One of the biggest struggles the modern woman faces outside the boardroom is the battle to maintain smooth and hair free skin. Previously, we discussed the some of the different tools available in a woman’s arsenal: from waxing, plucking and shaving to depilatory creams and of course the longer lasting options like electrolysis and laser hair removal. In this article we will evaluate the various hair removal techniques in order to determine which technique is the best option for smooth, sultry skin.
One of our medically trained staff at The Ryder Clinic in St. Albans, Hertfordshire will be happy to discuss our hair removal treatments with you so please contact us.
The quick fixes
The first category of hair removal options are the quick fixes: shaving and depilatory creams. These techniques are cheap but require very regular upkeep because they remove hair from the surface of the skin, leaving the root and follicle intact. This effectively means that the hair grows back pretty quickly.
There are a couple of drawbacks associated with these techniques, for instance shaving can result in ingrown hairs which are bumps on the skin caused by hair that curls back into the skin instead of growing out properly. Depilatory creams can be a little messy to use and are generally not recommended on sensitive areas of the skin. Shaving also cuts the hair off just under the surface of the skin so the stubble that grows out is prickly.
The second category of hair removal options include techniques that attempt to remove hair from the root thus giving you longer lasting results and requiring less frequent maintenance. These techniques are waxing and plucking or tweezing. In the case of waxing, there are numerous options for you to choose between; from organic honey waxes to synthetic waxes and soy based waxes which have become very popular of late. Soy based waxes specifically stick to the hair and not the skin so there is less skin irritation caused by waxing.
Waxing removes the entire hair right from the root leaving the follicle open; this can potentially lead to irritation or infection in some cases. Therefore despite the widespread availability of DIY kits it is advised to get waxed in a professional setting to ensure hygiene and aftercare. Improper technique or poor quality wax can lead to hair breaking off and ingrown hairs. When hair is tweezed or plucked, it is removed from the root, leaving the follicle intact. Regrowth is therefore faster than in the case of waxing. The technique is best used to remove individual hairs on small areas of the body such as the eyebrows or chin. You should also take into account the fact that these methods of hair removal require a regrowth period; hair must be allowed to grow out a little before it can be waxed again.
Long haul hair removal techniques are semi-permanent to near permanent options that allow you to remain hair free for longer stretches of time. Electrolysis is considered a near permanent method because it targets the cells within the follicle that spur hair growth. Once treated, the hair will eventually fall off and be unable to grow back.
The downside of this procedure is that it can be painful but there are pain management options such as local anaesthetics that can be applied. Electrolysis can also be a lengthy process with many requiring in excess of twenty sessions. There is also the risk of scarring associated with electrolysis as tiny scars can occur at the point where the needle is inserted. Another risk is hyperpigmentation and keloid formation, however this is more prevalent among those with darker skin.
Laser treatment or intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy makes use of laser energy to destroy the hair at the root. Hair does not immediately drop off after a session but most people experience a gradual shedding of hair. Laser treatment can be done anywhere on the body but it is not suitable for all skin types. Generally those with dark hair and light skin experience the best results, while it is not as effective for those with very light, blonde hair. Laser therapy also carries the risk of hyperpigmentation, burning or scarring of the skin though these side effects are relatively rare.
The increasing popularity of IPL treatments is largely due to the high success rate associated with the procedure along with the long term results and the fact that it is becoming increasingly more affordable.[Photo by JKModel]