Wax play is a form of sensual play involving warm or hot wax, usually dripped from candles or ladled onto a person's naked skin. Techniques often involve using of various color patterns and elaborate designs are used to make body art.
There is a significant difference between individuals' tolerance for heat, which can also vary widely depending on where the wax is applied on the body. Additionally, disease, skin conditions, and medications may change how the body responds to wax pay and will therefore require additional precautions.
Removing wax after a scene may require the use of additional tools such as a flea comb or a sharp knife; use of a knife for this purpose requires special skills, though a plastic card can work as well. Consider that the skin beneath the wax may be more sensitive than when the scene began. This difference in sensitivity can also be incorporated into the scene. Be especially careful removing wax from areas with hair, since the wax is likely to adhere.
Types of Wax
When purchasing candles for wax play, it is safest to purchase candles specifically for use in BDSM scenes. However, if you know the type of wax of your candle, it might be safe to use for play. For example, most prayer candles are made of paraffin and melt at a relatively low temperature that is typically safe for humans. Below are several common types of wax used in candles and the temperatures at which they melt:
- Tallow melts at 110 °F (43 °C).
- Pure paraffin wax melts at around 135 °F (57 °C).
- Soy wax melts at about 140 °F (60 °C).
- Beeswax candles start to melt at about 145 °F (63 °C).
Stearin, a common additive in candles, makes the wax harder and increases the melting temperature. Taper candles, for instance, contain often contain high amounts of stearin and therefore melt at a much higher temperature than paraffin. This ingredient can be added to increase the intensity of wax used for play, but should be used with caution.
On the contrary, mineral oil will soften wax and lower the melting temperature. By adding mineral oil to wax, you can lower its melting point and therefore render it safer for play.
When engaging in wax play, remember that wax can cause serious burns if the wax is too hot. To mitigate the risk of injury, never use wax in a scene without testing it first on a small area of your skin. Furthermore, use wax that melts at a temperature safe for kink play. To control the temperature more precisely, you can use a crock pot. However, both crock pots and wax therapy spas usually feature heat controls, but not temperature controls. Consequently, the wax temperature may vary over time.
After wax melts, it may also pool and concentrate heat. To prevent against this heat concentration, wax must be stirred vigorously before pouring.
Regardless of the wax and the method of heating it, the temperature can be significantly influenced by how far you let the wax drip before reaching the body. The higher you let it drip, the cooler it will be when it lands. Increasing the distance the wax falls by 1 meter will drop the temperature approximately 5 °F (3 °C). However, greater distances will also increase the risk of the wax splattering upon impact.
In addition to controlling the wax temperature, remember that some areas of the body are not suitable for wax play (e.g., the eyes). Even if you are avoiding a sensitive area, beware that wax can still splatter beyond where you intend it to.
Beware that some people may be allergic to certain perfumes and dyes used in candles.
Make sure to secure your scene space to prevent against the risk of fire and be prepared to quickly extinguish should one arise. Whatever is above a burning candle can get very hot, even at distances that may seem surprising. Candles may also break and set fire to objects underneath or nearby. Wax is also difficult to wash out of clothes and bed linens. Use a large barrier such as a tarp or plastic wrap to help with cleanup.
The following factors are known to make those that are waxed more prone to “skin lifting”, where the top layer of skin is torn away during wax removal:
- Taking blood-thinning medications
- Taking drugs for autoimmune diseases, including lupus
- Taking prednisone or steroids
- Psoriasis, eczema, or other chronic skin diseases
- Recent sunburn
- Recent cosmetic or reconstructive surgery
- Recent laser skin treatment
- Severe varicose leg veins
- Rosacea or very sensitive skin
- History of fever blisters or cold sores (waxing can cause a flare-up)
- Using Tretinoin, Tazarotene, Adapalene, Azelex, or any other peeling agent.
- Using hydroquinone
- Recent surgical peel, microdermabrasion or chemical peel using glycolic, alpha hydroxyl, or salicylic acid, or other acid-based products