Waxing and Hair Removal
Hair which is unwanted is common on the upper lip, the chin, cheeks, on the back, legs, fingers, feet or toes. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, certain medications such as hormones or steroids, or even medical abnormalities, such as higher androgen (male hormone) levels or conditions of the endocrine system, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Plucking is one solution. Most people can get used to this painful method, but it won't work effectively on large areas covered with unwanted hair. There are several hair removal methods, though none are 100% permanent:
Your hair growth rate will determine how often you have to shave the affected region. Shaving is best for legs, arms or facial hair. However, this hair removal method can cause ingrowing hairs, especially in the pubic region.
Plucking is the most painful method, but may be the most worthwhile when there are just a few hairs you want to remove. Examples include re-shaping your eyebrows or pulling out stray hairs - or in men, white hairs (!) - that may appear on your face, especially for a woman. You should not use this hair removal method for large areas because it can cause ingrown hairs or worse, scarring.
Be cautious when selecting hair removal creams over-the-counter: All creams are not the same. For instance, a hair removal cream designated for pubic hair should not be used to remove facial hair. The chemicals in these products dissolve the hair shaft and drawbacks can be significant. The chemicals can also cause superficial burns. If you have a history of allergic reactions, you should seek the advice of your doctor before trying any hair removal creams.
You can do this at home or you can also have it performed by a professional in a salon. Hot waxing can be messy and may leave some hairs behind as they can break off. Infection is one side effect to watch for. Many women use this hair removal method in the bikini area and for hair on the upper lip.
Laser Hair Removal
This is one of the longest-lasting methods and generally requires 3-4 or more treatment sessions. The laser beam or a light pulse works to destroy the hair bulb itself. The treatment can be expensive and sometimes painful. Be sure to select a doctor or technician who is highly trained and knowledgeable. You may require multiple sessions, but it can be used on many parts of the body where unwanted hair may appear.
There are two primary hair removal methods of electrolysis: galvanic and thermolytic - Galvanic. Chemically destroys hair follicle. Thermolytic. Uses heat to destroy the hair follicle. In either case, be sure to find a professional who is highly trained and knowledgeable with this hair removal method. Electrolysis can be used on all parts of the body to remove unwanted hair.
If none of these hair removal methods seem to address your particular problems, ask your doctor about oral medications to inhibit hair growth.
Waxing at home - an example - the legs:
- Ensure hair is long enough to wax. Hair needs to grow out 1/4 inch (the wax needs hair to stick to otherwise it can be pulled out by the root).
- Two days before, exfoliate legs to remove dead skin.
- Heat wax by immersing container in warm water or best of all, buy a proper wax heater. These heat the wax slowly to the correct temperature. Generally, you need to turn the heater on quite few hours before starting. I am strongly against microwave wax heating. In a microwave, heating can be uneven, and/ or the wax can be easily made far too hot.
- Working in small sections, apply wax in the direction of hair growth. For proper application hold the stick at a 90-degree angle & apply a smooth, thin layer. Before wax cools completely, apply the strip to wax. To remove the strip, peel it in the opposite direction of hair growth. Don't pull straight up, it's less painful to keep the strip as close to skin as possible. If the area stings it can help to apply pressure on immediately after the strip removal. Apply a lotion containing salycylic acid to prevent ingrown hairs. Better than using spatulas, if you are going to wax regularly, is to buy a wax "gun" or roller wax unit. These roller wax units are a self contained unit which heat and maintain the wax at the correct temperature. The wax is supplied in cartridges.
Waxing on you own is not to the best solution. There is a definite "knack" to doing this successfully. The skin should really be pulled taught and the removal action is difficult to get right when working alone. Certainly on the less intimate areas, it is easier to do this with some help. With a little practice a partner may be "trained" properly (as I trained my husband!) On the legs, the partner can help hold the skin taught, but when doing the under arm areas then it is better to reverse the role. That is, you hold your skin whilst the partner pulls the strip. Like anything else, practice makes perfect.
- To remove excess wax on skin use a wax remover oil. Do not try to remove wax with hot water
- Finally, use one of the after wax calming lotions to sooth the treated area.
Waxing in intimate areas
The terms "Brazilian Waxing" and "Hollywood Waxing" are often used to refer to hair removal in the genital area. Specifically, the term "Brazilian Waxing" refers to partial genital hair removal. Normally all the hair is removed, but some forms of Brazilian waxing leave a small line of pubic hair above the vulva, commonly known as the landing strip. Waxes that completely remove the pubic hair are either termed "Sphynx" or "Hollywood" depending on the salon you visit. Sometimes the term Full Bikini Wax or FBW is used. Genital hair removal includes hair removal around the anus, vagina and perineum. I do not recommend that you try to undertake this sort of waxing at home until you have had considerable experience. In any event, it cannot be done by yourself, which means that you will need a partner to help. For obvious reasons, this may not always be practical. So, a salon visit is indicated!
At the salon, after underwear is removed a beautician asks the client to lie down and raise the legs. Talc may be sprinkled all over the bottom, anus and vagina areas. Hot wax is then spread over all these areas and then ripped off with cotton strips (generally hot wax, though cold wax is sold for home use but is considered less effective).
Professionals will minimize the number of repeat applications over the same spot. Those not so skilled will go over and over the same area thus prolonging the pain or discomfort. An experienced aesthetician will pull off the wax in a clean, fast movement. A less experienced one may hesitate causing more pain. As the client is asked to spread their legs in various embarrassing positions, acting in a matter of fact way, treating it as normal, will help a person feel a little less self-conscious.
Do check the salon carefully, though usually signs of professionalism are quite clear. Do check that fresh bed covering is used for each client and that the waxing supplies are sanitized and disposed of in a hygienic way after use. Make sure your appointment is at least one week after a period so the skin is not so sensitive.
Make sure the hair is trimmed to about 1/8th of an inch. It should be free from oils and lotion to make hair removal a lot easier. Don't rush the appointment! Allow plenty of time, at least one hour. The pain can be reduced by using an antiseptic preparation in advance. Also, following up with a soothing lotion containing Aloe Vera or Calamine Lotion can reduce the itching and discomfort.
Buying a Home Waxing Kit
There are many available and I offer a few of these in my shop selection. The basic parts are: A heater, wax, pre-wax, post wax (soothing), oil based cleaner, spatulas and muslin strips. Purpose made heaters are by far and away the best way. These may be slow, but heat and maintain the wax at the correct temperature. Microwaves and boiling the wax can be very hit and miss - getting the wax too hot can be very painful, if not dangerous. Personally, I prefer to use (and do use) the cartridge system (sometimes called a wax gun)