Depilatories are somewhere between shaving and waxing or sugaring as a method for hair removal. A depilatory can be in the form of a gel, cream, lotion, aerosol, roll on or powder. Depilatories are a mixture of a mildly caustic chemical that contains a form of calcium and sodium. When this chemical is applied to the skin, it dissolves the keratin in any hair shaft, providing hair removal that goes just below the skins surface. Most depilatories smell quite unpleasant, however you can clear large areas of unwanted hair quickly and remain that way for a longer time then you would if shaving. Depilatories are a simple do-it-yourself method of removing unwanted hair temporarily.
Depilatories may not be the best answer for hair removal if your hair is coarse. Coarse hair tends to be stubborn when trying to remove the hair from desired areas on the body. Depilatories work best on fine, soft hair. They are ideal for use by women who only have soft peach fuzz to remove and people from an Asian background who tend to be less heavily fuzzed.
How do Depilatories work?
Depilatories are a temporary method to remove unwanted hair from the face. They are ideal for use on large areas of unwanted hair. The calcium, sodium chemical combination tends to dissolve the keratin from the shaft of the hair allowing it to be removed gently when the cream is removed. Hair re-growth usually occurs within 2-3 weeks after using depilatories.
How to Use Depilatories
When trying depilatories for the first time, be sure to try a patch test on your forearm just in case you have a reaction to the chemical agent. It is fairly rare for this to happen, but these caustic chemicals may cause skin irritation, discoloration or allergy.
As with any product, read the manufacturers label and instructions before using. Apply the recommended amount of solution on the desired area. DO not forget to time yourself because leaving one of these agents on the skin for too long can cause burns which may be painful. When removing a depilatory cream, if all the hair is not removed, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REAPPLY THE DEPILATORY. Doing so will cause the skin to burn.
THE PROCESS OF USING DEPILATORIES
1. Always clean the skin first by applying a warm compress to the area hair is to be removed. This opens the hair follicles and removes any soil that may in the way of the cream working.
2. Apply the depilatory agent liberally over the area of hair to be removed. Always follow the package instructions.
3. Leave product on the hair and skin for the designated amount of time. This varies according to manufacturer.
4. When removing the product, use a damp cloth in downward strokes
5. Rinse off excess product on the hair and skin.
The Best Areas on the Body to use Depilatories
Depilatories are most effective on large portions of the body where a lot of hair is to be removed. If you are considering using depilatories on your face, make sure that the product was designed for that purpose. These types of products tend to be very strong smelling from the chemical compounds they contain. The fumes from these chemicals can cause eye irritation. Depilatories should never be used on chapped, open or broken skin.
The best places to use depilatories for unwanted hair on the body for men and women are:
• Bikini line
• Pubic region
• Under Arm
How Long Do Depilatories Last
After using a depilatory agent for hair removal, expect to use the depilatory agent again in 4-5 days, when the hair grows back. Hair may grow back lighter in color and thinner and less coarse then original hair appeared.
Pros and Cons of Depilatories
1. Relatively inexpensive
3. Very useful method for large areas of the body
4. No Pain
5. Exfoliates the skin as it works
1. Possible allergic reaction
2. Strong chemical smell, fumes
3. Messy application
4. Results vary largely
5. Not advisable for small areas on the face
The Risks of Using Depilatories
1. Chemical burn from prolonged use
2. Rash if you have sensitive skin
3. Skin discoloration if darker skin tone
1. Test a small patch of skin first to determine if there is an allergic or sensitive reaction to the depilatory agent. Wait 24 hours before using the agent.
2. Be sure to read the manufacturers instructions.
3. Set a timer to ensure that the depilatory remained on the unwanted for the suggested amount of time according to the manufacturers instructions.
4. If skin becomes itchy after use, discontinue use of the depilatory and apply a soothing lotion such as aloe vera or an anti-inflammatory skin cream.
5. To minimize irritation, try not to exfoliate (do not scrub the skin or use a mask or cleaning agent) beforehand and be sure to follow up the depilatory with a thorough rinsing and moisturizer.