Removing unwanted hair from a human body permanently has existed in human cultures since way before the Neolithic age. While the methods and techniques used for hair removal have been different for each age and region, its philosophy has remained the same.
Starting from cultural to sexual aspects to fashion, hygiene, and religious or spiritual purposes, hair removal has been an important part of human history.
And even though removing hair from any part of your body is completely a personal choice, unwanted hair can easily creep up on parts of your body that you might not be excited about.
The History of Body Hair Removal
For hundreds of years, removing hair has been centered around gender roles, social status, and hygiene. In Ancient Rome, hair removal was a sign of purity and superiority, performed by both men and women. People in Ancient Egypt used it as a source of treatment for louse infestation, and in Muslim cultures, removal of the pubic hair and axillary hair for hygiene purposes serves as religious purposes.
Fashion, cultural, and sexual aspects play a huge role in hair removal as well. While hair removal has always been performed by both men and women throughout the centuries, with an increase in popularity in women’s fashion clothing, such as sportswear and swimsuits, removing hair from different parts of the body such as legs, armpits, and the bikini line has also become popular along with it.
This has caused men and women subject to experience social acceptance problems and body images issues related to body hair as well. Nowadays, it’s common for both men and women to remove their hair from many places, including the ears, armpits, arms, and legs.
Common Places Hair Can Grow for Men and Women
Body hair growth is completely unpredictable as so many factors can affect where it happens. While hair starts growing from adolescence, how it affects men and women can also differ. For both men and women, body hair can grow on the legs, arms, head, armpits, and private parts.
It’s more common for men to have hair in other areas of the body than women, such as the chest, back, and face and although some women can have hair on the area above the upper lip and sometimes the chin, some women may also have a certain condition called hirsutism which can cause hair growth in places where typically women don’t grow hair.
For men who aren’t used to removing hair other than from shaving the face and armpits, it can become overwhelming for them who aren’t accustomed to it. On the other hand, women are more used to and conditioned to remove body hair from a young age.
Is It Normal To Have A Lot of Body Hair?
Yes, there is nothing inherently wrong with having a lot of hair or any amount of hair on your body. It is a natural process that is impacted by your genetics, environment, gender, and much more. It is completely fine for someone to be comfortable with the amount of hair on their body. But for those who are not, this article contains the answers and the options available for you to remove hair from your body permanently.
With that in mind, let’s look into body hair removal tips and techniques.
What Are Hirsutism and Hypertrichosis?
Hirsutism is a condition that causes women to have excessive hair growth on their faces and bodies. This can include the upper lip, chin, chest, and back. An excess of androgens, which causes hair growth in males, is the reason for the condition in women too. While low levels of androgens are typical in all sexes, higher levels of this hormone can lead to the condition.
The reasons that cause hirsutism are:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Disorders in the pituitary gland, adrenal gland, or thyroid gland
- Tumors on the ovary
- Resistance to insulin
- Imbalances in hormones
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Anabolic steroids and more
While androgens can cause hirsutism in women, this condition won’t occur in men. Although, testosterone in men is the leading cause of more hair.
Both men and women can also have hypertrichosis which is considered to be a disorder that causes excessive hair growth everywhere in the body, although this is rare.
Body Hair Removal Types
When it comes to hair removal, there are two types of it: depilation and epilation. Unbeknownst to most, the difference between the two is significant and plays a role in how often you have to remove hair from your body and the different ways the hair can grow back. That means it can affect aesthetics as well as comfort. Depilation only removes hair from the surface of the skin, while epilation removes hair from below the skin where the root of the hair resides.
Some examples of depilation are:
- Shaving: When shaving, the razor pulls the hair but just cuts off at the surface of the skin. This makes the hair grow back darker and coarser.
- Depilatories or cream hair removers: These products use strong chemical compounds or creams which only destroy the hair on the surface of the skin by weakening it. Then the hair is removed by simply wiping off the disintegrated hair residue.
- Abrasives: Abrasives are sandpaper-like materials that remove hair by rubbing it off.
- Threading: Threading requires hair to be broken off the skin surface using a thread, hands, fingers, and mouth.
Some examples of epilation are:
- Waxing: Wax can be found in many different forms, such as hot wax and cold or liquid wax. Wax products are applied to the skin and allowed to harden while it is covered with a piece of cloth. The cloth is then pulled from the edge, which allows hair to be removed from its base.
- Electrolysis: Electrolysis uses a needle that is inserted into hair follicles all the way down the root. The hair root is then removed by passing a galvanized current through it.
- Tweezing: Tweezing is the most common example of removing hair from the root.
- Laser: Using lasers to remove hair consists of pointing an invisible laser at the area that requires hair removal.
A more detailed description, including a comparison of the costs attached, advantages, and disadvantages of each hair removal method is mentioned below.
Body Hair Removal Techniques
While there are widely accepted methods of removing hair from the body, as mentioned above, there are also natural methods and remedies to stop or reduce hair growth as well. We’ve divided the methods into two parts: the usual and the natural. With that in mind, let’s learn more about these techniques.
The Usual Methods
Method 1: Shaving
Shaving is a classic hair removal technique that has been around for ages. Using a razor is handy. It’s convenient to get your hands on and easy to do, not to say it’s one of the cheapest options available. You can use a razor to shave any part of your body, even your private parts.
However, it’s also easy to bruise yourself with a razor. There can be ingrown hairs and you could also develop a rash afterward. Shaving can also make the hair grow back harder and stronger which can be irritating as well.
The results of shaving are also short-lived as hair will grow back faster than before every time you shave. Although you can use a razor almost anywhere on your body for hair removal, it can also cause cuts around the shaved area.
Tips on using a razor to shave any part of your body:
- Trim the hair to a shorter length before shaving.
- Use a sharp and fresh blade and sterilize it before using it.
- Wet the area you want to shave.
- Exfoliate the area for shaving with shaving foam or gel (except for your private parts, obviously).
- Use gentle strokes to shave the area.
- Rinse the shaved hair after each stroke to make sure the area is smooth and visible.
- Let the shaved area dry. Don’t use a towel to dry it. Store the razor at
- Moisturize the area with a moisturizer or oil. Avoid soap for a while as it could dry out the area more than necessary.
Method 2: Hair removal cream/Prescription creams/Depilatories
Depilatories or hair removal creams or prescription creams are easily available and comparatively inexpensive options for hair removal. These products work by dissolving the hair it is applied on.
Like shaving, removing hair with such creams isn’t a long-term option, but the effects will remain longer than shaving, tweezing, and waxing. Prescription creams or depilatories aren’t exactly as cheap as shaving, as a month of treatment will cost you anywhere around $10 to $50, and the effects will last for about eight weeks.
Compared to shaving, this is a much better option for your skin. There won’t be any rashes, and the hair won’t grow back harder than before. And you will also have smoother results afterward.
Of course, hair creams and depilatories contain chemicals that might not suit your skin. If you’re using any chemicals, it’s best to take your doctor’s advice before using them. Some products can cause itching and irritation after a few months of using it, if not immediately. Another con of using creams is that they might smell bad.
Tips for using hair removal cream:
- Apply the cream evenly over the hairy area.
- Follow the instructions provided with the product. Every product typically includes a waiting period after applying.
- Then use the instructed method to wipe off the cream and hair and then rinse the skin clear.
Method 3: Waxing
Waxing is one of the most expensive ways to remove hair. It’s also one of the most painful options available. Wax allows hair to be pulled out from the root. Hair growth after waxing is also slower than shaving and using a hair removal cream as it can last up to 2 months.
The upside here is that your skin can get used to the process of waxing, so over time, it becomes less and less painful. Waxing can also cost anywhere between $15 to $100 and can be applied anywhere on the body. However, you should not use wax over veins, moles, warts, and sunburnt skin.
You should also know that waxing can also cause mild rashes and slight irritation, which is usually temporary.
Tips for waxing:
- Always grow your hair out as much as you can. It should be at least ¼ inches long. If it is longer, you should trim the hair.
- Next, prepare the skin by taking a warm shower and exfoliating your skin using a body scrub.
- Don’t apply any tan, oil, or moisturizer right after showering.
- Use an after-wax gel or lotion to soothe the area you have waxed. This gel is usually provided by the beauty salon you will wax from.
- Wear loose clothing to let the skin breathe and avoid sunbathing, saunas, and steam rooms.
Method 4: Threading
Threading consists of using twisted cotton threads and fingers to remove unwanted hair. It’s perfect for areas such as the eyebrows and is more accurate than tweezing or plucking out the hair. However, the hair growth is still slower than results from shaving and hair creams and can take up to 4 to 5 weeks for the hair to grow back.
Tips for threading:
- Threading is not suitable for large areas, so always get it done on small areas like around the forehead and the eyebrows.
- Find a good salon with experienced professionals who know how to thread.
Method 5: Electrolysis
Electrolysis is a new and trendy hair removal technique suitable for permanently removing hair from the face and the body. It uses short wave radio frequencies from a specific device that destroys hair by inserting needles into the hair follicle. It’s a lot like using tweezers to pluck out body hair.
Electrolysis can be performed on almost any part of the body and work on any hair type. However, the downside to electrolysis is that it requires multiple sessions to achieve the desired results and is quite costly, varying from $35 to $100 for an average of 8 to 12 sessions.
The number of sessions can easily vary from person to person depending on their body and how much hair they have on their body. As a result, the costs can significantly vary as well. Once all the sessions are completed, you won’t need any more maintenance treatments.
- Side effects from electrolysis include stinging, redness, and irritation in the area you applied it. Some people can also end up having an infection and excessive scar tissue around the area if an inexperienced operator carries out the electrolysis. Unsterile probes can also cause skin or blood infections.
Tips for electrolysis:
- Ensure that the electrolysis technician is either a board-certified dermatologist or electrologist.
Method 6: Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal is the costliest of methods available, but it does remove hair permanently after a few more sessions. It can cost around $250 for 4 to 6 treatments. Laser hair removal uses a high-powered light beam to target hair follicles and destroy them. It can be applied anywhere in the body except the area around the eyes.
According to AAD, it will take around seven treatments to remove the hair permanently. The hair also grows back thinner after each treatment. The treatment can be used safely on people with any skin color; however, the person performing it should be well-experienced in working with darker skin tones.
Laser hair treatment, however, doesn’t work on blonde, white, gray, and red hair due to the inability of the lasers to target light-colored hair effectively. It can also include side effects such as redness, skin irritation, which fades away in a few hours, and temporary pigment changes, especially in darker skin tones. Sometimes, it can also cause blistering and scarring.
Tips for laser hair removal:
- Make sure that an experienced doctor performs the treatment on your body. It’s easy to injure the skin with this treatment if the person performing it is inexperienced.
- Talk to a board-certified dermatologist to see if it will cause any side effects for you specifically.
- Keep the treated area covered and out of the sun until the skin heals.
- If you have a tan, wait until it fully fades away before getting a laser treatment.
- Don’t get it while you’re pregnant.
Natural Hair Removal Methods
While there are plenty of hair removal methods that can cause pain, irritation, reactions and prove to be costly, there are options for cheap, natural, homemade hair removal solutions that have proven to be effective.
Sugar wax has become increasingly popular over the years. While you can order your sugar wax, it can completely be homemade using basic ingredients: 200g sugar, 60ml lemon juice, and 60ml water.
To make sugar wax at home, add all the ingredients into a saucepan and stir them together while heating. This will allow the mixture to come to a boil.
Once it is boiled, allow it to simmer on low to medium heat while stirring frequently. You will see it has turned golden brown. This is when you know that it’s time to remove the mix from the pan.
Pour the mixture into a jar and allow it to cool for 30 minutes. Then, you can use sugar wax just like a normal wax. Check out the tips above for waxing as they apply with sugar wax as well.
A pumice stone is another natural way to remove hair from your body. The rough texture of the stone allows it to catch hairs and remove them from the skin. To use it, get a dry pumice stone. Make sure that it’s clean and the skin is dry. Next, make circular motions on the area you want to remove your hair from. Afterward, moisturize the area.
Eggs can have many redeeming qualities and can offer nutrition as well while removing hair from your body. This option also combines a few different ingredients: 1 egg white, 1 tbsp sugar, ½ tbsp cornflour.
Once you’ve combined the ingredients, apply a thin layer of it on clean and dry skin. Then, leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes and you will observe that it forms a thin film. Once the film has solidified, peel off the mask and you’ll notice impurities and facial hair on it.
You should definitely give this a try as it’s not only a great solution to remove hair from the face but also amazing for the skin. But, of course, it will only extract light hair from the skin.
Papaya has been shown to carry enzymes that cause a depilatory effect on the skin, which basically means that it can remove hair. It can also provide a long-term solution although it’s not an overnight solution. It does reduce hair growth over time. For creating a papaya paste, you’ll need 1 to 2 tbsp mashed, raw papaya flesh, and ½ tsp turmeric powder.
Mix the ingredients together and you’ll see that it has formed into a paste. Use the paste to rub it onto your skin and massage the mixture well. That allows the mixture to reach your hair follicles. Then, leave it on for 15 minutes and wash it off with water afterward. You should repeat this process at least 2 to 3 times per week and you’ll notice a decrease in hair regrowth eventually.
As you can see, there’s no end to hair removal methods from unwanted places on the body. Choosing the right method can be a difficult task and requires exploration and guidance from an experienced professional. You also need to weigh the pros and cons of each method and see what works best for you. If you’ve been looking for permanent solutions that work effectively over time, you should definitely try out some of these methods for yourself and let the results speak for themselves.
Recommended For You: