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Different options for hair removal: Are there permanent solutions?
Everyone has body hair, but depending on the time of year or your personal preferences, you may want to remove some of it through various options of hair removal.
Contrary to many marketing claims, no hair removal treatment can get rid of hair permanently. However, there are different ways to get rid of it hair for weeks, months or longer.
In this article, we break down the most common hair removal techniques, along with the benefits, side effects, and effectiveness of each method.
How fast does hair grow?
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, on average, body hair grows to full length in about a month. Male hair tend to grow faster than female hair. The hair on the head can grow about 15.24 cm in a year.
Certain factors can affect the rate of hair growth, including diet, medications and genetics. The growth rate may slow down as you get older.
Hair growth is a complex process that begins deep in the hair follicle. Hair depends on blood to feed it because it reaches the surface of the skin. The sebaceous glands (oil) also play a role in keeping the hair lubricated and healthy.
What are your hair removal options?
By shaving, you can easily get rid of the hair on the surface, that is why the hair grows back so fast. Tweezers remove the hair and its root, which helps to slow down regrowth. But even with tweezers, the hair will probably grow back after a couple of weeks.
If you are looking for long term hair removal solutions, it may be time to consider other hair removal techniques. The following methods are ranked according to their ability to remove hair.
Hair removal by Electrolysis
Electrolysis involves the use of shortwave radio frequencies that are distributed through fine needles that are placed directly in the hair follicles. The intention is to destroy the hair follicle so that it does not stimulate new hair growth. This procedure must be performed by a dermatologist or a certified electrologist.
Unlike other options for hair removal electrolysis is considered a permanent solution by the American "Food and Drug AdministrationTrusted Source". However, for best results, you need several treatments.
Most people need follow-up every week or every other week. Depending on the length of the session, the cost is usually between SEK 350 - 1000 per session.
Electrolysis can be done anywhere on the body, and works for most skin types. The most common side effect is pain and redness from skin irritation. Rare but serious side effects include scarring and infection from the needles as well as keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue).
Laser hair removal
Laser Hair Removal is another long-term option for hair removal. Like electrolysis, this treatment targets the hair follicle. It works by damaging the follicle with high heat lasers to prevent new hair from growing.
According to the Mayo Clinic laser hair removal can be done anywhere on the body, with the exception of the eye area. The treatment tends to work best in people with fair skin tones who have dark hair.
Like electrolysis, it requires laser hair removal several sessions for best results. Depending on the area of hair removal, you may need about four to six treatments spaced four to eight weeks apart. It can cost up to £3,000 per session.
In most cases, hair removal lasts for several months, and in some cases it can last for several years. When the hair grows back, it is often finer and lighter in colour. Laser Hair Removal however, does not guarantee permanent hair removal.
The most common side effect is skin irritation and redness, but this usually disappears after a few hours. This treatment can also cause temporary pigment changes, especially with darker skin tones. More serious side effects include blistering and scarring, but this is rare.
Hair removal creams
If you do not like the idea or cost of electrolysis or laser hair removal, you may want to talk to your dermatologist about hair removal creams.
One type is called eflornithine (Vaniqa), which you apply twice a day for a month. It works by inhibiting the production of enzymes that stimulate hair growth.
According to a study done on hair removal creams, the results of such can last for up to eight weeks, after which you can start the process again. A month's treatment costs around SEK 500.
Eflornithine only works for facial hair and is better suited for women. Some side effects can be burns, rashes and acne breakouts from follicle disorders.
Professional hair removal by threading and waxing
An alternative for smaller parts of the body is professional hair removal using threading or waxing performed by a certified dermatologist. When the hair is removed in this way, it is pulled directly from the root. Depending on how fast the hair grows, the result can be from two to eight weeks.
This is a cheaper option than laser hair removal or electrolysis, but you may need to repeat the treatment more often.
Waxing should not be done around the genitals, nipples, ears or eyelashes. You should also avoid applying wax on varicose veins or warts, or on skin that is sore or sunburned.
The most common side effects of both professional hair removal with wire or waxing include mild rashes and irritation, but this is usually temporary.
Hair removal by chemical depilation
This hair removal treatment consists of a gel or cream that you apply to your skin. It works by weakening a protein in your hair called keratin. This causes the hair to fall out and is easily dried off.
Depilation is not aimed at the hair follicle, so the results can only last for about two weeks. But it is a cheap option you can make at home.
Make sure you use the right type of cream in the area where you want to remove the hair. Some creams are formulated for the face and others for the body.
It is a good idea to do a patch test on a small part of your skin before using chemical depilation on a larger area of your body. Side effects of this treatment may include chemical burns, rashes and blisters.
Hair removal through natural solutions
Although natural remedies are not permanent, they can help remove hair or limit hair growth. Some options include:
- Sugar wax and scrubber
- Honey instead of wax
- Drink spearmint tea twice a day to limit the growth of facial hair
When to visit a doctor?
If your hair continues to grow very fast even though you have tried different hair removal treatments, make an appointment to see your doctor. It may be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hyperthyroidism.
Ingrown hairs are possible with all types of hair removal. In some cases, it can lead to an infection. Follow up with your doctor if you have widespread ingrown hairs or if they have been infected or turned into cysts.
It is perfectly normal to have body hair and removing it is optional. Take time to think about whether you want to remove your body hair and for how long.
Despite many claims, there are no 100 percent permanent solutions for hair removal.
There are still long-term solutions for hair removal and ways to limit hair regrowth. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist about the best options for you.
Hair removal with laser vs electrolysis: Which alternative is better?
Laser hair removal
Keep track of your hair removal options
Laser hair removal and electrolysis are two popular types of long-term hair removal methods. Both work by targeting hair follicles that lie beneath the surface of the skin.
According to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, laser hair removal is increasing by almost 30 percent from 2013. Although electrolysis is also increasing in popularity, it is not as common as laser therapy.
Continue reading to learn the benefits, risks, and other guidelines for each procedure.
What you can expect from laser hair removal
Laser hair removal uses mild radiation via laser with high heat. The aim is to damage the hair follicles enough to significantly slow down hair growth. Although the effects last longer than at-home hair removal methods, such as shaving, laser therapy does not create permanent results. You must have several treatments for long-term hair removal.
Laser hair removal can be done almost anywhere in the face and the body, except the eye area. This makes the procedure versatile in its use.
There is also little to no recovery time involved. You can resume your normal activities after each procedure.
Although new hairs can still grow, you will notice that they grow in a finer and lighter color than before. This means that when there is regrowth, it will not look as heavy as before.
This procedure tends to work best if you have both fair skin and dark hair.
Side effects and risks
Side effects of laser hair removal can include:
- Pigment changes (usually light spots on darker skin)
Minor side effects such as irritation and redness tend to disappear within a few hours after the procedure. Any symptoms that last longer than that should be treated with your doctor.
Scars and changes in the structure of the skin are rare side effects.
You can minimize the risk of side effects and permanent skin damage by making sure you seek treatment only from a card-certified dermatologist.
Aftercare and follow-up
Before the hair removal procedure, your dermatologist may apply an analgesic ointment to minimize pain. If you still experience pain, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter painkillers (OTC). Your doctor may also prescribe a steroid cream for severe pain.
Common symptoms, such as redness and swelling, can be relieved by applying ice or a cold compress to the affected area.
Laser hair removal disables hair growth - rather than removing hairs - so you need follow-up treatments. Regular maintenance treatments will also prolong the results.
You also need to minimize your exposure to the sun after each laser hair removal, especially during daylight. Increased sun sensitivity from the procedure puts you at risk for sunburn. Make sure you use sunscreen every day. The American "Mayo Clinic" also recommends that you stay out of sunlight for six weeks before laser hair removal to prevent pigmentation disorders on the skin.
Follow-up treatment is important for this type of treatment. According to the Mayo Clinic, most people need a follow-up treatment every six weeks, up to six times. This helps to stop hair growth after the first laser hair removal session.
You can do follow-up treatments once or twice a year depending on your needs. And you can shave between meetings.
Laser hair removal is considered an optional beauty procedure, so it is not covered by insurance. The total cost varies depending on how many sessions you need. You can also talk to your dermatologist about a payment plan.
Even laser hair treatment at home can be appealing in terms of cost and convenience, and nowadays it has proven to be safe and effective.
What to expect from electrolysis
Electrolysis is another type of hair removal technique performed by a dermatologist. It also interferes with hair growth. The process works by inserting an epilator device into the skin. It uses shortwave radio frequencies in hair follicles to prevent new hair from growing. This damages your hair follicles to prevent growth and causes existing hairs to fall out. But you will still need several follow-up treatments for best results.
Unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis is supported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Trusted Source as a permanent solution.
In addition to producing more permanent results, electrolysis is extremely versatile. It can help inhibit new hair growth for all skin and hair types. Hair removal by Electrolysis can also be used anywhere on the body, including the eyebrows.
Side effects and risks
Minor side effects are common, but they tend to go away within a day. The most common symptom is slight redness from skin irritation. Pain and swelling are rare.
Possible serious side effects include infection from unsterile needles used during the procedure as well as scars. Seeing a dermatologist can minimize the risks.
Aftercare and follow-up
The results of hair removal by electrolysis are pointed out to be permanent due to hair follicle destruction. In theory, having damaged hair follicles means that no new hairs can grow.
These results are not achieved in just one session. This is especially the case if you are performing the procedure on a large area such as the back, or on an area with thicker hair growth.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, most people need to follow up every week or every other week to achieve optimal results. When the hair is gone, you do not need more treatments. No maintenance is required with electrolysis.
Like laser hair removal, electrolysis is not covered by insurance. The amount you pay depends on the size of the area being treated and the number of follow-ups required. Some dermatologists charge an hourly rate.
Home epilators are available for sale, but these are not as effective as professional appliances.
Which is best?
Hair removal through laser and electrolysis both provide longer-lasting effects compared to shaving. But electrolysis seems to work best. The results are more permanent. Electrolysis also carries fewer risks and side effects, and you don't need the maintenance treatments required for laser hair removal.
The disadvantage is that electrolysis must be spread over more sessions. It cannot cover large areas at once as laser hair removal can. Your choice may depend on how fast you want to achieve hair removal in the short term.
It is not good to do one procedure and then the other. For example, getting electrolysis after laser removal interferes with the effects of the first procedure. Do your homework in advance and talk to your dermatologist about the best option. If you choose to change hair removal procedures, you may have to wait several months before starting the second one.
15 hair removal products that really work
Hair removal often hurts. Shaving is tedious and time-consuming; waxing is expensive and painful, not to mention a bad idea. But there are new hair removal options that challenge this notion. Regardless of whether you want to get rid of hair temporarily or permanently the face or the body, there is a product (or two) for you to try.
Below are the best hair removal products you can use at home.
Best product for hair removal and No. 1 in the list: Dermaflash 2.0 Luxe Facial Exfoliation & Peach Fuzz Removal
A package with several steps, this package has everything you need to get rid of unwanted hair from start to finish. It allows you to prepare your hair, remove it and then soothe the area after the fact.
First, use the included cleanser to prepare your skin for hair removal. Then work the device with short strokes to remove dead skin. Finally, soothe the skin with Hydrating Moisturizer which is a moisturizing cream.
Best for upper lip
Finishing Touch Flawless Women's Painless Hair Removal
Hair removal is not the most glamorous concept, but this discreet white-and-rose-gold device makes the process a little chicer. If you have ever tried to remove hair from the upper lip area, you know how painful it can be. But this new hair removal device is designed to gently remove facial hair without redness or irritation - it is even safe enough to use every day.
Best for facial hair
Bliss Poetic Waxing Kit
This chamomile oil-infused wax is soothing and safe to use on sensitive skin. This sweet kit includes spatulas and a pre- and post-waxing oil. To use it, put it in the microwave first cup at 30 second intervals until its consistency is like thick honey. Be sure to stir the wax gently. After warming up, use the spatula and check the temperature of the wax on the inside of the wrist. If everything feels right, apply the wax to the hair growth direction, let it sit until it hardens
Best option for you with a low budget
Sephora Level Setter Razors
It is cost-effective hair removal at home. Sephora's razors allow you to exfoliate and remove excess hair on the face for a softer, younger looking skin that is also unhindered for better product absorption.
Best razor blade
Gillette Venus Platinum Extra soft razor blade
Do you shave to remove annoying stumps? If so, we have your ultimate razor blade here, from Gillette. It has five leaves, which are surrounded by a moisturizing lotion for extra hydration. In addition, the grip is comfortable and it slides easily, so you do not have to worry about cutting the skin from pressing too hard.
Best IPL laser for home
If you're looking for more of a permanent solution, use this IPL for hair removal to get rid of unwanted hair. It's not exactly the cheapest of the bunch, but with a 94% hair reduction in three uses, it's worth every penny.
Best for the Bikini line
Gillette Venus Bikini Precision Women's Trimmer
Whether you love being by the pool, the beach or just lying out in your garden, this handy tool is your new best friend when you start showing a little more skin. The 90-degree angled head enables total precision and maneuverability, allowing your bikini line to be trimmed easily and quickly. It follows your natural curves and prevents all cuts along the way. The compact design is travel-friendly, so you can comfortably drop it in your check-in bag on the way to a tropical island. It is also battery-powered, so no extra wires or chargers are needed.
Best for forearms
Nair Glides Away Sensitive Hair Removal Formula
Infused with natural coconut oil and vitamin E, this hair removal formula is designed for sensitive, hard-to-reach areas such as the forearms. In addition, the application of it is completely uncomplicated - just turn the knob to get the cream, put the cream on the skin and make it smooth using the top of the applicator, leave it for six minutes, rinse it off, you will have even forearms in up to six days.
Best hair removal spray
Sally Hansen Extra Strength Spray-on Shower-Off Hair Remover
If hair removal is your goal, it just doesn't get any easier than this Sally Hansen formula. All you have to do is spray it in the shower and then rinse it off in three minutes for instant results. It also has a 360-degree nozzle, so you can spray up and down those hard-to-reach places. Bonus: it has a yummy vanilla scent.
Best for legs
Veet Aloe Vera Leg & Body Hair Removal Gel Cream
Unlike other hair growth inhibitors in the past, it smells This not like rotten eggs. (That statement, alone, deserves a standing ovation.) With soothing vitamin E and Aloe Vera, the formula glides on easily and does its job in five minutes. It penetrates the skin and eliminates the hair follicle as close to the root as possible, which reveals super slim legs without stumps in sight. To apply, take the supplied spatula and spread an even layer of the cream. After 5 to 10 minutes, remove the cream with the same spatula and rinse the skin with warm water. Voila, vacation ready!
Best hair removal lotion
Completely Bare Do Not Grow There Body Moisturizer
This lotion wears many hats, so to speak. Yes, it helps reduce hair growth, length and density - but also, with ingredients such as shea butter and white willow bark, moisturizes and soothes the skin while increasing cell turnover. In addition, it has a super refreshing scent thanks to lemongrass and green tea extract.
Braun Series 9-890 Silk-Epil Sensosmart Epilator
Wet or dry, this almost painless epilator catches even the shortest hairs that waxing and shaving miss.
Nair Charcoal Brighten & Smooth Ben Mask
You treat your hair, your face and your eyes with a mask, but what about your legs? Hair removal has a bad reputation for being painful and uncomfortable, so take time between shaving or waxing to treat your skin to this clay and charcoal mask. Not only does it exfoliate and moisturize your legs, but it also gets rid of annoying stubble that creeps up.
Best for Brazilian hair removal
GiGi Brazilian Bikini Hard Wax Kit
This kit has everything you need for a Brazilian wax in your own home. This wax cures - no need for strips - and is comfortably heated directly in your microwave.
The system is delivered with wax, two treatments before wax, two treatments after wax and 10 applicators. Basically, with this kit in your arsenal, you are your own growth technician.
Best "Long term" hair removal
Although many hair removal IPL called "lasers", many don't actually use them. Instead, they use Intense Pulse Light (IPL) technology, which targets the hair's melanin to permanently banish the follicle. Desired results usually occur after repeated treatment. The main benefit: It's completely painless.
In particular, this system has a lifespan of pulses - about 300,000 - which means you never have to replace the laser, which makes the hefty price tag a little less hefty. When gently moved over the skin, galvanic energy is released to open the pores, allowing faster removal. Unlike many other devices, this one is safe to use on all skin tones.