For most women, the struggle with hair is a daily one–not just how to find and maintain a flattering haircut, but how to get rid of unwanted underarm, facial, arm, leg and pubic hair without a lot of effort or expense. Fortunately, there are a number of options available for temporary or permanent hair removal.
Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal uses pulsed light, or lasers, to remove unwanted hair by destroying it at the root. Although laser hair removal usually requires at least five sessions at a laser clinic before the hair is completely removed and is significantly more expensive than most other hair removal techniques, it can be used effectively on any part of the body and requires return visits to the clinic only one a year after the initial treatment.
Waxing is an effective hair removal technique for nearly every part of the body, including the bikini area. Waxing can be performed in some salons and spas or at home with the use of a home waxing kit, though all follow the same procedure: a soy-based cream-like wax is spread on the skin and covered with clean cloth strips. The strips are removed when the wax hardens and the hair is removed with it. Waxing must be repeated at least every 2 weeks.
Tweezing pulls the hair out at the root and, for some women, it can be uncomfortable, especially when used to remove facial hair. Tweezing can also be time-consuming and, when used at home to remove hair around the eyebrows, can be difficult to do well.
Sugar waxing is similar to waxing in that it involves spreading a substance on the skin, covering it with strips of cloth, then swiftly removing the strips after the substance hardens. With sugar waxing, the hardening substance used is a thick, sugary liquid that is easier to wash off than the soy-based wax used in traditional waxing.
Electrolysis is truly permanent hair removal. In this technique, the cells that are responsible for hair growth are permanently destroyed by an small electrical current. The hair will not grow back. It may sound like a dream, but there are some drawbacks: it is expensive, more than 2 dozen sessions may be needed to complete the treatments and, because it requires the insertion of a tiny needle into each hair follicle, it can be painful without the use of a local anesthetic cream.
Depilatory creams include chemicals that dissolve hair proteins. They can be highly effective on facial hair, although they need to be applied at least weekly and usually have to be left on for a minimum of five minutes.
Most women are inducted into the world of hair removal with this technique and, whether it’s done with a straight razor or an electric one, for many it is still the method of choice. Although shaving is only a temporary hair removal technique and must be repeated at least every few days (many women find they must shave more often), it is economical and, with a number of quality razors of both kinds on the market, easy on the skin.
Rotary epilators look and function a lot like electric razors, except they pull out hair at the root with rows of tweezers instead of shaving the hair shaft. While the results can last for several weeks, using epilators can be uncomfortable and the hair must be long enough for the epilator to grasp.
Vaniqa Hair Removal Cream
Vaniqa is a prescription cream that contains a chemical, eflornithine, that inhibits hair growth by inhibiting the enzyme that stimulates hair production. For best results, Vaniqa must be applied twice daily for at least two months, and sometimes as long as six months.
A number of medications, including many commonly prescribed birth-control pills, incorporate a drug that controls the hormones responsible for hair growth. For women who suffer from excessive hair growth, these medications may help bring the situation under control.