Generally considered a “cosmetic” issue, hair removal can be a medical necessity for skin graft preparation, ingrown eyelashes, and various other problems. Changes in hair-growth patterns are sometimes a symptom of serious conditions such as hormonal imbalances or glucose intolerance.
Depilation is the removal of body hair. Technically, this term refers only to removal of hair above the level of the skin, while removal of hair and root together is epilation. However, people often use “depilation” to describe processes that involve stripping the root out along with the hair. Numerous societies across human history have practiced depilation and there are a number of depilatory techniques in use today.
Chemical depilation uses a chemical depilatory or hair-removal cream that contains chemicals that can effectively remove hair. Test a small portion of your skin to see if you would get an allergic reaction or skin rash before using. Apply the cream over the unwanted hair. The depilatory agents work by reacting with the protein structure of the hair, causing it to dissolve. After 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the product’s instructions), wash the area with water and scrape away the growth. Depilatory creams that break the hair up and allow the user to rinse the damaged hair away are another popular method in some regions and tend to last longer than shaving.
Epilation to remove the hair and the root lasts even longer because a new root must grow before the hair can reappear. Waxing, sugaring, plucking, threading are all techniques that can be used for epilation. Some of these methods can be used at home, while others need to be performed by an experienced aesthetician who has received training in performing them safely.
Laser hair removal is an FDA approved process which should only be performed by a licensed and trained professional. During this procedure, a small laser beam is used to destroy the hair follicles. This is a relatively painless procedure which works best on people who have light colored skin and dark hair. It is not recommended if you are deeply tanned. Costs run around $1,000 for the removal of facial hair, and anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 for hair removal from the legs and pubic area.