I used to look like my legs ran through a bramble bush when I put on my bathing suit—embarrassing hair and stubble that seemed impossible to eliminate. And there were the shaving cuts (*dab some emu oil on that for antibacterial fast healing) and ingrown hair bumps. Sooo attractive in summertime shorts, right?
Because this is bare-leg season, let’s review the latest in hair removal.
Grooming is a fine idea and lately, many folks have taken that to the extreme and have started removing pretty much everything except hair on our scalps; even many men have gotten into this trend—but it isn’t always the best idea. Hair on our bodies—even down there—exists for a reason.
Some people believe removing pubic hair is more hygienic, but there is no evidence to support this and indeed, leaving your skin irritated and over-sensitive in your crotch area or cut by razors could make you more susceptible to STDs and other infections.
Some people over-groom because they don’t want anything showing out the sides of bathing suits, or because their partners prefer them less hairy. But for every man or woman who likes the bare-there look, there are at least two who prefer the au natural woman or man.
Grooming unwanted hair is really a matter of personal preference, so I won’t opine on pro or cons. This blog post will focus on how to remove unwanted hair so you look your best whatever you decide to do—or where to do it.
Permanent Hair Removal:
Electrolysis (targeting individual hair follicles with electric current via a thin needle) used to be the only way to permanently remove hair, and it was slow going and costly. The current preferred way to permanently remove unwanted hair is with laser hair removal; it is a little faster, but it’s also pricey; and like electrolysis removal, it could take more than one treatment.
If you just have a few stray hairs you want removed, such as between the eyebrows or on the upper lip or chin, electrolysis is probably more cost effective (if you can still find a trained technician—an electrologist). As for the little stinging you get during both laser or electrolysis treatment: they are pretty similar in intensity and both methods can adjust the strength of the laser or electric current to lower levels for more comfort.
Laser hair removal used to only work on removing dark hair on lighter skin tones, but there is now a laser known to work for people with darker skin: the ND:Yag laser. Before going to a technician, call and ask about this and better yet—go for a consultation beforehand.
Before going for either electrolysis or laser hair removal, do not shave, wax or remove any hair for at least a week so that the technician can see and target the individual hairs and remove them easily after treatment. Do not over-exfoliate your skin—that will make it too sensitive for treatment. And do not tan or burn beforehand.
You should also know that methods involving any kind of “electric tweezer,” has not been recognized by the FDA as effective, and any kind of at-home consumer product claiming light or laser technology for laser hair removal is a rip-off; if any of those products remove hair, it will be temporary at best, do nothing at all at worst.
Temporary Hair Removal
Myth: removing hair by shaving or waxing makes it grow in darker, thicker or coarser. No, it doesn’t; it just might seem that way at first when stubble comes back in, but once the hair reaches its normal length, it will be the same length, strength and color as before. After all, if shaving or waxing hair made hair thicker—why don’t men losing their hair shave or wax to prevent loss and make their hair thicker? (Because it doesn’t; not on the head, not anywhere).
Bleaching is a way to lighten facial hair or arm hair, by using one of the specialized body-hair bleaching products found in drugstores. If you have sensitive skin, bleaching could be irritating—therefore, always test a new product on a small area several hours before using it to see how your skin reactions.
Shaving—yes, even the hair on your face—may be the solution if you have mostly peach fuzz and fine hair that bothers you; if your hair is dark and coarse, consider one of the permanent options above. An advantage to having a hairless face is that it will allow your glowing skin to show off without the dulling effect of fine fuzz. Makeup and skin lotions will glide on and blend more smoothly, and because hair in general traps dirt and bacteria, you’ll have less exposure to bacteria on your face (which can mean less of an issue with breakouts).
Women must be very careful and go slow if they take a razor to their facial skin to avoid nicks and cuts (same with guys). You might prefer to use one of the single-razor “dermaplaning blades” that are sold in beauty supply stores to get at the fuzz on your face. (By the way, guys might really like the Debonair Shaving Lather, designed for men’s coarse facial hair).
The best preparation for leg shaving is exfoliation! *Our 15% Acid Body Wash is an excellent choice. You want to loosen any clogged hair follicles or ingrown hairs so the razor can get to them. Use a loofah or scrubbing gloves before you shave, use shave cream, and don’t forget to lavish on moisturizer afterwards, such as Pure Virgin Shea Butter.
*Avoid using any products with skin acids (like our Triple Treat 25% Body Lotion) immediately after shaving to avoid irritation.Use it tomorrow, or later in the evening when the skin is calm.
If you are prone to ingrowns—it’s best to use an electric shaver because they don’t cut the hair too close to the skin and thus will help prevent ingrown and allow any already there to grow out (if they aren’t too deep).
Waxing is another method that has been around forever, but it’s not for everyone. For one thing, you need to let your hair grow long enough for the wax to grab hold of, and you might not want to wait for that. If you do decide to wax, be sure the wax isn’t too hot before you apply it or you can get a burn. Some people find waxing is too irritating to their skin and some find that ripping out hair below the skin surface with wax results in ingrown hairs. And yes, it does hurt.
You’ll find chemical hair removers in drugstores, such as the well-known Nair brand, and they do work very well—however, these are strong chemicals that can highly irritate sensitive skin. Before using, try a small amount on a small patch of skin several hours ahead of time to see if you get any immediate or delayed reaction (you should always test every new skin product this way!)
Where can I buy Dana's Book?
The Skin Regime; Boot Camp for Beautiful Skin, available as a Kindle download or Buy paperback to buy your paperback copy from Platinum Skin Care. You can also read the first chapter--FREE--by click here to read 1st chapter.