ©2020 Verizon Media. Submerging your hands in that oozy, silky-smooth texture of hot paraffin wax can soothe achy joints or just give you the back-of-the-neck relaxation tinglies. We Asked, You Answered. You might have also seen paraffin wax treatments at your local salon, in a pretty common treatment wherein customers dip their hands into a thick, white liquid, only to have the hardened shell peeled off. Describe 2020 In Just One Word? Technically, Trelstad said, paraffin wax is a cocktail of different chemicals that are byproducts of the petroleum production process. “It moisturizes not by giving the skin moisture but by creating a waxy film. For home use, you can also purchase a paraffin wax bath. In a 2013 study, Pakastani researchers studied the efficacy of paraffin wax baths as a viable treatment for post-traumatic hand stiffness. If you’re craving a slippery, waxy coating for your chapped hands or just love that paraffin wax candle, experts say there’s nothing to fear. A 2000 study published in the Physiotherapy Journal examined whether the application of paraffin wax to the hands of people with non-acute rheumatoid arthritis could be beneficial. According to board-certified dermatologist Michael Shapiro, paraffin wax has a long history of also treating many different physical conditions such as increasing blood flow, arthritis, improving joint stiffness and reducing pain when heated and applied/rubbed onto the skin/joint area. Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012. Paraffin wax refers to wax derived from coal, petroleum or oil shale. They function, instead, as “the equivalent of a chemical bandaid,” sealing the skin from further damage. Send us your idea for a post and if we publish it, you’ll get $100 cash. All rights reserved. It’s moisturizing in the sense that it keeps water in,” Trelstad said. Required fields are marked *, By clicking 'Sign Up' you agree to receive marketing emails from PUBLIC GOODS. Even if you can't be a professional chef, you can at least talk like one with this vocabulary quiz. This function is due to paraffin wax’s unique chemical structure. While the researchers state that more evidence is needed to draw any concrete conclusions, the study found that it could improve hand function prior to exercise, and could also help relieve pain and stiffness immediately after use. A 2013 study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that paraffin bath therapy reduced pain and tenderness — while also maintaining muscle strength — for patients with hand osteoarthritis. Your email address will not be published. A paraffin wax bath is a type of heat treatment used for both medical and cosmetic purposes. They are most commonly found in petroleum, and that is commonly found in your beauty and skincare products in the form of paraffin wax. Although this ingredient is widely used in cosmetics, candles and crayons, there is some alarming research that has caused controversy around the use of paraffin wax. Although the ingredient makes your skin feel softened and relieved from minor aches, Shapiro says that's about all it does. Photo Credit: Alexander Dubovitskiy via Getty Images. Some moisturizers work by hydrating the skin; others work by stimulating the skin’s natural ability to hydrate itself. It was discovered about 10 years after humans first began extracting petroleum, in 1867, when engineers noticed that chilled petroleum easily separated into a waxy, white substance. Nonetheless, some dermatologists say the moisturizing effects of paraffin wax are limited. There is an assortment of research that supports the use of paraffin wax as a pain relief treatment for several medical conditions. Paraffin wax is most commonly used on the hands and feet. While browsing through beauty products in the cosmetics section of your local pharmacy or convenience story, you’ll find that paraffin wax is a key ingredient in many products intended to moisturize the skin. "In skincare, paraffin is commonly used in its oil form and again, it is a derivative of petroleum," says Shapiro. Part of HuffPost Style & Beauty. ", Follow Us On Pinterest | Like Us On Facebook | Follow Us On Twitter, Executive Fashion And Beauty Editor, The Huffington Post. A kit that includes paraffin wax allows you to use the spa as soon as you take it out of the box. Hence the relaxed feeling you get during a paraffin wax treatment when your hands or feet are engulfed in the warm substance. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Paraffin wax, on the other hand, works by creating a barrier over the skin that prevents water already in the skin from evaporating. Similar cosmetic benefits are found when applying paraffin wax to feet. some dermatologists say the moisturizing effects of paraffin wax are limited, 2013 study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2000 study published in the Physiotherapy Journal, some beauty professionals putting it on a “no-use” list, inhaled particles of paraffin wax can be carcinogenic, said lead researcher Dr. Ruhullah Massoudi, How to Store Raw Honey and Prevent Crystallization, A Quick Guide to Eco-Friendly Light Bulbs, How to Remove Deodorant Stains From Clothes: 8 Easy Methods. Therefore, paraffin hand treatments are typically fancied by people with dry or cracked skin, as well as those looking to soften their calluses. “Epidemic” vs. “Pandemic” vs. “Endemic”: What Do These Terms Mean? III (of 15). Because of its slick texture, it’s often included in moisturizing products like hand salves or balms. Once the wax is removed, the skin is rejuvenated and has a silky, smooth feeling. The ingredient also retains oils that are produced by the body. And for normal beauty uses, inhalation risk is minimal, meaning there’s no regulation limiting its inclusion in normal beauty and skincare products. These areas tend to get cracked, chapped and dry. Nonetheless, petroleum has been — to understate the situation — a pretty disastrous industry for the planet (and the fate of humanity…), and it’s understandable if you’re a little queasy about products associated with it. After dipping your hands or feet into the melted wax, slip it into a plastic sleeve, followed by a thermal mitt (or warm towel wrap) and wait about 15 minutes to get the optimal results. Outside of its ability to protect and moisturize the skin, there’s also evidence paraffin wax can help relieve pain caused from a number of ailments related to the skin, joints and muscles. To cook in water that begins cold and then reaches a boil. From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about. Paraffin wax has several cosmetic and therapeutic benefits, making it a staple in beauty products, spas and salons. They are used to soothe pain from sports-related injuries. For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies and even asthma,” said lead researcher Dr. Ruhullah Massoudi, a chemistry professor in the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences. "It is not actually properly hydrating and repairing skin," he says. There are few rabbit holes as deep as the ingredients lists on your favorite household supplies. For this reason, she noted, people with acne or clogged pores may want to avoid it. These candles emitted alkenes and toluene, both of which could potentially cause harmful effects to humans. Medium-melt point paraffin (130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit) is used for candles that need to stand on their own, such as votives, pillars, and other molded candles. [But] paraffin is overall not good for the skin. You may have read the word "simmer" in a recipe or two, but what does it really mean?
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