Spa Day 101: What is Paraffin Wax? 

Published November 15th, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Camille Freking

What is paraffin wax? | Differences between waxes | Uses | Spa Treatments | At home treatments

Paraffin wax is a type of paraffin that is used in many different industries. It is usually derived from petroleum and has been around since the 1800s. Paraffin wax can be found in candles, cosmetics, and food products like cheese and chocolate to name a few. In this article, we will explore paraffin wax, what it is, how it's made, what it's used for, possible side effects associated with paraffin wax use, and more.

What is paraffin wax?

Paraffin wax is a petroleum-based product that has a number of different uses including using it as a type of candle wax for the manufacturing of paraffin candles. It's also often used to make coatings for other materials, such as ceramic tiles and metal surfaces, where it can act as an anti-slip agent. Paraffin waxes are available at most hardware stores, but you should always read the label carefully before buying.

Paraffin wax is also used cosmetically to help with healthier skins, as an ingredient in beauty products such as lotions and soaps to give them a creamy texture, and it can even be found in some lip balms. Because paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, the same material that fuels your car's engine, it can also be used for other industrial purposes including waterproofing materials like flooring, coating walls to increase their fire resistance, and protecting metal surfaces from rusting.

parraffin wax

What is the difference between paraffin wax and other waxes?

One of paraffin's main advantages over beeswax is that it doesn't need to be combined with another ingredient for it to have a creamy texture. You can also buy paraffin wax in cream form, which has many of the same benefits as paraffin candles. Paraffin wax is also more affordable than other natural waxes and because paraffin melts at a lower temperature and it can be used for things that beeswax can not.

Paraffin wax is also great for sensitive skin because it doesn't contain any perfumes or dyes that could cause an allergic reaction in some people. However, paraffin does have a greasy texture, and unless you're applying paraffin to your hands, paraffin's greasy texture can lead to an unpleasant feeling on the skin.

What is paraffin wax used for?

Paraffin wax has so many different uses it would be impossible to list them all here, but today we will focus on its uses on the human body. Paraffin wax is often used both for cosmetic and therapeutic purposes and we will break those down below.

Cosmetic

Paraffin is used for a number of beauty treatments, including paraffin facials and paraffin body wraps. Paraffin is a type of wax that can also be added to many other cosmetic products such as moisturizers to make them creamier while still giving the skin a lotion-like texture. It is great for the skin and provides a number of benefits including being a natural emollient, softening to make your skin supple and protecting it from harsh environmental conditions like wind and cold, deep skin moisturizing, improving complexion by increasing blood circulation. Paraffin can also act as an exfoliant and remove dead skin cells which helps with smoother, healthy skin.

Therapeutic

Therapeutic paraffin wax treatments are also very popular in physical rehabilitation. Paraffin wax can help reduce muscle stiffness and soreness after exercise, decrease pain associated with arthritis and other chronic conditions, and improve circulation.

Are there any side effects to using paraffin wax?

There are a few side effects to be aware of when it comes to paraffin wax use including:

  • Paraffin's greasy texture can cause paraffin to rub off on clothing or other surfaces, so be sure you're wearing clothes that are appropriate for paraffin use if you're paraffin waxing
  • Some people experience paraffin's greasy texture on their skin as unpleasant, especially when paraffin is added to a product with an already creamy texture
  • Paraffin can also cause skin reactions in some people, especially those with paraffin allergies or sensitive skin

Besides those with sensitive skin who are allergic to paraffin, certain people should not use paraffin wax. If you are suffering from any of the following please avoid paraffin treatments.

  • open wounds, cuts, or skin problems like rashes, paraffin wax treatments should be avoided
  • numbness in your extremities, so your hands and feet
  • diabetes
  • poor circulation

If you are uncertain if paraffin wax is right for you, please consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider with any concerns you may have.

How do you treat someone with paraffin wax at a spa?

Many spas and salons have paraffin wax treatments and they consist of paraffin wax being warmed and applied to a person's hands, feet, or sometimes both. The paraffin is then covered with either plastic wrap or a paraffin wax treatment mitten, and the person will wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour with paraffin applied. Paraffin wax treatments can help with paraffin's therapeutic benefits and paraffin is often used for arthritis, joint pain, and nerve issues.

Can I use paraffin wax at home?

Yes, paraffin wax can be used at home with paraffin burning devices that are similar to paraffin wax warmers. These paraffin burners are usually electric and paraffin wax can be melted in them to create paraffin treatments for the hands, feet, or paraffin wax bath treatments. Paraffin bath wax treatments are available in paraffin wax kits, which you can find in many drugstores and online retailers. They will often have a paraffin wax machine for melting it and can even have paraffin wax refills.

Paraffin's uses are many and varied, but paraffin does have a greasy texture that paraffin wax treatments should be used with caution. Please be careful when at home to avoid burning yourself. Paraffin has a low melting point so it does not need to reach a temperature that you can burn yourself. If you have paraffin allergies or sensitive skin, please consult your pharmacist before using paraffin wax.

Summary

Paraffin wax is a type of petroleum-based wax that was invented in the 1800s and has many uses today. It is different than other waxes because it has a lower melting point and is used as a barrier against moisture. Besides industrial uses, it also has both cosmetic and therapeutic uses for humans. Cosmetically, it is used as a treatment on the hands and feet to soften the skin, exfoliate, and moisturize. If you use paraffin wax as a therapeutic treatment, it can help with stiff joints and muscles and many chronic conditions. There are some side effects should you use paraffin wax and these include greasiness on your skin from the wax and allergic reactions if you have sensitive skin. Paraffin wax is typically used as a treatment for the hands and feet where they are wrapped in paraffin wax for about thirty minutes to an hour. There are even do-it-yourself paraffin wax kits available at most pharmacies so you can experience the benefits from the comfort of your home. Should you have any other questions, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

References and Sources:

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Wikipedia

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