Hair removal - treatments and options explained
It’s believed that women can spend more than 1,700 hours of their lifetime shaving their legs alone. So, is it any wonder that hair removal is one of the most searched for cosmetic treatments on the planet today?
Body and facial hair, and what you do with it, is a completely personal choice.
And whether you have fair skin and dark hair, darker tones and more natural textures, or you’re experiencing hirsutism from conditions such as PCOS or certain medications, we all have different types to work with.
No matter, if your preference is a more hair-free look and feel, it’s likely your self-confidence – and free time – which will benefit if you find a hair removal technique that lasts.
So, what are some of the best hair removal methods?
Hair removal basics
Hair removal is a part of many people’s regular skincare and beauty regimes – whether it’s tweezing, shaving, waxing or the occasional laser treatment. And you can have hair removed from any part of your body you want. There really is something for everyone.
- We have two different types of body hair – terminal and vellus. Terminal hair is thicker and tends to grow in armpits and beards, while vellus hair is finer – and appears on areas like the arms.
- The area and hair type will influence which treatment is most suitable – from success rates, to cost, to how painful it might be.
How you might get rid of unwanted hair?
Choosing your preferred hair removal technique can take some thought and time with so many options available. It’s all about finding what’s right for you.
Affordable, convenient and usually straightforward, shaving is the most common starting point for hair removal. However, the results are temporary, sometimes not even lasting a full 24 hours, so you’ll most likely have to shave every day, or every few days, depending on your personal hair growth.
Ideal for smaller areas, such as the upper lip, eyebrows, armpits and pubic area, waxing can also be used on larger areas like your legs or chest and can be done at home or in a salon.
The results usually last longer than shaving – typically around three weeks. However, you’ll need to let hair grow back to about a quarter of an inch before you can re-wax.
For a more natural alternative to home waxing, consider sugaring. Using a mixture of lemon juice, sugar and water, the wax-like paste is spread onto the skin and pulled in the direction of hair growth to gently remove the hair.
Hair removal creams
Hair removal or depilatory creams contain chemicals that break down the keratin bonds in your hair. Once applied and left on your body for the recommended time (usually around five minutes), you can wipe or rinse the hairs off your skin.
This method is still a temporary fix – hair usually grows back after a few days – and it tends to leave a strong odour from the chemicals.
An epilator contains tiny mechanical tweezers that pluck your hairs straight from the root for fuzz-free results that can last up to four weeks.
It can be an uncomfortable process, however, the more you use the epilator, the less painful it will eventually become.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) devices
IPL is a safe and affordable option that offers long-lasting hair-removal results. Using a series of pulses, the IPL device emits waves that target and weaken your hair follicles – reducing future growth by about 80 per cent.
Arrange a consultation to discuss your skin type, as many light and laser-based treatments use skin tone and hair colour to determine the location of follicles.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser treatment is one of the most popular procedures for semi-permanent hair removal.
It usually requires around four sessions, four to six weeks apart, before you start to see results. And while at home-devices are available, for the best results, invest in professional treatment at a clinic.
The technology is constantly evolving for different hair shades and skin types, so speak to your clinician in advance to determine what might work best for you.
Learn more about laser hair removal treatments.
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution across a wide range of skin and hair types, electrolysis can be an excellent choice – though it tends to take longer than laser treatment.
There are two main types:
- Galvanic – this sends an electric current into each follicle and creates a chemical reaction to destroy the hair bulb.
- Thermolytic – this uses the electric current to create friction and generate heat that kills the hair follicle.
The type of electrolysis treatment used will usually depend on your clinician, but they should make this clear in the initial consultation.
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