Hair Removal Methods
On Apr 23, 2014
When it comes to hair, we either want more or less of it. Depending on your gender and genetics, body hair may become an issue that needs to be addressed. While there are many methods of hair removal, such as waxing and shaving; men and women tend to choose different methods of hair removal. Women tend to lean more toward plucking and waxing whereas men choose to shave off the unwanted body hair via razor blade or with hair removal cream. This article will discuss some popular ways to remove body hair and possibly enlighten our readers about some alternative methods as well.
One of the most popular methods in hair removal is shaving. Shaving is commonly used to temporarily remove hair on your face, underarms, legs and pubic region. Though shaving is typically painless and inexpensive, it does require maintenance every few days or so. It is recommended to shave with a lubricant such as shaving cream or moisturizing soap in the direction of the hair growth (“with the grain” rather than “against the grain”). Some of the drawbacks of shaving include ingrown hairs and skin irritation.
Epilation: Waxing, plucking, and threading
The technical term for waxing, plucking, or threading is epilation. Epilation involves the removal of the entire hair shaft and is the most effective method for temporarily removing hair. An important thing to remember is to make sure the hair is long enough for the hair removal tool; i.e. tweezers or hair removal strip. Threading on the other hand is an Indian hair removal method that involves the manipulation of strings in a twisting pattern to pull out unwanted hair. One of the drawbacks to threading is pain and possible scarring.
Depilation: hair removal creams
Another common method of hair removal is depilation, namely hair removal creams. Depilatories were developed in the 1930s for removing the hair from cattle hides. Hair removal creams such as Nair and Veet remove part of the hair shaft and are easy to use and painless. This hair removal method is recommended for your legs, bikini line, face, and underarms as they perform best when hair is at a reasonable length. Before using a depilatory, carefully read the manufacturer's instructions. A possible side effect from using this particular method is skin irritation due to potassium thioglycolate, the active chemical in these skin creams.
Laser Hair Removal
One of the longest lasting hair removal methods is laser hair removal. Lasers work by emitting a concentrated beam of light at various wavelengths, energy outputs, and pulse widths. The wavelength of laser used determines the skin structure which will be affected by the laser, such as veins, melanin, or water. Lasers used in hair removal are selective for the pigmented hair follicle which contains melanin. Laser treatment of hair follicles causes hair follicle destruction and retards future growth. This method of hair removal is suited best for light skinned people with dark hair. The contrast between the light skin and the dark hair provides for optimal conditions for laser targeting of the hair. It is also good to point out that multiple treatments are necessary to break down the hair follicle. Laser treatments can remove hair for prolonged periods of time, with effects lasting from several months to years. Possible side effects from laser hair removal are scaring and blistering. Please be sure to do your research and find a doctor who has the experience and expertise when seeking this method of hair removal.
Lastly, we will go over the basics of electrolysis as it is a very popular hair removal method as well. Electrolysis involves the insertion of a small, fine needle into the hair follicle, followed by the firing of a pulse of electric current that damages and eventually destroys the hair follicle. There are two different types of electrolysis, galvanic and thermolytic. The differences between the methods are as follows: galvanic hair removal chemically destroys the hair follicle and thermolytic removal uses heat to destroy the follicle. As with laser hair removal, electrolysis does require multiple sessions and could cause pain or scarring.
There are many different hair removal methods to choose from and each method has its own advantages over other the other methods. It depends on how much money you are willing to spend and whether the possible side effects are worth dealing with. There is always the option to leave the unwanted hair alone and deal with the personal side effects as well. We hope that this article shed some light on the different hair removal methods that are available. As always, please consult a doctor when choosing to partake in an invasive method of hair removal.
Katherine Giesen is a freelance multimedia writer and editor and currently is one of the assistant editor interns at Central Skin. She was born and raised in South Jersey and studied broadcast journalism in Florida. In addition to her interest in skin health, Katherine has a background in the culinary arts. Through her passions and interest, she wants to enrich the lives of others.