Surveys report that 80% of women and over 50% of men have unwanted hair in various body areas. In this article we will discuss what ways of hair removal are available and their advantages and disadvantages.
Types of hair
First, before removing any hair, let introduce ourselves with hair. We have different types of hair on our bodies.
All hair is made of keratin, which is protein also found in nails. All hair grows beneath the surface of the skin- we see only visible part; the root is hidden beneath the skin, in a small tube.
We all have vellus hair, some more noticeable, some less. Vellus hair is very fine, soft and short. Most women have it on face, chest, back, thighs. In women with darker complexity they appear darker, but are still fine and soft. Function of vellus hair is maintenance of body temperature by providing insulation.
Terminal hair is type of hair that grows on out heads, and when girl or boy reaches puberty, terminal hair starts to grow in the armpits, pubic region and most often legs. In boys terminal hair starts to grow on the face, chest, legs...
Function of terminal hair is cushioning and protection.
Excess hair growth
In some cases excess hair growth can be result of certain medical conditions: for example in girls polycystic ovary syndrome or some other hormonal imbalance can cause dark hair to grow on their face, even chest and legs. Besides medical conditions, some medications can cause excess hair growth, medically referred as hirsutism.
Types of hair removal
There are many types of hair removals available. Me and all my friends started with shaving, then we switched to chemical depilatories, some went back to shaving, some moved forward to epilation, waxing, and I guess only the most lucky ones to laser hair removal.
Shaving became popular among women in previous century; they shaved their underarms, and them with invention of sheer nylon stockings during world war II, we started to shave our legs.
Personally, I don't like the method, and wouldn't recommend it to my daughter. Shaving accelerates hair growth and this is the main reason why woman should stay away from it. Please, do not ever use shaving method on your face! If you have to deal with facial hair, it is best to use tweezers.
It is true, shaving is quick- and you are done with both legs and underarms in 5 minutes, but what's the use if i have to repeat the procedure second or third day again and again and again. No use!
However, if time isn't on your side and you think waxing and similar inventions are too painful, read on.
Generally, shaving is done against the direction of hair growth, except for sensitive areas, such as pubic region: in that case shave in the direction of hair growth. It will give you fewer skin cuts, but it can be also slower.
Do not shave directly on dry skin, because it can cause skin irritation. Instead, lather up and soak the body areas for a while prior to shaving. Some use foam, some shaving creams. Decide what suits you best.
Sometimes after shaving, usually day after shaving, areas shaved can become red and small red bumps occur. In that case stop shaving until the skin heals and the redness vanishes. If you don't stop, you risk further infection. Some claim that applying baby powder helps, but I wouldn't bet on it. However, you can try if you want: simply apply thin layer of baby powder on irritated area.
As mentioned above, tweezing is most suitable for smaller areas with unwanted hair growth, like eyebrows, hair above upper lip and some other small facial or body areas.
While tweezing, especially facial areas, you'll need mirror. Always tweeze in the direction of hair growth and always pull one hair at the time. If you feel like tweezing is painful, you can open your pores with a hot washcloth to make tweezing easier and less painful. Never tweeze hairs growing out of moles or nose hair- it is too painful and you can cause infection!
Chemical depilatories are also described as chemical shaving. They contain chemicals that dissolve the protein structure of the hair and cause it to separate it from skin. Before use it is recommendable to make a skin test, because chemical depilatories can cause skin irritation.
There are pros and cons of course: it is fast, rather inexpensive, can be done at home. Drawback is potential skin irritation and the lasting effect: it lasts a short time- this depends on the type of hair, but usually effects do not last more than 3-5 days, and considering the time the effect lasts, they are not cheap either. Some women with darker hair also report that chemical depilatories leave visible "shadow" of dark hair under skin. Most of them is also smelly and messy to use.
Mechanical epilator is a electic machine, which you turn on and run through your skin. The coils grasp the hairs and rip them out of your skin. This leaves you in considerable pain but also with very smooth legs that will stay smooth for a couple weeks. And this is the greatest advantage of mechanical epilators - you are worry-free for at least 2 weeks. Big advantage is also that hair that grows back (and it does grow back- do not get fooled) is thinner and sparser. Living proove that shaving does make hair thicker. After using mechanical epilator, shave your legs when hair grows back: you will surely notice the difference between hair after shaving or after using mechanical epilator.
But the procedure is painful and it lasts around 30-45 minutes for whole both legs, and outer parts of bikini area. Some use it in underarms area, but I wouldn't recommend it if you have sensitive skin.
Some people claim that pain gets less intense with years of use. I am using mechanical epilator for more than 5 years and it still hurts! Is something wrong with me? However, I've found that using this device priod or during your period will make the suffering even worse. Woman's skin is sensitive then, so make sure you don't do it then.
It pretty much has the same lasting effect and involves the same pain as epilators.
This hair removal system involves applying wax to clean skin and then ripping it off with cotton strips, and then hair comes off with the strips.
The biggest disadvantage is mess you have to deal with when waxing- you can get rid of cleaning by doing the waxing in the saloon. It costs of course.
And then gone for ever...
Many hair removal systems claim to be permanent, but only two of them really are. Electrolysis and laser hair removals are really the only ways to permanently remove hair, and both work by having the root of the hair destroyed. Both must be done by qualified practitioner and both may require multiple sessions to really achieve permanent results.
During electrolysis a metal probe into an individual hair follicle, which then zaps the hair with electricity, and killing the hair. Electrolysis hair removal has been around for many years, and it has been proved that electrolysis does offer permanent hair removal. Electrolysis can be painful and there is a risk of scarring and infection.
Laser hair removal is on the other hand more recent method of hair removal. Laser beam destroys hair follicles and impairs hair regrowth. Laser hair removal involves less pain is less time-consuming compared to electrolysis. The drawback is potential redness or pigmentation changes of the skin, besides the financial shock: laser hair removal namely costs couple thousands dollars, and there is no guarantee that hair won't grow back.