Excess hair tends to grow in the areas where you least want it, such as under your arms, on your face and on your stomach. Luckily for you, a trip to the hair removal aisle of your favorite store proves there are plenty of options for getting rid of unwanted hair. You may want to try a hair removal cream. These creams tend to act quickly and may keep hair away longer than other options.
Several brands of over-the-counter hair removal cream, or depilatories, are available. Some creams come in bottles shaped like shaving cream cans and include a plastic object that resembles a razor but has no blade. You coat your legs with the cream and use the razor to “shave” the area, wiping the hair away. Other hair removal creams are simple lotions that you apply to the area, such as your upper lip, for several minutes, and then wipe away with a damp cloth.
Hair removal creams contain chemicals, such as calcium, sodium or potassium thioglycolate, that eat away at the hair and dissolve it just below the surface of the skin. Thiogylcolate was originally used to remove hair from cattle hides in the 1930s, according to E-medicine. Its active ingredients react with keratin, the protein in hair, causing it to separate from the skin. The product needs to be left on the surface of the skin for several minutes, but usually no more than 10, to work effectively. The hair should also be a good length; depilatories won’t work well on coarse or stubbly hair.
Hair removed with a depilatory usually takes much longer to grow back than hair that is shaved off. The hair that grows back may also be softer and more tapered than hair that is shaved, according to Didi Gluck at “Marie Claire” magazine. Compared to permanent hair removal methods or even waxing at a salon, hair removal creams are rather inexpensive.
Risks and Warnings
The active ingredients in hair removal creams can cause allergic reactions, such as contact dermatitis and other skin irritations, in some people. It’s always a good idea to test the hair removal on a small area of skin, such as the back of the wrist, first to make sure there is no irritation. Only hair removal creams designed for the facial area should be used on the face. The creams and lotions also tend to have an off-putting odor and should be used in a well-ventilated area.
If you are worried about irritation from a hair removal cream or simply don’t like the idea of slathering a chemical over your legs or upper lip, you have several other options, including shaving and waxing. If the hair is on a small area of the body, such as between your eyebrows, you can try plucking it out. If excess hair is constant problem, you may want to consider a more permanent hair removal treatment.