Eyebrows are one of those features that can either be left to their own devices, tended to periodically, or nurtured like a child. Depending on your goals, you may opt for constant shaping, brow tints, or you may even play around with a faux-bleach look or glitter brows just for the fun of it. 

Regardless, brow health should always come first. And as brow specialist Joey Healy recently shared on the Clean Beauty School podcast, one common habit can lead to accelerated skin aging if you’re not careful. Allow us to help spread the word. 

How waxing your brows can lead to aging skin.

Whether it’s DIY or at a salon, Healy says brow waxing is a no-go. “Waxing is rough on the skin,” he says. “There’s heat, there’s chemicals, and it removes the top layer of the skin.” Translation: That burn you feel post-wax is more than just friction, and it can potentially have long-term effects. 

“It breaks down the collagen and elastin around the eye area over time,” Healy explains. And when the skin becomes damaged like this, you may experience accelerated skin aging around the eyes (i.e. sagging and wrinkles). 

There’s a major double warning for those using retinol or on isotretinoin (commonly referred to as Accutane). With these factors, the skin is more sensitive in general, and even worse burning, rashes, and irritation may follow suit. 

For now, Healy says stick with tweezing if you can—it may take longer, but it’s way gentler on the skin, and it’s more precise if you’re looking to define your shape. Threading is certainly better than waxing in terms of skin health, but due to the nature of how the hairs are pulled out, you’re more likely to struggle with asymmetrical shapes. 

The bottom line? Each grooming technique has its pros and cons, so if you’re partial to a regular brow wax, we’re not going to tell you to quit the habit. Just know that because the eyelid skin is thinner and more delicate, you should be extra careful. And if you want to show your brows some extra T.L.C., you may even add a brow serum to your routine to encourage healthy growth and hair maintenance. 

You’re probably wondering: What about body waxing? Well, Healy explains that he actually isn’t against waxing as a practice in general. If waxing is your choice of hair removal for the underarms or legs, that’s A-OK: Your skin is thicker and more resilient in those places, so the damage won’t be as severe. We repeat: Your eye area is super sensitive, so you want to approach it with extra care.

According to Healy, brow waxing can damage to the delicate eye area if you’re not careful. If your brows burn and itch post-wax, that may be due to the top layer of the skin coming off—not just momentary friction. This, over time, can lead to your brows and surrounding area aging even quicker. That’s why Healy’s a fan of tweezing instead; if you want to try to DIY your brow tweeze, mind this tip from Healy before you get started