Epilatories refer to methods of hair removal that remove the entire hair from the hair follicle, and include tweezing, waxing, sugaring, electrolysis, laser therapy and rotary instruments. All these methods, with the exception of laser therapy, can be self-administered.
Tweezing or plucking out the hair is quick, inexpensive and convenient for small areas. However, it is painful and needs to be done frequently, daily in some cases. Ingrown hairs may develop as the hair follicle can be twisted as the hair is tweezed out, causing the incoming hair to become embedded in the skin as it grows.
Waxing and Sugaring
Both waxing and sugaring involve pulling the hair out from the root. Both methods are quick and convenient, and can be done at home with kits available at the pharmacy.
However, waxing and sugaring can be painful and messy, and require frequent, repeat treatments. And, the hair being removed needs to be roughly one quarter inch long in order for the treatment to be effective, so it is possible to see the hair grow in between treatments.
Home electrolysis kits can be used to remove hair from small areas. Electrolysis works by permanently destroying the hair follicle at its root. This method is quick, and the results can last for weeks, if not months.
The disadvantages of electrolysis are that it can be painful, and there is the possibility of persistent skin discoloration.
These devices are similar in appearance to electric razors. They are effective for removing fine hair on the arms and legs. However, the more course the hair, the less effective and more painful this treatment may be.
These are chemical agents, typically contained in creams and lotions, which dissolve the sulfur bonds holding the hair together. The cream or lotion is applied to the hairy area and left on for a few minutes. This is a fast treatment and the results can last for up to 2 weeks.
Some skin irritation is possible, and can depilatory products may cause dermatitis. There is also a small risk of scarring and persistent pigmentation.
This involves applying a cream which bleaches the colour from the hair. Bleaching can be quick, painless and easy, and you can do it yourself. It's important not have any broken skin in the area you're going to bleach, no cuts and no chapping or grazes. It's also important that the area to be bleached hasn't been recently tweezed.
Bleaching can cause a slight, temporary burn and, in rare cases, some people may experience an allergic reaction. It is always advisable to do a test patch before you do bleach an entire area. The bleach has a strong smell.
Shaving involves using a razor or electric shaver to remove the hair at skin level, where the hair emerges through the skin. It is quick, easy, inexpensive and painless, and you can shave large areas such as your legs.
However, shaving leaves stubble which can be seen and felt. Shaving needs to be done regularly and frequently, as the effects do not last more than a few days at most. It is also possible to cut yourself while shaving and the cut can become infected.
Folliculitis, which is inflammation of one or more hair follicles, can also occur after shaving. The symptoms include a rash, itching, and in some cases pimple or pustules can occur.
Treatment of Hirsutism: