Unwanted body hair haunts both men and women. Although women are usually the ones who typically search for methods to get rid of unwanted body hair, there has been a growing popularity in male hair removal. There are two main types of body hair removal: temporary hair removal and permanent hair removal. The location where the procedure will take place depends on the type of hair removal you select: the comfort of your own home, a beauty salon, or a doctor’s office.
Temporary Hair Removal
Temporary hair removal removes either the hair above the skin’s surface (depilation) or the entire hair (epilation) without damaging the hair’s follicle. Depilation can last between several hours to several days, and epilation can last from several days to several weeks. If you are planning on using a temporary hair removal method in the depilation form, there are many types of razors and depilatory creams available at your local drugstore. If you are considering the epilation method of hair removal, it is best to have the process done at a hair salon. The most popular types of temporary hair removal are shaving, depilatories, tweezing, and waxing.
Types of Depilation
Two main types of depilation are shaving and the use of depilatories. Shaving is the most common hair removal method as it is inexpensive and fast. With shaving, a sharpened blade cuts hair at the skin’s surface. Although it is an inexpensive method, shaving is often required daily as the effects last a short amount of time and can create a shadow of dark hair under the skin and ingrown hairs. Depilatories use chemicals to dissolve hair at the skin’s surface. Like shaving, depilatories are inexpensive, fast, and cause the same disadvantages. Depilatories also can cause skin irritations from the chemicals used and often require testing the chemical cream on a patch of skin before use.
Types of Epilation
Epilation is commonly achieved through tweezing and waxing of the hair. Tweezing involves the use of metal forceps to manually pull hairs out by their root and is typically used for eyebrows and stray facial hairs. There are many disadvantages to tweezing, including the fact that it requires the use of a mirror and may cause ingrown hairs. Waxing, another type of temporary hair removal can be a painful method to remove unwanted hair. Hot wax is applied to the skin with a strip of cloth pressed onto the wax. When the strip is quickly pulled away, the hair underneath is taken away with the strip.
Permanent Hair Removal
Permanent hair removal results when the hair’s follicle is destroyed, taking away the ability to generate hair through that follicle. If you decide to undertake a permanent hair removal session, be sure to go to a doctor’s office for the treatment. The two most popular forms of permanent hair removal are laser hair removal and electrolysis.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal works when a laser is directed through the skin to the hair follicle, stopping the growth. Although the laser hair removal treatment is supposed to be permanent, many people need maintenance annually. This process can be a time-consuming and costly one as each treatment session costs over $400 and most people require multiple initial treatment sessions and annual touchup sessions.
Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method if the procedure is performed correctly. In electrolysis, a metal probe is slid into a hair follicle and an electrical current is sent through the probe which essentially damages the follicle so no hair can be generated. Although electrolysis is safe, it can be an expensive and prolonged process. A small area for electrolysis can take up to 10 hours and a large area can take up to 16 hours.
With an ever-growing popularity for hair removal methods, whether they are for cosmetic, athletic, or medical purposes, a growing number of men and women are investing in hair removal products. It is always wise to spend time researching the various techniques, especially if you opt for a permanent hair removal process. Keep in mind your budget and the amount—and location—of the hair you want to be removed. Hair removal methods can be inexpensive, expensive, last for a few hours, or last for a few weeks; be sure to pick the method best for you.
[page updated December 2008]