The quest to find the perfect hair removal method is endless. Actually no, it is not. You know us. Laser hair removal all the way. It solves a lot of problem and gets you hair-free forever. Thus, there is an end in sight and it is laser hair removal. Although we busted all those laser hair removal myths already, we can understand that the treatment remains intimidating. Thus, people go through a lot of different hair removal methods before they eventually settle on laser hair removal. Depilatory creams are one of them.
People usually go through stages in their fight against body hair. Those who wish to be rid of hair I mean. They usually start with razors. After all, shaving is quick, easy, convenient and inexpensive. Even though the combined cost of shaving will add up with the years, in the short-term, it seems very worth it. Then, people tend to move onto depilatory creams, believing that the results hold longer than razors. Wrong, but we'll get onto that later.
What You Need To Know About Depilatory Creams
When they do not pick depilatory creams as their second option, people will go for waxing or sugaring. After all, it is the closest to long-term hair growth reduction you get. After years and year of waxing, your hair growth system will eventually weaken and you will notice less body hair. But that's gonna take a lot of time. And money too. Plus, waxing also has some negative side effects one needs to be aware of. What about depilatory creams though?
What Are Depilatory Creams
There are many brands of depilatory creams. The most common are Veet and Nair. Depilatory creams can be a cream, a gel or a lotion. The principle remains the same for all: to remove unwanted hair on the face and on the body. They are a common hair removal method because such chemical creams can be found in a drugstore or supermarket. Furthermore, they can be applied on your own and produce quick results.
Chemical hair removal isn’t new. Native Americans used a chemical called lye to get rid of body hair. People in ancient Turkey used quicklime, or calcium oxide, to remove hair. Nair, for example, has been around since 1940. It has successfully positioned itself as a fast, easy alternative to shaving and a less painful proxy to waxing.
Depilatory creams are spread onto the surface of the skin. The chemical used in such products will dissolve the keratin in the hair. Once the hair breaks down or dissolve, it can be wiped off the surface of the skin easily. Depilatory creams remove the hair shaft, not the hair root. Thus, they have the same effect as shaving.
How Do They Work?
Depilatory creams contain chemicals that will break down the hair shaft. They usually contain ingredients such as thioglycolic acid: calcium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide and potassium. Those ingredients will increase the pH of the hair, effectively dissolving portions of the follicles.
The base chemical in depilatory creams makes the hair shaft swell or open. This helps the chemical salts enter the hair and break down the bonds that make hair fibers stick together. Chemical creams attacks sulfur bonds in the hair shaft. The sulfur reaction can cause a rotten egg smell.
There are many different formulas of chemical creams but they essentially all have the same goal: to break the hair shaft and dissolve the hair. Then, it can be easily wiped away. The cream, gel or lotion is applied with a spatula. Let rest for three up to ten minutes and wipe away with the same spatula. Remember to always rinse and wash any cream left away.
Can Depilatory Creams Permanently Remove Hair?
Depilatory creams are not a permanent hair removal method. They are not a long-term hair reduction method either. The combination of chemicals present in chemical creams such as Nair or Veet will dissolve the hair shaft. some will break the Keratin. However, everything will happen directly below the skin surface yet still above the hair root.
As a result, the hair will be able to start growing back almost immediately after applying depilatory cream. In the end, using a depilatory cream is similar to shaving, the only difference being there is no blade. The results may last longer since the depth of action is bigger than with shaving. The speed of regrowth will also vary from one person to another as well as their hair growth cycle.
If you used to shave once a week, it is likely to you will also have to Nair once a week. As of now, the only permanent hair removal method called as such by the FDA is electrolysis. Laser hair removal is considered a long-term hair growth reduction method even though a lot of patients achieve permanent hair removal.
What Are Their Side Effects?
Now, there are may reasons why you should stop using depilatory creams as a way of removing hair. First of all, it is economically not sustainable since it becomes quite expensive in the long term. Second of all, it is not more effective than shaving. Third of all, it will never be permanent nor produce long-term results. However, the main reason why you should stop using depilatory cream is because of all the negative side effects they can have.
Ingredients such as calcium thioglycolate can cause varying amounts of skin irritation. This will depend on how sensitive your skin is and what part of your body you are using the product on. Skin irritation can vary from a mild tingling or burning sensation to the appearance of a rash (chemical dermatitis). The application of a soothing lotion, such as those containing aloe vera, may also lessen skin irritation.
Depilatory creams combine two main active ingredients: potassium thiogycolate and calcium hydroxide. Those can create a potent chemical mixture that can burn if left too long on the skin. The recommended time of application usually is three minutes. Ten minutes is the maximum. Of course the probability of getting burns also depending on how sensitive your skin is. Symptoms can be small like redness and forming blisters. However, they can get as severe as vomiting, dizzines, fainting, and weakness.
With all those chemicals, experiencing an allergic reaction is also possible. It can turn into a dangerous risk depending on the severity of the reaction. It is always best to test the product on a small area of skin prior to using it fully. Thus, you will be able to see how your skin reacts. Allergic reactions may include swelling, welt formation, rash, hives, difficulty breathing and dizziness. If you experience an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
Should You Use Depilatory Creams On Sensitive Areas?
No. And that is the only possible answer. The chemicals in depilatory creams are active formulas meant to dissolve the hair shaft. Even using such creams on a "non sensitive areas" has risks: burns, irritation, allergies. The skin around private parts and on the face is very sensitive and vulnerable to such products. Thus, depilatory creams are very often not suitable for sensitive areas.
We understand the desire to remove hair around the bikini line or near the pubic area. However the skin is much thinner there, meaning it is more sensitive to burning. The best course of action is to avoid using depilatory creams there and look for an alternative hair removal solution. While shaving will not produce good results and waxing will be painful, laser hair removal is the best way to remove hair around the bikini area.
Depilatory creams are a short-term hair removal methods that will never let you achieve that smooth skin you so much desire. It is also not without risks for your skin and health. Plus, it is never a good idea to subject your body to chemicals. The best alternative to depilatory creams remains laser hair removal, which is much safer and produce greater results.
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