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A paraffin soak is a fantastic treatment not just for the skin on your hands, but for other health issues as well, such as arthritis. If you're in a hurry, you may want to indulge in this treatment without first removing your rings and jewelry. While you certainly can soak your hands in paraffin with rings on, it will result in a lot more work for you later and some jewelry will never be the same. Carefully consider the ramifications of soaking your hands in paraffin with rings on.
Understanding the Paraffin Soak Process
In order to understand why it does not really make sense to soak your hands in paraffin with rings on, you need to be very clear about the soaking process. For starters, you will carefully sanitize your hands using soap and warm water. Like it or not, if you never remove your rings then the area under them will not be as clean as the rest of your hands. This has the potential to lead to inflammation and it will detract from the paraffin treatment. Once clean, you will massage your hands with oil and dip them in the paraffin wax treatment several times to create an envelope of wax around your hands. The wax will be warm, but not hot enough to burn you. As you can imagine, neither the oil nor the wax will be particularly good for your jewelry, and as the wax builds up on your hands it will not treat the area covered by your rings. Once you have a solid envelope of wax on your hands, they will be wrapped in terry cloth or plastic bags and allowed to sit for about 15 minutes before the wax is peeled off and your hands are cleaned, leaving soft, smooth skin behind.
Rings not only interfere with the paraffin application, but they complicate the removal process as well. In most cases, the paraffin will simply be peeled off your hands. The presence of rings makes this more difficult, as paraffin will not peel easily off your jewelry. Also, it can remain behind even after scrubbing and irritate the skin under the rings in addition to dulling the shine of your jewelry. You will likely have to scrub more and harder to get all of the paraffin treatment off if you leave your jewelry on, thereby potentially irritating the skin on your hands rather than soothing it.
Cleaning Paraffin Off Your Jewelry
Not only does wearing your rings during a paraffin soak complicate the treatment, it also can seriously damage your jewelry. Depending on what type of ring you are wearing, you could permanently damage the item. If you are wearing metal jewelry, then you can remove the wax by scrubbing the ring with warm, soapy water and a toothbrush. You can also place the jewelry on a damp paper towel on a cookie sheet and melt the paraffin off in the oven. However, if the jewelry has stones in it then both scrubbing and heating have the potential to damage those stones. In some cases, extreme heat can actually damage plain metal jewelry as well. Furthermore, since you are going to have to take those rings off to clean them, you might as well just take them off before the paraffin soak.
If you are considering doing a paraffin soak wearing a ring because you cannot get the ring off, then try a few simple home remedies for removing stuck rings before you break out the hot wax. Lotion, baby oil, vegetable oil and even window cleaner will all make your fingers slick and prevent the skin around your ring from bunching up when you try to pull the ring off. If simple lubrication fails, then leave the oil on your finger and slide a piece of dental floss under the ring and wrap the floss snugly around the remainder of your finger pointing away from your body. Using the short piece of floss that remains loose on the inside of the ring, pull the ring off the finger as you unwrap the floss. This method is not entirely pleasant, but it's better than having your ring sawed off!
If your finger is swollen or discolored because you cannot get your ring off, then you need to deal with the problem immediately. A paraffin wax soak is actually the least of your problems. See a jeweler or go to the emergency room and have the ring removed with a jewelry saw if necessary. Failure to do so could result in permanent damage to your finger.