What’s a depilatory anyway?

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
• Chest
• Back
• Legs
• 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
PROS
1. Relatively inexpensive
2. Quick
3. Very useful method for large areas of the body
4. No Pain
5. Exfoliates the skin as it works

CONS
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

Depilatory Tips
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.

For other options on hair removal check out bleaching, waxing, sugaring, threading, tweezing, laser, IPL, shaving options available. Should you even bother removing your hair at all? Add to Technorati Favorites AddThis Feed Button

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Tweezing Hair…ouch!

Tweezing removes your hair for the short term, it is quick and accessible. Tweezing is merely a process of removing unwanted hair by pulling the hair out close to the skins surface. It is quite a popular method for temporary hair for women. Tweezing is a simple do-it-yourself method of removing unwanted hair temporarily.

Tweezing does in fact increase the coarseness of the hairs and can distort the hair follicle damaging it permanently. Eventually scars and ingrown hairs may occur from these distorted follicles which make subsequent permanent hair removal technically more difficult.

Each time a hair is tweezed out it is being removed from the dermal papilla just under the skins surface. The re-grown hair may rebuild a deeper, stronger, darker hair to replace the one tweezed out.

How does Tweezing work?
Tweezing is a temporary method to remove unwanted hair from the face. It is not recommended for the body. Metal forceps are used to pull the hair from it’s base close to the skin surface and pulled out in the direction of the hair growth. Hair re-growth is fast, and usually occurs within 6-10 days after tweezing.

How to Tweeze
All you really need for tweezing hair is a mirror and a good pair of tweezers. Tweezers come in many shapes and sizes. Some professionals prefer slanted tweezers as they seem to be more accurate. Depending on what part of the body you are tweezing, you want to take care when pulling the hair from the base, closest to the skins surface to ensure you removed all of the hair rather then breaking it. If working on your eyebrows, brushing the hair in the direction of growth makes it easier to figure out which hair you want to remove by tweezing.

THE PROCESS OF TWEEZING HAIR
1. Brush the target hairs in the direction if the hairs natural growth
2. Isolate the hair you wish to remove
3. Hold the skin taut to prevent excess pulling
4. Direct the tweezers so that you are tweezing in the direction of the hairs growth.
5. Pull just one hair at a time to control the tweezing.
6. When holding the tweezers, pull the hair gently but with a quick and smooth direction.

The Best Areas to Tweeze on Your Face
Because tweezing involves the pulling of one hair at a time, it is most effective on smaller areas of the body or face. It can be a time consuming process.

The best places to tweeze unwanted hair on the body for men and women are:
• Upper lip
• Eyebrows
• Stray hairs

How Long Tweezing Last
Tweezed hair usually re-grows within 2 weeks of being tweezed. If hair was tweezed and a small white, hard deposit was at the end of the hair when tweezed, hair may take a little longer to grow back. That white calcified bulb on the end of the hair means that the hair was in its growing stage of development and since the hair bulb was removed, hair takes a longer time to develop.

Pros and Cons of Tweezing Hair
PROS
1. Relatively inexpensive
2. Very convenient
3. Quick
4. Very useful method for stray hairs on face and eyebrows

CONS
1. Painful
2. Difficult for large areas
3. Requires use of a mirror
4. Some areas are difficult to do yourself

The Risks of Tweezing
1. Pinching the skin as you tweeze
2. May cause ingrown hair
3. May cause pitting and scarring
4. Should not be used for nose hair, as infection may occur

Tweezing Tips
1. Hair can be softened first with hair conditioner or shaving cream before tweezing to make hair removal easier.
2. Warm the skin before tweezing to ensure hair removal by opening skins pores.
3. Invest in a professional pair of tweezers with a pointed tip for hair removal accuracy.
4. Use natural lighting whenever possible.
5. Pull the skin taut and remove hairs as close to the root as possible.
6. Tweeze in the direction of hair growth.
7. Close the pores after tweezing by applying cool compresses to area tweezed, or use an astringent to help close the pores and clean the area.

For other options on hair removal check out bleaching, waxing, sugaring, threading, depilatories, laser, IPL, shaving options available. Should you even bother removing your hair at all? Add to Technorati Favorites AddThis Feed Button

To Shave or not to Shave?

Shaving removes your for the short term, it is quick and accessible. Shaving is merely a process of removing unwanted hair by cutting the hair close to the skins surface. It is quite a popular method for temporary hair for both men and women. Shaving is a simple do-it-yourself method of removing unwanted hair temporarily.

Shaving has always carried some common misperceptions about the practice. People thought that shaving against the grain would cause hair to grow back thicker and denser. Study after study has examined the effects of shaving and has confirmed that shaving has no effect on hair growth rates or density. Shaving does, however, change the appearance of the hair. Whether with the grain or against it, shaving results in a blunt, squared off edge to the hair. Whereas the naturally growing hair had a smooth tapered end, the shaved hair maintains its square end, giving the appearance of a thicker hair, when in reality the base of the hair is the same diameter as it always, just without the taper.

How does Shaving work?
Shaving is a temporary method to remove unwanted hair from the face or body. It is the process of dragging a razor across the skins surface to remove the hair from the base along the skins surface. Hair re-growth is fast, and usually occurs within 24 hours after shaving.

Shaving as an art form
The perfect shave is what most men strive for every morning and most women wish for when shaving various parts of their bodies. It is an effortless shave that’s baby smooth, and without any of the usual skin irritations, redness and the burning sensation most people seem to feel is par for the course when it comes to shaving.

Shaving was once thought of as an art form. It was a male tradition that used to be passed down from father to son. Somewhere along the line when it became easier to use disposable, inexpensive razors, rather then a precision made metal tool, and people’s hectic schedules got even more rushed, this art form lost its luster.

How to Shave
There are two types of shaving hair, wet shaving or dry shaving. Both of these methods will remove the hair along the skins surface.

Wet shaving is just a term that implies, keeping your face or other body part wet with plenty of hot water before, and during the entire shave. It is always a good idea to take a hot shower or wash the part being shaved with warm water to open up the pores for a closer shave. After wetting the surface with water, a lubricant is applied. This lubricant can be in the form of a shaving cream, gel or foam. With this layer of lubrication, the blades of the razor skims the skins surface instead of dragging on it, which is the main cause of skin irritation, redness and shaving bumps.

Dry shaving involves the use of an electric razor. This type of shaving is ideal for the face ONLY. The razor removes hair in much the same way as wet shaving does, however it does not require any type of lubrication or a wet face to dry shave. Electric razors consist of a series of rotating blades which are held behind a metal foil that is perforated preventing the blades from coming into direct contact with the skin. The hair being shaved pokes through holes in the foil area and are removed by the rotating blades.

THE PROCESS OF WET SHAVING
1. Wet the area being shaved with warm water to open the pores in the skins surface.
2. Apply a lubricant to the wet skin, such as a shaving gel, cream or lotion
3. Make sure the blade on your razor is new or in good condition.
4. Rinse the razor blade with warm water.
5. Draw the razor in the direction of the hair growth, always keeping it in contact with the skins surface.
6. Rinse the razor with each stroke to make sure the blades are cleaned of excess shaving lubricant for a closer shave.
7. Wash off any excess shaving lubricant left on the area shaved, and pat area dry with clean towel.

THE PROCESS OF DRY SHAVING FOR FACE ONLY
1. Make sure electric shaver is clean, and if it has a battery make sure it is charged prior to shaving. If the electric razor requires it to be plugged in, make sure plug is in good working order.
2. Starting at the sideburns, applying slight pressure, run the razor along the side of your face along the grain of the hair.
3. Work your way towards the front of the face and neck area.

The Best Areas to Shave on Your Body
You can shave facial or body hair everyday if needed with virtually no pain or discomfort. Shaving is fine is for any skin tone and any type of hair. If hair is excessively long, it should be trimmed with scissors or other implement prior to shaving. Shaving works best on hair that has growth of 1/8 – 1/4 inch in length.

The best places to shave unwanted hair on the body for men and women are:
• Face
• Neck
• Under Arms
• Legs

How Long Shaving Lasts
When shaving you should expect visible re-growth within 12-24 hours after shaving. The hair follicles are always making hair and re-growth may not be visible immediately, but rest assured you will need to shave again within a 24-36 hour period. Shaving is a temporary way to remove unwanted hair.

Pros and Cons of Shaving Hair
PROS
1. Relatively inexpensive
2. No pain
3. Very convenient
4. Quick
5. Exfoliates the skins surface

CONS
1. Stubble appears quickly
2. Hair regrowth is coarse and blunt edged
3. Does not remove hair under skins surface
4. Razors need to be replaced often

The Risks of Shaving
1. Risk of nicks and cuts to the skin
2. Risk of ingrown hair if blade is not sharp
3. Can cause skin irritation such as razor burn and dry skin

Shaving Tips
1. Shave in the shower, pores are open for a closer shave when in warm climate.
2. Apply a slick lubrication such as a shaving gel, cream or lotion, this allows the blades to glide over the skin without scraping
3. Use a face scrub to massage and open pores, prime follicles and raise stubs for a closer shave. This exfoliation removes dead skin cells that can cause acne, ingrown hairs and infection.
4. Use a sharp blade and discard after 4-5 uses.
5. Avoid irritants that can damage your skin and create swelling after shaving. Never use alcohol on the area shaved after shaving.
6. Calm skin after shaving by applying a soothing moisturizing lotion.

For other options on hair removal check out bleachingwaxing, sugaring, threading, depilatories, laser, IPL, shaving, tweezing options available.  Should you even bother removing your hair at all?

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Why are some people hair-ier than others?

There are two main types of hair on the human body: vellus hair and terminal hair.

Vellus Hair
Vellus hair is soft, fine strands of hair that cover your entire body, also known as “peach fuzz”. Most women, children and pre-teens have vellus hair on their chest, back and face. Vellus hair may appear more noticeable on women with darker skin tones.
The purpose of vellus hair is to regulate body temperature. When your body temperature drops, vellus hair tends to stand straight up on the skin, creating a barrier between what is making you cold and your skin’s surface.

Hypertrichosis
Some people have more vellus hair on their bodies then others. This condition is called hypertrichosis. Hypertrichosis is common when the testosterone levels among women who are menopausal, or post menopausal rises, and the estrogen level decreases.

Hypertrichosis may also occur in people who are on certain medications containing testosterone, danazol, corticotrophin, (ACTH), metyrapone, anabolic steroids (testosterone, DHEA) and glucocorticoids such as prednisone. These medications may cause increased vellus hair and terminal hair growth (see below) as well as convert vellus hair into terminal hair.

Hypertrichosis is a common adverse effect of cyclosporin, a chemotherapy drug, and minoxidil and diazoxide used for the treatment of hypertension.

Terminal hair is considered developed hair. This type of hair is stronger, coarser, and darker then vellus hair. Terminal hair is typically found on your head, under your armpits, and in your pubic region. This type of hair may be very curly on some individuals.

During the onset of puberty, the sebaceous glands are highly active. This gland is located at the base of the hair follicle under the skins surface. During the onset of puberty this gland tends to be overactive. It plays a role in converting vellus hair into terminal hair. Sebaceous glands produce oil on the skin and hairs surface. Overactive sebaceous glands can create oily hair for many teens.

Many people want to get rid of the unwanted hair on their bodies and there are a variety of ways to do this:
“Do it yourself” methods include:
Bleaching
Shaving
Tweezing
Depliatory Cream
Waxing or Sugaring
• Threading

“Do it yourself” or using a certified practitioner include:
• Waxing/Sugaring
• Threading

Methods requiring a licensed practitioner:
• Laser
• Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Depilation lasting several hours to several days can be achieved by:
1. Shaving or trimming either using a manual or electric shavers
2. Friction by using a rough surface to buff away hair
3. Depilatories which can come as a cream or “shaving powders” that chemically dissolve hair

Epilation lasting several days to several weeks can be achieved by:
1. Tweezing, by pulling out each individual hair
2. Waxing, using either a hot or cold layer of wax applied and then removed with porous strips
3. Sugaring which is very similar to waxing, but with a sticky paste in place of wax
4. Threading, which is also called fatlah or khite, in which a twisted thread catches hairs as it’s rolled across the skin
5. Rotary epilators that are devices which rapidly grasp hairs and pull them out by the root

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Hair Removal 101

There are many places on the human body where you may consider removing hair. Less body hair, will make a person have less of an odor, especially when they sweat. Many articles have stated that the purpose for body hair on humans was directly connected with sexual attraction. The odors one’s body gives off, acts as pheromones to attract the opposite sex. Body hair holds those pheromones longer.

Although having smooth and hairless skin is a current trend, it is still a matter of preference and function why people remove body hair. Furthermore, how much of the body hair is removed also depends on the individual.

Pubic area (bikini line) is one of the top locations for this process for both men and women. When you’re young, vellus hair grows in the pubic regions of your body. As you go through puberty, that vellus hair turns into terminal hair and becomes thicker and coarser. In Western cultures many women opt to remove hair from their bikini line.

A growing number of men have started practicing male pubic hair removal methods for various reasons.
• Some say removing all of the body hair including the hair on their pubic area keeps away odor causing bacteria because it usually gets dark and moist down there.
• It is safer for both partners if the man removed his pubic hair because this can keep his partner’s private parts free from itchiness after intercourse.
• Others do it to enhance their sexual experiences. They believe that male pubic hair removal on the penis area will make one’s erection look bigger.
• If you’ve been in a relationship for some time now, shaving it off might create new interest from your partner which can help increase sexual excitement.
• Others even go to the lengths of creating designs on a shorter patch of pubic for novelty reasons.

Armpits rate as the second most common place to remove hair for women. While having hair in the armpits is acceptable in most cultures for males, it is not as acceptable for females. During the 1960’s and the invention of women’s lib, many women opted not to remove their armpit or leg hair. Currently that practice has not been widely adopted by Western culture.

Leg hair is the second most popular area Western women remove hair. Women remove leg hair mostly for aesthetic reasons. Men may choose to remove leg hair for a sport, including cycling and swimming.

Chest hair grows within the region of the male body between the neck and the abdomen. Chest hair begins to grow when a male enters puberty. Some men prefer less hair on their body and opt for hair removal.

Back Hair is another sex characteristic of some men. Many men remove the hair on their backs for a variety of reasons, most often vanity.

Facial hair removal for men is done for a variety of reasons.

Eyebrows are a common area to remove facial hair for both men and women. Sculpting the shape of an eyebrow can create a defined look for the appearance of the overall face. Many people pluck the hair between their eyebrows for vanity reasons.

Eyelash removal is not a common practice among men or women, although there is a disorder called Trichotillomania that is associated with this habit. Trichotillomania is a compulsive disorder that affects people mostly during their teenage years and may continue throughout life unless treatment is sought. Some women remove their eyelashes to enable them to wear false lashes, preferring lashes that are longer and fuller.

The desire to have smooth, hairless skin and to remove excess or dark hair usually begins in adolescence and tends to be a lifelong pursuit. Whether it is hair on the face, armpits, legs, bikini line, or other body parts, many women AND men are intent upon having the hair on their scalp be the only visible hair on their bodies.

There are many options available to remove unwanted hair, but few options to get rid of hair permanently. Each person should chose a method or combination of methods that works best for them depending on cost, time available, skin type, and the desired hair-free area.

There are numerous methods for removing or hiding unwanted hair. Some methods are “do it yourself”, others require the assistance of a licensed practitioner.

“Do it yourself” methods include:
• Bleaching
• Shaving
• Tweezing
• Depliatory Cream
• Waxing or Sugaring
• Threading

“Do it yourself” or using a certified practitioner include:
• Waxing/Sugaring
• Threading

In a few future posts I will discuss each method and the pros and cons of each.

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