For the past couple years, eyebrow threading has been the go-to method of brow hair removal for many women. Which is why it was a little surprising when a Kardashian, the most trend-centric of celebrities, completely denounced it.
Khloé Kardashian recently wrote on her website and app that she never gets her brows threaded. Why? Well, she’s scared of getting herpes. “To shape [my brows] I wax and never, ever thread,” she confessed. “I heard the grossest story about threading! Someone had herpes on their mouth and then the client got it on their brows! I don’t thread because someone’s saliva might be going on my face!”
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While we have to admit it does sound pretty farfetched, it isn’t completely unbelievable. After all, a main technique technicians use is to hold one end of the thread in their mouths.
“The mouth method is a common method to threading as it’s easier to control the thread and the movements are smoother,” explains pro artist of Blink Brow Bar Jaimineey Patel. Patel understands that there’s an element of concern when it comes to using the mouth method, but she ensures us that in no way would the thread held in the mouth come in contact with the brows or skin. “The thread is placed in the mouth only to assist with the movement of the threading technique.”
That doesn’t mean a herpes outbreak along the brow is completely out of the question. New York dermatologist, Neal Schultz, MD, explains that it is definitely possible for herpes to spread if a technician holds the thread in their mouth and they have an active outbreak. “Many, many people carry the virus in their saliva,” he explains. “If your threader has an active cold sore, he or she shouldn’t be seeing patients.”
He also explains that there’s a possibility of giving yourself a herpes outbreak along the brow line while threading. “If you have an active cold sore and somehow you touch from [where the cold sore is] to where the break is, that’s how we autoinfect ourselves.”
Dr. Schultz explains that threading isn’t the only thing that poses a threat for infection. Anything that creates breaks in the skin can open up a channel for germs. “It is the pulling of the hair out—whether it’s waxing, plucking or threading—that can allow a channel for any germ (staph, strep, herpes) to get in.” Even more, it’s not just hair removal methods that can do this, but anything from scratching and popping pimples to microblading can break the skin.
Although he believes that a more sterile method should be used, he doesn’t think you need to be too worried about contracting herpes. “I still think we’re in the area of low concern,” explains Dr. Schultz. “There’s a difference between possibility and probability. We definitely have a possibility, but the probability is so remote you might be more apt to win the lottery.”
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