To remove unwanted hair from the body is as habitual for modern woman as to clean her teeth. Usually, increased hair growth begins in puberty. Sometimes, on the contrary, it is revealed with the onset of menopause. Hair can be removed from the hips, legs, armpits, intimate areas, and sometimes from arms, upper lip and chin if there is hirsutism. In such cases, even the barely noticeable vellus hair begins to darken, lengthen, thicken and become more visible. Hirsutism is a hormonal and runs in families and may be combined with acne and hair thinning on the head.
There are a huge number of methods and devices that help remove unwanted hair — from the standard razor blades to sophisticated laser equipment.
We will consider the most effective ways of getting rid of unwanted body hair.
Laser Treatment for Hair Removal
Laser treatment for hair removal is a radical method of unwanted hair removal, with the destruction of hair follicles by using laser radiation (the light with a single wavelength with high directivity and high energy density).
Before laser hair removal, the consulting doctor selects the appropriate method for the patient. Skin type, hair color and texture, medication intake, diseases, and many other things are taken into account. If desired, the doctor will perform several trial flashes in a certain area on the body to determine the skin sensitivity of the individual.
Before the procedure, the hair is shaved off — the short hair shaft accelerates and improves the conduction of the laser pulse to the hair follicle.
The laser flashes last a split second, the patient feels the warmth and slight tingling. For people with very sensitive skin, an anesthetic cream may be applied to the area of hair removal 1 hour before the procedure. The upper lip, bikini and perineum areas are the most sensitive areas of the skin.
Immediately after epilation, the skin looks reddened and slightly swollen, this will disappear on its own over from half an hour — 2 hours. After the procedure, the hair removal area is lubricated with products to reduce skin irritation and prevent burns.
The duration of the treatment may vary from 2-5 minutes (upper lip hair removal) to 1 hour (legs and hips hair removal).
As a result of laser radiation, the melanin is heated and it destroys the adjacent matrix cells (hair growth area), blood and lymph vessels, and hair sebaceous glands. A few weeks later the hair shaft with the deceased “root” falls out.
Part of the hair follicles are “sleeping” (about 10-15%) and 80-90% are in active growth. For maximum hair removal (90-100%), a series of epilation procedures are required at intervals of 20-45 days, depending on the individuals’ hair growth rate. The number of treatments depends on the type and power of the laser system.
Basic Rules of Laser Hair Removal
The procedure is indicated for: men and women over the age of 18 years (it is strictly not allowed for people under the age 18 years old).
The recommended number of sessions: 5 or more (depending on the hair amount, quality, and color).
When the result is visible: laser hair removal effect is visible immediately after the procedure. Thin hair disappears in a flash. Hard and thick hairs leave behind a small burned-out site of the former hair shaft. These burnt roots cannot be forcibly pulled out for a week — this is the period required for the hair follicle to wither away completely, a week later the hairs fall out on their own.
The result of the procedure is considered to be favorable if 30% or more of visible hair is removed. Over the next 3-4 weeks, there will be a gradual germination of “sleeping” hair and the hair removal procedure will be repeated. After the second visit, patients report a significant reduction in the number of newly grown hairs, their thinning and even a change of color (the hair gets lighter). Ideal for hips, legs, armpits, face and pubic hair.
Absolute: (laser hair removal cannot be performed or it is useless in case of):
- Immune disorders and cancer
- Decompensated diabetes
- Personal intolerance
- Blonde or gray hair
Relative: (the procedure can be performed only after the consultation with the physician or after the elimination of contraindications):
- Acute and chronic skin diseases,
- Fresh tan (up to 14 days)
- Multiple moles in places of laser exposure
- Tendency to form keloids
- ARVI in the active phase
- Allergy in the acute stage
- Puberty age
- Burns, abrasions, scratches on the treated skin surface.
- Skin burns (they appear in case of poor cooling of the skin or incompetence of the physician)
- Folliculitis (it develops when the patient is inclined to increased sweating or in case of visiting bath or sauna in the first weeks after epilation)
- Allergic reactions
- Aggravation of herpes (occurs in immunocompromised patients, who previously suffered the disease)
After the course of hair removal, hair growth stops.
Photoepilation is performed using intense pulsed light. The absorption of light energy by the pigment of the hair is considered to be the basis of photoepilation.
To achieve a lasting effect, it is required to perform a number of procedures. They range from a few weeks to a month and a half. After the first session of photoepilation, the hair structure is already broken; eventually, the hair becomes thinner and less noticeable. In applying this technique of epilation, there is no possibility of ingrown hairs.
The photoepilation procedure is quick, painless and easy. The device is equipped with an integrated cooling system. Thanks to this system, the procedure is comfortable. The doctor selects the appropriate filter for the particular type of hair and skin on-site. The procedure will be performed efficiently if proper filter is selected. Due to the large area of the light spot, photoepilation is performed very quickly and painlessly.
Basic Rules for Preparation:
- Tan and solarium are contraindicated 2-3 weeks before the procedure.
- Do not shave vellus hair.
- A few weeks before the procedure, do not pull out the hair to be removed.
- Do not wipe the skin that will be epilated with the alcohol-based products 3 days before to the procedure.
- It is not recommended to take tetracycline antibiotics several weeks before the procedure.
The procedure is indicated for: those with light skin and dark hair. The dark hair contains more melanin, to which the light reacts. Accordingly, these hairs are removed the best. Photoepilation is much less suitable for the blondes. There are cases when cosmetologists advise to color the blonde hair dark and then perform photoepilation. Is suitable for any area of hair on legs, arms, face and pubic hair.
Recommended number of sessions: it takes from 3 to 8 treatments to achieve the desired result. The interval between the sessions depends on your hair growth rate. A slow period of hair growth and thinning are the effects of photoepilation, so the interval between the sessions is gradually increased. The less hair that remains on the body, the longer the interval between treatments is.
When the result is visible: after the first procedure, about 30% of hair usually falls out. The remaining hair falls out, a little after each procedure. Keep in mind that the length of hair before the procedure should be 1-5 millimeters.
There are 2 types of contraindications for photoepilation:
People who suffer acute and chronic skin diseases, decompensated stages of diabetes, and hypertension cannot perform photoepilation. The procedure is prohibited in the case of herpes, keloid disease, skin diseases, or cardiac diseases.
This type includes pregnancy, varicose veins.
The main difference between electrolysis and other types of hair removal is that the electrolysis treatment is suitable for hair of any color and type. This procedure allows you to permanently remove hair on any part of the body. Both hard hair and vellus hair are removed equally effectively.
This method of hair removal is tested by an age-old practice. The first experiments on the removal of ingrown hairs were performed by Charles Michel using electrolysis in 1869.
It is only possible to achieve the full 100% result of the electrolysis for a few sessions, which are performed with the growth of “reserve” hair. The procedure is as follows: a thin needle is introduced into the hair follicle; where a weak current is then passed through it. The method may be applied to virtually any area of the body and face, except armpits and pubic hair (due to the accumulation of a large number of lymph nodes and very sensitive skin in this area).
The ideal length of hair for this procedure is from 4 to 6 mm at the most. Before the procedure, make sure that all the hairs on the body have germinated and there are no ingrown hairs.
Types of Electrolysis
In electrolysis, electrodes are used. Depending on the choice of the electrode, there are different types of electrolysis:
Pincer method — Each hair is individually gripped with a pincer electrode, where an electric current is then passed through the hair. This method is painless and can be used in areas, sensitive to pain (mustaches and electrolysis of bikini area). But it does have its drawbacks — the removal of each hair takes about 2 minutes, so it is not used in areas with abundant hair.
Needle method — Special needle electrodes are used for hair removal, their thickness does not exceed 0,1 mm. The needles are made of different materials (nickel-chromium, gold, Teflon-coated) and are of different thickness and shapes (straight and curved).
The needles have some differences in their use, as well as their own advantages, which include:
- Medical needles are used for healthy skin and for those patients, who tolerate the electrolysis procedure well.
- Needles with Teflon insulation are applied to the skin of those with a low pain tolerance. The advantage of these needles is that they do not cause burns.
- Needles coated with gold are used mainly in those patients who have allergic reactions.
Preparation for the procedure: No special preparation before the electrolysis is required. Exfoliation can be implemented to the areas, which will be subject to this procedure, along with a hot bath.
Do not forget about the recommended length of hair (not less than 2,5 mm). The longer the hair is, the easier and faster it is to get into the follicle. Forget about shaving and waxing for a while at home.
Before the procedure, you have to agree with the doctor about the pain relief method. This can be a special injection. Another option — you can apply an anesthetic cream on your own accord.
The procedure is indicated for: Any! – Hair can be removed in any area of the body using electrolysis. The electrolysis destroys hairs of any thickness and color. That is, you can remove gray, hard, bright or vellus hairs in this way.
Recommended number of sessions: The number of electrolysis procedures is individual for each person. This is largely dependent on the type of hair, its hardness, and the growth areas. Depending on these factors, you may need from 3 to 7 procedures. For example, you can get rid of the hair on the legs and hips the fastest about 3-4 procedures. To create the perfect eyebrow line, you will need 7 procedures. The hair on the upper lip is the most stubborn. To get rid of it completely, there will need to be at least 7 procedures performed. You should remember that you need to withstand 1.5 — 2 months between electrolysis procedures to allow the hair to grow back.
To completely get rid of unwanted hair, it is required to perform at least 3-4 full courses.
When the result is visible: The result in the treated area will be visible after a few treatments.
Contraindications: The procedure has its contraindications:
- Skin diseases (acute or chronic)
- Diabetes in the decompensated stage
- Heart diseases (ischemic or hypertensive)
- Infectious diseases
- Cancer tumors or diseases
- A pacemaker
- Current personal intolerance
- In the case of electrolysis of intimate areas — the presence of an intrauterine device
- Varicose veins
Comparison of Laser Hair Removal, Photoepilation, and Electrolysis
|Parameters||Electrolysis||Photoepilation||Laser Hair Removal|
|Efficiency||Almost 100% method for removing hair permanently in case of normal endocrine profile and quality work.||Gradual but steady reduction of hair growth, up to 60 — 70% at best.||Gradual but steady reduction of hair growth, up to 80% at best|
|Hair color||An effective way to remove any hair, regardless of hair color — including blonde, red or gray.||Effective treatment for dark hair.||Effective mainly for dark hair, containing large amounts of melanin.|
|Skin color||An effective way to remove hair for people with all skin colors (white, dark or black).||It provides the best results for clients with light skin and dark hair.||Laser hair removal with a ruby laser is not advisable for people with dark, tanned skin because the energy of the laser pulse will be dispersed and will not reach the hair follicle, and the chance of getting burned increases.|
|Use||Improves the results of the treatment with intense pulsed light and laser. It is the final stage in the permanent hair removal for large surfaces of the body.||Suitable hair removal option for clients, who are not recommended to use electrolysis and laser.||It is recommended in case of intolerance to other methods.|
|Parts of the body||It is ideal for hair removal on the face since it does not require shaving. Furthermore, this method is ideal for correcting eyebrows. It is not recommended to remove hair from the nose, ears, and armpits.||An ideal method for all areas of the body. However, restricted for the face because of the large size of the tip of the device. This method is not suitable for eyebrow epilation.||It can be performed on all body parts. However, the device is able to work on a small working surface. So, it is generally used on the face, neck, and chest.|
|Skin after the procedure||Hyperemia, edema, tenderness, swelling and itching.||Redness, edema, tenderness, swelling and itching.||Hyperemia, edema, tenderness, swelling and itching.|
|Hair length||More than 3- 3.5 mm.||About 1 mm, so you need to shave the hair on the legs 3 days before the procedure and in the bikini area and underarms — 1-2 days before the procedure.||Not more than 1-2 mm. The hair should be shaved 3-4 days before the procedure.|
|Soreness||It is very painful and requires anesthesia.||Practically painless, only the sensitive parts of the body may experience soreness.||Moderately painful. Strong pain may occur in sensitive areas.|
|The number of procedures||It is recommended to perform from 3 to 7 treatments with the intervals of 1.5 — 2 months. To completely get rid of hair permanently, it is required to perform at least 3-4 full courses.||It is required to perform from 6 to 10 treatments with intervals of 1 — 1.5 months and at least 2-3 courses as the hair grows back.||It is required to perform 5-10 procedures with the intervals of 1-2 months.|
|What determines the effect||The effect depends on the skill and experience of the technician who performs the procedure.||The effect depends primarily on the state of lamps, as each device has its allowable number of flashes.||The effect depends largely on the qualification and experience of the technician performing the procedure.|
|Complications||Scars and pigmentation disorders.||Burns and hyperpigmentation.||Burns and hyperpigmentation.|
Next, we will describe the less radical methods of getting rid of unwanted hair. Please, note that these procedures will not make your hair disappear forever. The effect of such treatments lasts from 2 to 4 weeks.
Waxing (bio depilation)
It is one of the most popular and effective ways to remove unwanted hair today. Its main advantage is the safety for the skin and health of the patient as a whole. Bio depilation can be performed in patients with an abundant-medium amount of body hair.
This way of getting rid of unwanted hair involves the use of hot wax. The mechanism of bio depilation is quite simple. During this procedure, the hair follicles are not affected. Accordingly, the follicle is not destroyed, only the hair shaft is removed. The follicle is preserved and the hair begins to grow again after some time. This usually occurs 3 weeks later. However, the new hair is not as dark and hard as the previous. For this reason, after several treatments, your hair will be rather faint.
Given time this procedure will help to permanently remove pubic hair, as well as upper lip and facial hair in general; men sometimes use waxing too. Most often, men remove the hair on the back, chest, and arms.
The procedure is indicated for: men and women in the following cases:
- Abundant growth of unwanted hair in certain areas of the body (legs, underarms, bikini area);
- Increased density of hair in men on the arms, chest, back, or chin;
- Increased level of sensitivity and allergic reactions during the regular shaving in men.
- Lasting effect, increasing after each procedure.
- The whole process isn’t time-consuming; up to an hour and a half, depending on the extent of the waxing.
- An immediate effect is achieved in large areas of the body in a short time.
- People with any hair type and color may perform bio depilation — the result is equally pleasing.
- If the patient has contraindications for the hair removal apparatus (cancer, metal implants, intolerance to metals), bio depilation will be an excellent replacement.
- In the case of regular treatments, hair growth is significantly decreased and hairs in the depilated area are weakened.
- You can perform waxing at home on your own.
Disadvantages: despite the instant and qualitative removal effect, it still remains temporary. To repeat the procedure, you need to grow your hair to a certain length, which is not always favorable for aesthetic reasons.
- The technician may heat the wax insufficiently or overheat it. In this case, burns and poor hair removal are possible.
- Hot wax is contraindicated for the patient if he or she has problems with peripheral circulation.
- Ingrown hair. This happens because of the frequent bio depilation, due to which the hairs are deformed under the skin and grow improperly.
- Soreness of the method.
Recommended number of sessions: after the procedure, the effect is visible at once. The hair will eventually become thinner and paler. To completely get rid of unwanted hair in certain areas of the body, you need to undergo 4-6 procedures with hot or warm wax with the intervals of 2-4 weeks.
When the result is visible: after the first procedure, you will have perfectly smooth skin. The hairs do not grow properly about 2-3 weeks.
- Varicose veins
- Irritated and sensitive skin
- Various skin conditions: abscesses and inflammations of the skin, acute herpes
- Pregnancy at all stages and lactation
- Different benign tumors on the skin (moles, papillomas, and warts)
- Heart diseases
- Blood clotting
- Allergy to wax
This procedure involves hair removal on all body parts with the help of a specialized sugar paste for hair removal. Sugaring will not relieve you of unwanted hair forever, but it will help to reduce its growth and amount.
Sugaring is performed by applying a special paste to the skin. Sugar in the form of a caramelized paste is its main component.
The skin is previously cleaned with a degreasing lotion. Then the cosmetologist heats a small amount of paste and kneads it with his or her hands. When it acquires the desired consistency, it is applied to the skin against hair growth. The paste is removed with a sharp movement in the direction of hair growth. When the sugar paste is applied to the skin, it wraps even short and fine hairs tightly and sticks to it firmly. Thus, a maximum effect is achieved after the removing the paste: not a single hair remains on the skin.
With this method, it is possible to remove hair from virtually any area of the skin: from the face, arms, legs, back and buttocks, armpits and bikini areas.
At the end of the procedure, the gel with soothing effect is applied to the skin. You can also use agents that inhibit hair growth rate.
Let’s Compare Sugaring to Waxing
Wax captures only part of the hair above the surface of the skin; sugar paste penetrates a little deeper — to the mouth of the hair follicle, so the method of sugaring will help you to remove shorter hair.
In the case of sugaring, sugar paste is removed from the surface of the skin in the direction of hair growth, in the case of waxing, hair removal is performed against hair growth. The technique of movements is also different.
The temperature of the sugar paste in sugaring is no more than 37° C; the wax can be heated to 40° C before use. In this regard, the varicose vein disease is not a contraindication for sugaring.
The wax is usually applied to the skin once during the hair removal, sugaring requires several applications to the skin. This explains the fact that sugaring is considered to be less painful than waxing — in sugaring, you remove less hair with one movement, so you need more movements.
To remove residual sugar paste, you just have to wash it off with water; you do not need to use oils or special wax solvents.
The procedure is indicated for: men and women regardless of hair color and skin type.
- The possibility to perform this procedure at home
- Minimal risk of side effects (this method is suitable even for highly allergic individuals, people with sensitive skin and varicose veins)
- No pain
- Effectively removes even short and thin hairs regardless of hair and skin color
- Short-term effect (up to 3 weeks)
- Hair follicles are not destroyed
- Possibility of ingrown hair ingrowth
Recommended number of sessions: if you perform sugaring for the first time, you will have to suffer the pain over the first two sessions. Then the hair will become thinner and its follicles — weaker, therefore, the hair removal process will become almost painless.
When the result is visible: immediately after the procedure. The skin stays smooth for up to 4 weeks.
- A significant reduction in blood clotting ability
- Thrombophlebis is in the area of hair removal
- Symptoms of skin diseases in the area of hair removal
- Solution of continuity of the skin in the area of hair removal
Hair removal is not performed on the surface of skin tumors, including pigmented nevi (moles).
In pregnancy, sugaring can be performed, but with great caution. In this case, the gestational age and individual sensitivity are significant.
We have considered the most effective ways to get rid of hair permanently. Choose the best procedure for yourself. Remember that no type of hair removal guarantees permanent hair removal. Good luck in the fight against unwanted hair!