Wax Play

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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. Often techniques involving use of various color patterns and elaborate designs are used to make body art.


  • There is significant difference between individuals' tolerance for heat, which can vary depending on exactly where the wax is applied.
  • Wax can splatter into the eyes and other sensitive areas.
  • Wax that is too hot can cause serious burns.
  • Wax may pool and concentrate heat.
  • Although there are many web sites that repeat the same advice that color additives make candles burn hotter, actual experiments performed indicate that this is usually not the case.
  • The experience can be largely influenced by how far you let the wax drip. The higher you let it drip, the cooler it will be. Increasing the distance the wax falls by 1 meter will drop the temperature about 5 degrees Fahrenheit (3 C) with increased risk of splattering.
  • If ordinary candles are too hot, a special wax blend with a high concentration of mineral oil can be heated to lower temperatures in a crock pot or double boiler.
  • Adding stearine makes the wax harder and melt at a higher temperature.
  • Adding mineral oil makes the wax softer and melt at a lower temperature.
  • Pure paraffin wax melts at around 130 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit (54 to 57 Celsius).
  • Soft candles in glass jars usually have mineral oil in their blend and burn cooler at around 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 C).
  • Pillar candles are mostly paraffin and burn warmer at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 C).
  • Taper candles have lots of stearine and burn hotter still at around 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 C).
  • Beeswax candles burn about 10 degrees Fahrenheit (6 C) hotter than equivalent paraffin candles.
  • Temperatures listed above only apply when wax is in equilibrium.
  • Different types of candles and different crock pot temperatures produce different temperatures of wax that can range from warm and soothing to dangerously hot wax.
  • Crock pots and wax therapy spas almost always have heat controls, not temperature controls; temperature will vary over time.
  • Wax heated in any sort of pot must be stirred vigorously or there can be dangerous temperature variations. Some people may be allergic to certain perfumes and dyes used in candles.
  • Wax may be difficult to remove, particularly from areas with hair. A flea comb or a sharp knife may be necessary for wax removal; use of a knife for this purpose requires special skills, though a plastic card can work as well.
  • Whatever is above a burning candle can get very hot, even at distances that may seem surprising.
  • Candles may break and set fire to objects underneath or nearby.
  • Wax is difficult to wash out of clothes and bed linens. Use a large barrier such as a tarp or plastic wrap.
  • People with certain diseases, skin conditions, or taking certain medications may require additional precautions. The page on waxing for hair removal has additional safety considerations.


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 hydroxy, or salicylic acid, or other acid-based products