Men have a variety of treatment options to reduce or remove unwanted body hair.
Common choices range from at-home treatments using waxes or depilatories and epilators or tweezers to professional procedures such as electrolysis and laser treatment programs.
Shaving by hand is the most common choice for hair removal. The key to a safe, close shave is ensuring that the hair to be removed is soft and pliable.
It is also essential to use a clean, sharp razor.
Treating shaved areas with moisturizing lotions will not only soothe the area but also help prevent skin dryness.
Among the most popular shaving alternatives, depilatories are liquid substances that are applied to areas with unwanted hair. The products, often gels, lotions or creams, dissolve the protein structure of the hair so that it is easily removed from the skin.
Depilatories are spread on the hairy area, left to sit for up to 15 minutes (depending on manufacturer recommendations), then wiped off, taking the unwanted hair with them.
The Food and Drug Administration cautions consumers to only use depilatories on areas outlined on product labels because high concentrations of the active ingredients can cause skin irritation in sensitive areas.
The administration also warns that chemical burns are possible should depilatories be left on the skin longer than recommended by the manufacturer. Depilatories should also never be used near the eyes or on broken or inflamed skin.
Using tweezers, waxing and sugaring are ways to remove hair at the root. The methods can be more uncomfortable than depilatories, but the FDA reports that the effects last longer.
Tweezers are ideal tools for removing unwanted hair from small areas such as the nostrils, ears, and forehead. The tweezer is used to grasp the hairs, which are then plucked out.
Waxing or sugaring can remove hair from larger areas such as the chest, belly, and back. Waxing involves spreading the hot or cold was on the skin in the direction of hair growth. As the wax sets, the hair becomes trapped in it and it is removed by pulling the wax off in the opposite direction as the hair growth.
Sugaring is applied and removed in the same way, but using a material used is composed of sugar and lemon.
Electrolysis is the removal of hair by devices such as needle epilators and should be performed by professionals.
Needle epilators utilize a fine wire that is pushed under the skin into the hair follicle to destroy the hair root.
Although not 100 percent effective in all patients, electrolysis is considered by many as a proven method for permanent hair removal.
Electrolysis can be expensive and time-consuming, often involving a series of treatments over a long period of time, sometimes years.
The effective use of laser treatments has made them more and more popular in recent years. Laser treatments are by prescription and should be performed by a professional using FDA-certified equipment.
The FDA has thus far deemed laser hair removal devices as “permanent reduction” tools, not permanent removal tools.
The reason for the distinction is that while laser hair removal procedures do, in fact, permanently remove hair in some areas for some people they will not do so for everyone all the time.
Lasers that the FDA has approved for body hair removal have also been approved for facial hair removal.
A laser is a high-intensity light channeled into abeam. Focusing a laser on an area of skin disrupts the hair follicles, thereby retarding future growth in that area.
Treated hair follicles have also been known to produce future hair with less density then hair prior to laser treatment.
Laser treatments can be expensive and time-consuming, often multi-treatment procedures that can last months.