Hairy Today? Gone By Tomorrow!
How To Get Rid of Unwanted Hair
Hair where hair oughtn't be, according to the current dictates of American
fashion, raises many an eyebrow. And so, for cosmetic reasons, millions of
women, and a growing number of men, spend millions of dollars each year on
products and services that promise smooth, silky skin free of
"unsightly," "excessive" body hair. If you are one of them, you will want to check out the methods listed below:
Shaving is by far the most common method of hair removal for both men and
women. A clean razor with a sharp blade is essential for a safe and comfortable
shave. Skin should never be shaved dry; wet hair is soft, pliable, and easier to
cut. Contrary to what many believe, shaving does not change the texture, color,
or rate of hair growth.
Depilatories act like a chemical razor blade. Available in gel, cream,
lotion, aerosol, and roll-on forms, they contain a highly alkaline
chemical--usually calcium thioglycolate--that dissolves the protein structure of
the hair, causing it to separate easily from the skin surface. It's very
important to carefully follow the use directions for depilatories and to do a
preliminary skin test both for allergic reaction and sensitivity. Hair and skin
are similar in composition, so chemicals that destroy the hair can also cause
serious skin irritations--possibly even chemical burns--if left on too long. Consumers should be sure to read the product
label and select the formulation appropriate for the intended use, because skin
sensitivity varies on different parts of the body. Some depilatories are for use
only on the legs, for example, while others are safe for more sensitive areas,
such as the bikini line, underarms and face. Depilatories should not be used for
the eyebrows or other areas around the eyes, or on inflamed or broken skin. To
minimize the chance of skin irritation, they should not be applied more often
than recommended on the product label.
Tweezing and Waxing
While depilatories remove hair at the skin's surface, "epilatories,"
such as tweezers and waxes, pluck hairs from below the surface. Waxing and
tweezing may be more painful than using a depilatory, but the results are longer
lasting. Because the hair is plucked at the root, new growth is not visible for
several weeks after treatment. Tweezing is impractical for large areas, however,
because it is such a slow process. Women mostly use tweezers for shaping
eyebrows and removing facial hair.
Waxing, too, is mostly done to shape the eyebrows and remove hair on the chin
and upper lip although many women also have their legs, underarms, and
bikini line waxed. Epilatory waxes are also available over the counter for home
use. They contain combinations of waxes, such as paraffin and beeswax, oils or
fats, and a resin that makes the wax adhere to the skin.
"hot" and "cold" waxes. With hot waxing, a thin layer of
heated wax is applied to the skin in the direction of the hair growth. The hair
becomes embedded in the wax as it cools and hardens. The wax is then pulled off
quickly in the opposite direction of the hair growth, taking the uprooted hair
with it. Cold waxes work similarly. Strips precoated with wax are pressed on the
skin in the direction of the hair growth and pulled off in the opposite
direction. The strips come in different sizes for use on the eyebrows, upper
lip, chin, and bikini area. Labeling of over-the-counter waxes cautions that
these products should not be used by people with diabetes and circulatory
problems, who are particularly susceptible to infection.
Waxing--and tweezing as well--can leave the skin sore and open to infection.
Waxes should not be used over varicose veins, moles, or warts. They should not
be used on the eyelashes, inside the nose or ears, on the nipples or genital
areas, or on irritated, chapped, sunburned, or cut skin. A small area should be
tested for sensitivity or allergic reaction before treating the entire area.
Two types of devices use electric current to remove hair:
1. The needle epilator
2. The tweezers epilator
Needle epilators: Needle epilators introduce a very fine wire close to the hair shaft, under
the skin, and into the hair follicle. An electric current travels down the wire
and destroys the hair root at the bottom of the follicle. The loosened hair is
then removed with tweezers. Every hair is treated individually. Needle epilators
are used in electrolysis. Because this technique destroys the hair follicle, it is considered a
permanent hair removal method. The hair root may persist, however, if the needle
misses the mark or if insufficient electricity is delivered to destroy it. Also,
the stimulus for hair growth in an area is never permanently removed. For
instance, you can't control hormonal changes that cause new growth. Most people
would probably define permanent as 'never comes back,' but from a medical
standpoint that may not be practical.