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Hair Removal Options - Permanent and Temporary

Many consider the removal of unwanted hair to be merely a cosmetic concern. However, the effects of having unwanted or unsightly facial or body hair can result in far reaching emotional and/or social problems. Here we will look at several different methods of hair removal, both temporary and permanent. Hair can be removed temporarily by either depilation or epilation. Depilation removes the hair above the skin's surface, whereas epilation removes the entire hair including that which is below the skin's surface. The most notable methods of depilation are shaving, depilatories and friction.

Shaving is done manually with either a manual razor or electric shaver. Depilatories are creams or lotions which dissolve hair through the use of chemicals. Friction uses a rough surfaced tool to buff hair off of the skin. Epilation is longer lasting than depilation and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Epilation is done by tweezing, waxing, sugaring, threading or rotary epilators.

Tweezing is performed manually and consists of pulling individual hairs out by the root. In waxing, a layer of either hot or cold wax is applied to the skin and then quickly pulled off with strips of cloth. Sugaring is similar to waxing, but uses a "sugary", sticky substance instead of wax. Threading is a method of removing hair by using a twisted thread which catches hairs as it is rolled back and forth on the skin. Rotary epilators are implements which grab hairs and pull them out by the roots. Rotary epilators are often electric or battery-powered and are more efficient than tweezers because they remove many hairs at a time. In searching for more permanent hair removal, there are several options which have varying degrees of success. There are a number of methods available which use chemicals, electricity or both. The most highly regarded of these permanent methods is electrolysis. It is the most "permanent" of all the methods when executed properly.

A hair-thin metal probe is inserted into the hair follicle without puncturing the skin. Then an electric pulse is sent through the probe to the follicle, which in effect kills the follicle so that it can no longer produce hair. The next most successful method of hair removal is done with lasers. While some people have reported permanent hair reduction, there isn't much known about how long the reduction typically lasts or how often the reduction truly is permanent. In laser hair removal or reduction, a specific wavelength of light is transferred from a hand-held wand into the skin. The dark pigment in the hair attracts the laser light. This causes damage to the hair follicle so that new hair growth is diminished or non-existent. There is no damage to the surrounding skin. Dark hair seems to have the higher success rate in removal. Lighter hair does not have as much pigment to attract the light.

There are also various methods of restricting hair growth through the use of prescription medications. These methods need to be discussed with a physician and most require a doctor's prescription. There are a variety of oral medications as well as topical medications which can be used with varying degrees of success in eliminating unwanted hair. If a person chooses the more permanent routes of electrolysis or laser treatment, he or she should spend some time researching the availability of each in their area. They should then contact several different clinics and gather as much information as possible. It is always a good idea to check out the office or clinic for cleanliness of the establishment and staff. The staff should be friendly and welcome questions. Ask for rates and payment options. Get a written copy of any guarantee the clinic may make in regards to results and always get a copy of your consultation form. Visit several places offering either electrolysis or laser before making your decision.

Doctors are essentially salespeople, too, and they want your business. Make sure you are familiar and comfortable with everything involved before going forward with your treatment.


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