Hair removal comes in all shapes and sizes. Varying treatments can be used for different parts of the body, or used in combination. A woman might explore electrolysis for her upper lip and chin, shave her legs, and do laser treatments on her bikini line; a man may use a razor on his face and laser on his back.
Usually cost, convenience, and desired outcome are the factors that go into deciding which type of hair removal to pursue.
Now that spring is around the corner with its promise of tank tops, skirts, and more skin on display than we show off in the frostier months, here are some options to do away with your winter growth.
A tool most of us have in our bathroom drawer to maintain eyebrows can also be used in a pinch to remove random stray hairs in uninvited places. Tweezing is 100% effective in that it gets the hair every time, but since it doesn't destroy the root the hair will continue to grow back, often thicker than before.
Another common option for men's faces and women's underarms and legs, shaving simply removes the hair at the skin's surface and doesn't affect the root.
An epilating device uses a series of whirring heads to pull the hair out from the root, and often brings the root with it. It can be painful at the beginning, but with consistent usage the body tolerates it better and the regrowth is more sparse and less coarse. Epilators are very effective on legs and underarms but can result in bumps and ingrown hairs along the bikini line. This method also gives a longer time--usually a couple of weeks--in between treatment cycles.
Many creams are available that dissolve the proteins in hair, which removes them at surface levels. Wax is usually spread onto the area, covered with cloth strips, and when the cloth is yanked off (think Band-Aid removal) the wax takes the hair with it. Sometimes the skin reacts if the product is left on too long so a small patch test first is generally advised.
A technician inserts a tiny needle into the hair follicle and zaps the root with an electric current, which is supposed to kill it -- eventually. This process needs to be repeated several times and has only partial success. Particularly sensitive areas, like the upper lip where the skin is thinner, are painful for the brief time the needle is inserted. Redness and swelling usually result, but generally resolve within the hour.
Laser treatment employs a strong beam of laser light to destroy the hair's roots and is very effective after repeated treatments in the same area. Laser can be used anywhere on the body and is the most permanent version of hair removal available to us at this time. Our office uses Viora, which deploys a phototherapy technology called IPL, so hair removal is both non-intrusive and very fast, with results coming as quick as an ordinary lunch break.