It does not matter if it is long, dark, and coarse, or if it is just peach fuzz. Women feel self-conscious about extra hair. In fact, they have been fighting to rid themselves of it for decades. The frustration mostly transpires as hereditary hair growth or medical conditions including polycystic ovaries or a tumor, which secretes hair growth hormones. On the other hand, it could be something as widespread as menopause causing a hormonal shift in the body.
Hair growth on the legs, underarms, and areas revealed by bikinis is normal, but women in the far West largely find this undesirable and unattractive. Lucky for both cases, there is practically an infinite amount of ways to remove, and even stunt, the growth of undesired hair. The popular medical website, WebMD, consulted with a number of experts in the area of hair removal with the express intent of helping you find and decide the best method for you. Below are eight of the most popular:
1. Use a laser or pulsed light. Out of the most popular methods, this is near the top. You will see TV and internet ads about this service all the time. The laser produces energy that penetrates the hair shaft and destroys the root of the hair through the follicle. Please note that the hair does not instantly disappear upon treatment. Because the aim is to kill the root, the hair will slowly die and fall out. This is accomplished in anywhere from five to seven sessions. “Touch-ups” are once a year after initial treatment.
Newer cosmetic laser technology, such as the so-called DUET, adds suction to the laser for quicker results. The sucking action pulls the roof of the hair into the follicle and allows the laser beam to cut deeper, allowing for more safer and comfortable procedures. The best part about laser hair removal is it can be used anywhere on the body. It is recommended for women who have dark hair but light skin, because the laser hair removal will not work on white hair, and has a little more success with blonde hair. Lasers can also work on the darker skin of Hispanics; however, lasers are not safe to use on black skin (the exception being a laser known as “Nd:YAG”). Be warned that lasers run the risk of burning, then scarring, then the formulation of scar tissue (known as Keloids). Cost for laser hair removal will set you back anywhere between one hundred and fifty to five hundred dollars, depending on the number of the treatments you would require.
2. Try electrolysis. You probably recognize the term from biology class in high school or college. This process is the only method called “permanent” by medical professionals. A tiny needle is used to slide down into the follicle and penetrate the cells, which create hair growth, destroying them. The hair is released from the skin and flows out of the side. It will never grow back in that area again.
This treatment will cause discomfort. Numbing creams can help. The advantage of this method is that the hair removal is permanent; the drawback is the fact it has to be done on every single hair in the area, which you desire to remove hair permanently. This can take up to twenty of sessions of five to ten minutes long each. Sessions cost forty to ninety dollars each.
This treatment is best for women with lighter hair color, such as blonde-haired woman. Like the laser method, electrolysis is safe to use practically anywhere on the body. You should know that the best place for electrolysis is on the face. Be warned that electrolysis sometimes may cause little scars in the area of insertion. People with black skin run the risk of hyperactive pigmentation and scar tissue and is therefore not recommended for said skin type.
3. Buy VANIQA®. Known as eflornithine, this is a prescription cream, which can be applied to areas where undesired hair grows. It works by blocking enzymes, which cause hair growth. At first, it will slow the hair growth down, but it may eventually cease altogether. Experts generally say this is not technically a hair remover. Consequently, it ought to be used to augment other hair removal methods. Others hold that it can work on its own provided the user has the patience to wait up to six months to see significant results. Studies show that the longevity of the cream’s use will coincide with the increased benefit with its results.
Vaniqa is the most effective on facial hair. It is not effective on white or other types of very light hair, and is not recommended for use on larger surfaces such as the legs or arms. Studies continue to show that it is safe for use with contraceptive pills and hormone treatments that cause undesirable hair growth. Vaniqa is suitable for all skin colors and types, knowing no ethnic barrier. How much will it cost you? It can cost between about eighty to two-hundred and thirty dollars a tube.
4. Go get a wax. Everybody knows about getting a wax done—even men! This method has been around for ages and ages. It used to be that honey was used, but that was painful. Nowadays we have much better options, such as soy-based compounds that stick to the hair rather than the skin. This cream is applied to special cloth strips, which further alleviate the rip. This leads to less skin irritation, inflammation, and long lasting damage.
Of course, wax can be used to remove hair anywhere on your body, since it does not use any harsh chemicals or lasers, which might be sensitive to skin type. Bikini waxes are the most popular, because they remove embarrassing hair that might show while wearing the skimpier bathing suit bottoms. Brazilian waxes go a step further and remove all hair from private areas. All you need to do is go to your neighborhood spa or salon to get a waxing done. You can pamper yourself while doing so, since you are already there. For those more constrained by time or that are uncomfortable in a spa or salon setting, home kits are available near you for purchase. If you choose this option, make sure it is done in a sterile environment. Make sure it follows your waxing with antibacterial lotion to prevent skin infection. Depending on the size of the area being waxed, you will pay anywhere from ten to seventy dollars, and you must repeat this procedure every three or so weeks.
5. Get a razor and shave. You can use an electric razor a straight razor, but essentially, you are just cutting the hair super close to the skin. Unfortunately, it does not remove the hair by the root or cut into the follicle, and because of this it is one of the most repetitious methods of hair removal. The effects will only last a few days, sometimes only a few hours.
Women shy away from this option, citing that shaving the hair makes it grow back coarser and in great abundance. However, dermatologists like Bruce Katz, MD, discount this as a myth—a long invalidated one at that. As early as 1928, the researchers showed that shaving does affect the volume of hair growth, nor the attributes of that hair. Subsequent studies continue to agree.
Shaving is also known to cause discomfort, cuts, burns, and bleeding. However, one can minimize any complication by making sure her hair is completely wet, that she shaves in the same direction the hair is growing, not repeating strokes, and keeping her skin relaxed during the process. Even if you employ these helpful tips, please be aware of other complications. If you have coarse hair in places such as the bikini areas, shaving there can create ingrown hairs where the hairs grow back into the skin. This can cause infection in any women, but blacks are particularly vulnerable to it.
6. Apply depilatories. Depilatories are creams or lotions that use a chemical compound to eat away the proteins making up the hair. This method does not use a sharp, hard surface to cut the hair, but rather a rounded and much smoother surface to apply it. It results in less stubble and seems to slow down re-growth. Rather than shaving every few days, this method allows you to go close to a whole week without having to repeat. This method is optimal for the face, arms, and legs. It is not recommended for the eyebrows and the genital areas. Depilatories cost five to ten dollars per bottle.
7. Tweeze them. Everyone knows what tweezing is. You simply pull at the hair and uproot it. Unfortunately, the follicles remain unaffected, which means that the hair can continue to grow back no matter how many time you tweeze it.
When you shave your hair, it will grow back the similar volume as the follicle in which originally grew. Nothing changes. However, when you tweeze it, it will grow back tapered and softer, harder to see. Tweezing is best for the eyebrows or the upper lip—little surfaces.
8. Are you experiencing hormonal problem? Use oral contraceptives as well as hormonal treatments instead. Extra hair is usually caused by polycystic ovary syndrome and medications that can help you control the excessive growth. This condition is also called Hirsutism. The medicines prescribed to treat this condition work by reducing levels of androgens, which are the hormones, which cause all that unwanted hair grow. Common medicines are birth control pills and anti-androgens like flutamide, spironolactone, and cyproterone acetate.