Hair removal is an ongoing struggle for most healthy adults, especially as you age. While shaving is inexpensive and convenient, the results do not last — for some, even shaving twice a day doesn’t keep the stubble at bay — and require constant maintenance. Permanent hair removal options are costly, time-consuming and carry a number of risks associated with the procedures. Thankfully, there is a happy medium for hair removal options. If you’re looking for something that doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars every time you need to manage unwanted hair, but don’t want to be shaving every day, then one of these hair removal options may be right for you.
Waxing or sugaring. Hair removal options like waxing or sugaring may be done at home, but you will generally get far better results by going to a hair removal specialist in a salon. These methods consist of applying warm wax or a thick sugared substance to the skin, covered with strips of thin cloth or tough paper. When the substance hardens, the strips are quickly removed, pulling out unwanted hair at the root. Some report that this process is painful, though most people who go to a licensed hair removal expert cite very little discomfort associated with the procedure.
Depilatories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) explains, “Depilatories are highly alkaline (or, in some cases, acidic) formulations that affect the protein structure of the hair, causing it to dissolve into a jellylike mass that the user can easily wipe from the skin.” Over-the-counter depilatories are available in creams, gels and lotions and are seen as a pain-free way to completely remove hair that lasts longer than shaving. However, this hair removal option carries a higher risk of adverse skin reactions, with some users reporting blistering, redness or allergic reactions. The FDA strongly advises that all depilatories be patch tested. Apply to the back of the knee or inner arm, or a very small area of the most sensitive skin from which you intend to remove hair, wait a couple of hours to ensure there is no reaction, and then proceed with hair removal. When removing hair on very sensitive areas around the face or bikini area, make sure to use a depilatory designed specifically for those areas.
Tweezing or threading. While very effective, tweezing and threading are very slow methods of hair removal. Essentially, these involve manually plucking individual hairs out by the root. This isn’t practical for large areas, but work very well for facial hair such as eyebrows. There may be some redness and slight discomfort at the time the hair is plucked, or a chance of irritation and infection, but otherwise there is no real risk associated with this hair removal option.