There’s a scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin in which Steve Carell undergoes a full body waxing to make his sasquatch of a chest look more presentable in his efforts to score a little female attention.
If you’ve got body hair and you’ve been through the waxing process, it’s more than likely you squirmed if you saw it. And it’s a funny testament to the things (and pain!) we’ll endure to remove unwanted body hair.
Wax it or shave it. Burn it off with depilatories or zap it with an electrical current. There’s a way to remove body hair for each individual, their budget, and (take a deep breath) tolerance for pain. But you’d to well to know which methods work best for a particular body part, how long you can expect to be hair-free and the other pleasantries that go with hair removal.
You might also be surprised to know there’s a natural way to get rid of body hair. A natural hair inhibitor, formulated with Decelerine does this, and dramatically reduces the need to shave or wax. We’ll discuss that and the end of this article.
Body Hair and Considerations For Women
What woman doesn’t know the joy of removing hair from the arm pit area? Probably the one who’s comfortable with some very awkward stares.
A little body hair may go a long way, but it goes twice as far on women as it does for men, who, with the sometimes exception of the genital region, face substantial pressure to remove hair from the arm pits, upper lip, legs and other areas where hirsuteness pops up.
More than being just an embarrassment, excess body hair in women is often indicative of an underlying medical issue. It’s time to speak with your doctor if you experience new body hair accompanied with acne, increases in muscle mass or a deepening of your voice, as these are linked to high levels of male sex hormones in women.
It’s time to speak with your doctor if you experience new body hair accompanied with acne, increases in muscle mass or a deepening of your voice, as these are linked to high levels of male sex hormones in women.
Should you experience these symptoms, your doctor might screen you for polycystic ovary syndrome – a condition caused by an imbalance of sex hormones and linked to irregular periods, obesity, infertility and even multiple cysts on the ovaries.
If your new body hair growth is caused by any of these issues, the doctor may prescribe medication to treat the hormone imbalances with prescriptions including minoxidil, cyclosporine, androgens and even anabolic steroids.
Assuming the hair you want to remove is not related to a medical condition, it’s perfectly fine to do so with the six common hair removal techniques we’ll discuss in this article.
Body Hair and Considerations For Men
Men have it a little easier in the body hair department for the simple reason that they’re hairier by nature, and in that light, can get away with more. Chest hair in particular is deemed as masculine in many Hollywood movies, with mainstream actors like George Clooney sporting growth on his pecs in some shirtless scenes, though going waxed in others.
With this being said, there’s an Adonis in all of us. Guys might be OK to pull off a little chest hair, but on other places it’s a definite sin against sex appeal. Consider body hair removal when it creeps up on the:
If there’s skin, some guys will find a way to fill it with body hair. Yet only the chest and legs are sometimes permissible in the never-ending quest to increase a man’s natural sex appeal.
Men with excessive body hair can remove it with the hair removal tips that we’ll get to in a moment. And additionally, a back-shaver is a generally male-specific hair removal product consisting of an inch and a half wide razor with hinged handles designed specifically to shave body hair in this troublesome area that tends to get hairier with age.
Six Ways to Reduce Body Hair
The following techniques are common ways to reduce unwanted body hair. They’re generally area-specific. Some offer temporary results while two are permanent, though the latter may require annual touch-ups to reduce body hair that develops with each passing year.
These techniques work on both men and women. They’re occasionally painful, but keep in mind that epilation-based hair removal, in which the root is plucked out of the follicle, tend to produce longer results than you’d get with depilation techniques that simply reduce hair from the skin’s surface.
Next to plucking individual hair, this is the easiest way to get rid of body hair. Ninety-percent of American men shave every day. Women, too, can reduce body hair with razors for the legs and genital region.
Method: With skin moist, apply a shaving cream to the target area. Then, with a clean, sharp blade, shave the growth off your skin, going in the direction of the follicle, with long, smooth strokes. You can also shave with an electric razor, though results will be less pleasing.
Use It For: You can shave any part of the body. Care should be taken, however, to avoid cuts in sensitive regions like the bikini line and posterior. Never shave broken or irritated skin and always use a clean blade.
What You’ll Pay: You can buy an electric razor for less than $50. Disposable razors are less than $10, but you’ll go through a lot of them and need to buy cream to use them with. As well, men can purchase a back shaver for under $50.
Results Last For: Less than a week.
Also Consider That: Shaving is quick and easy, but razor burns are evident, and shaving can cause ingrown hairs, especially in people with curly growth. The genital region in particular is susceptible to ingrown hairs.
Another depilation-based method to remove body hair, depilatory creams are formulated with chemicals that dissolve the proteins in body hair, causing it to fall off.
Method: After a bath or shower, with your skin moist, apply the product on the target area. Don’t rub it on, rather, apply a light coating. Wait the recommended time as provided by the manufacturer, then remove with a damp wash cloth.
Use It For: The back, arms, shoulders and legs. Depilatory creams are not recommended for the genital area unless they’re specifically designed for this sensitive region. Never use a depilatory cream on the eye brows, as it may drip into the eyes where the chemicals can cause serious damage.
What You’ll Pay: Depilatory kits for the home will cost between $10-$20. Have it done in a salon and you’ll pay between $25 and $50. Sometimes higher, depending on coarseness of your body hair.
Never use a depilatory cream on the eye brows, as it may drip into the eyes where the chemicals can cause serious damage.
Results Last For: Roughly a week. Perhaps longer, but certainly shorter than a month.
Also Consider That: Depilatory creams are chemicals, and as such, can trigger inflammation and redness in consumers with skin sensitivities. Do a test application of the product on a small area like the jaw line before using it on a larger area. Wipe it off immediately if redness occurs.
Quick, decisive, longer-lasting and decidedly painful, waxing figures prominently in many a Hollywood movie during which a hairy character endures the process to bare an eventually bronzed physique.
Waxing is an epilation-based method of hair removal, in which hair is plucked out at the root. You can have it done in a salon or within a kit designed for home use.
Method: Hot wax is applied to the targeted area, after which a piece of cloth is placed over the formula, rubbed, and swiftly ripped off the skin, with the body hair clinging to the adhesive strip. This process can also be done with sugar and soy-based solutions.
Use It For: The eyebrows, neck, arms, arm pits and legs if done at home. Do it in a salon and you can target larger, more difficult regions like the chest and back.
What You’ll Pay: Home waxing kits can be purchased for under $20. These are very messy, however, and waxing takes practice. You may be better off having this done in a salon, which will set you back anywhere from $35 to $70. Some salons won’t perform a full body wax, so look around.
Results Last For: Longer than you’d get with shaving or depilatories, at roughly four to six weeks.
Also Consider That: Try to get wax treatment done in the morning if performed in a salon, when they’re more likely to use clean wax and utensils. Look for a clean salon that’s heated to 150 degrees fahrenheit to avoid growth of bacteria. You’re trying to remove body hair, not induce a ninth grade biology experiment on your largest organ.
Laser Hair Removal
One of the few permanent ways to remove unwanted body hair, laser hair removal penetrates the hair shaft and destroys the root of the hair, though it doesn’t kill the follicle.
Method: Done in a clinic, the laser is applied to the targeted area in a roughly 30 minute session. The process works best on clients with dark body hair and fair complexion. Laser hair removal, very notably, does not work on blond, grey or white body hair, though the technology continues to get better.
Use It For: Laser hair removal works best on the chest, back and shoulders. Some women believe that laser hair removal is the best way to remove hair along the bikini line, as it side-steps the razor burns and in-grown hairs experienced with shaving, but the process can be very unpleasant.
What You’ll Pay: Roughly $400 to $500 per session.
Results Last For: They’re technically permanent. The ‘technically’ bit alludes to the surviving follicle which may develop further growth with the passage of time. In that light, most people need five to eight sessions of laser hair removal, with annual and bi-annual touch-ups done as required.
Also Consider That: The laser used in this somewhat painful technique can cause hyperpigmentation of the skin, in which the surrounding area develops permanent dark or bright spots. This risk is higher in clients with dark complexion. Don’t go near home laser treatment kits, linked to creepy side effects including blindness. Have this done professionally, or not at all.
Another permanent way to get rid of unwanted body hair. Electrolysis is a current that literally zaps the follicle dead. The process is done with either a galvanic or thermolytic-based method. The first is done with chemicals and the latter performed with heat.
Method: A tiny metal probe is inserted into the follicle, in the direction of growth, and a current is applied and adjusted according to coarseness of body hair.
Use It For: Anywhere. You might choose to start on small areas like the neck before moving on to larger spots. You can also do electrolysis to remove pubic hair but the experience ranks up there with having a root canal done with your eyes glued to a Three’s Company marathon. Apologies to the late John Ritter.
What You’ll Pay: Less for electrolysis than you would for laser hair removal, at about $50 per session. The caveat with electrolysis is you may require 30 sessions or more, and they’ve got to be done concurrently.
Results Last For: They’re permanent, because you just killed the follicle. Growth of body hair is progressive, however, so you may need to get further touch-ups with age.
Also Consider That: The pain factor may be an issue. Some clients may require weekly sessions for years at a time. If that dissuades you from electrolysis to remove body hair, there’s another method you might consider…
Natural Hair Inhibitors
This is naturalhealthsource, after all. And no article on how to reduce unwanted body hair on this website would be complete without an alternative to get rid of body hair naturally, with plant-based hair inhibitors, including Decelerine and Telocapil.
A natural hair inhibitor is not a hair removal product. Instead, it’s designed to reduce body hair growth within the follicle, during the anagen, or “growth” stage, when body hair can be persuaded not to grow.
Method: After hair removal, apply a natural hair inhibitor to the target area. Within several weeks the growth becomes shorter and more sporadic. Body hair will be less thick. Some clients report they no longer need to shave or wax while using such a product.
Use It For: Anywhere. While hair removal can be painful and area specific, a natural hair inhibitor is not painful and works as effectively on your face as it will on your legs, bikini line, buttocks, anywhere.
Try to get wax treatment done in the morning if performed in a salon, when they’re more likely to use clean wax and utensils.
What You’ll Pay: You can buy a natural hair inhibitor for less than $50.
Results Last For: Indefinitely…as long as you continue to use the product after having your hair removed with a common method like shaving or waxing. These products tend to deliver best results between six and twelve months.
Also Consider That: Natural hair inhibitors are a relatively new option to reduce body hair, yet they’re clinically proven and already catching on as a good way to keep hair off those hirsute areas. There are rumblings from the Skinception camp that such a product may be on the way. Watch this closely.
How to Treat Ingrown Hair
Get rid of hair with electrolysis or through laser treatment and this isn’t an issue. But depilation-based hair removal, including shaving and depilatories can cause those ingrown hairs that stand out, with redness that can evolve into a boil-like sore if you pick away at it.
An ingrown hair is one that’s curled around and grown into your skin rather than up and outward. Curly hair in particular is more vulnerable to this process. Men may develop ingrown hairs along the cheeks or neck after shaving. Women tend to get them along the legs, in the pubic area and armpits.
You can also get ingrown hairs on the buttocks.
While they’re annoying and can cause embarrassment, ingrown hairs are not dangerous. The best way to deal with them, if it’s an option, is simply to put the razor down and let the hair grow out naturally.
If it’s particularly stubborn, you’ve got lots of them or just have a penchant for sharp stuff, your doctor can remove ingrown hairs with a sterilized needle or scalpel. The doctor may also prescribe topical or oral antibiotics, or a skin care product with retinoids to encourage turn over of skin cells.
Other ways you can minimize ingrown hairs include:
Exfoliate Regularly – To remove dead skin and impurities
Use a Sharp Razor – Preferably with a single-blade razor
Moisten Your Skin – With warm water, followed by a lubricating gel
Rinse the Blade – Do this after each stroke
Don’t Shave Too Close to the Skin – Leave a bit of stubble
Also, if using an electric razor, hold it just above the skin. Your shave won’t be as smooth but you’ll have fewer of those troublesome red bumps to show for the experience.
Click here to learn more about how to reduce ingrown hairs.
Choosing The Best Hair Removal Method
This is often a matter of preference. The target area will also dictate which hair removal method is best for your situation. You wouldn’t use a depilatory cream to trim your eye brows, for example, though waxing would be appropriate.
You can shave anywhere. As we’ve seen however, doing so increases risk of cuts and ingrown hairs. Choose a razor designed for the target area. And be careful of cuts in your nether regions. They really sting!
Depilatories offer longer results than shaving. But remember these are harsh chemicals. So treat them as such – use them for large areas, like the back and shoulders. Stop use immediately if they cause redness or irritations.
Waxing works on every body part and the results are longer than with the above mentioned techniques. The question is, what’s your tolerance for the crisp tearing of hair from your skin? If you’re good with that, have it done in a salon. Home kits are messy and it’s highly unlikely you’ll have the tolerance or technical know-how to reach those hard to get spots. Wanna wax your own back? Exactly!
You can do laser hair removal on large areas and to thin out existing growth rather than to eliminate it completely. Men looking to reduce chest hair, for example, might pursue this option while still preserving some growth. Might come in handy next time the tide changes or Hollywood reverses its tune on chest hair acceptance. They both shift with the same frequency.
Electrolysis is also an option. Ask yourself, though, are you good to commit to a session each week, at $50 bucks a pop, for a treatment that can can take up to several years for best results? Do you mind electric shocks along the bikini line? That’s not my idea of a good time, but to each their own.
Personally, I’d go with a natural hair inhibitor. You’ll still need to have the hair removed – waxing seems to work best with this technique – but the good news is that with a natural hair inhibitor you’ll be doing this much, much less. You can also do this with shaving or a depilatory cream.
If you’re inclined to the latter, watch Skinception. There are rumors of a product on the way with Decelerine and Telocapil, of which Decelerine is linked to an 86% reduced need to remove hair on the legs. And Telocapil reduced hirsuteness by 69% in a recent clinical survey.