Hair Removal Methods Explained | What are your options?
Hair removal methods have been around since the days of Cleopatra, it has since evolved to include a vast selection of products, tools, gadgets, and highly sophisticated equipment. With all these options now available, how do you choose which one is most appropriate for your personal needs?
Well, there are a few questions to consider:
When are you expecting your results?
What is your budget?
How much maintenance are you able to commit to?
What will the effects be?
In order to make this process a little easier for you, we’ve researched the pros, cons, and facts to consider when making your selection.
1. Epilation (ep-i-la-tion)
Process: The hair is dissolved or cut flush with skin. The root of the hair remains intact below the surface of the skin. There is no effect to the growth rate, texture, or density of growth.
Common forms of depilation are razor shaving, electric shaver, epilation cream such as Nair ™.
Longevity: 24hrs – 72hrs.
Frequency: As often as needed.
Suitable for all hair types.
No wait periods.
Hair has sharp tips when growing back.
Risk of cuts in hard to reach or contoured areas.
Chemical burns can occur if skin is not properly assessed prior to treating with creams.
Can cause ingrown hairs, razor burn, and/or skin irritation.
Depilation refers to the process of physically pulling the hair and root from the hair follicle in the skin. The process removes hair growth that is visible at the surface of the skin. Depilation can have a mild effect on the regrowth depending on the stage in which the hair is removed. The most positive effect is seen on active hair growth.
Professional Methods of Depilation
Process: Warm wax solution is applied in sections over the hair/skin. The wax and adhered hair is then swiftly pulled from the skin.
Longevity 2-3 weeks.
Frequency: 4-6 weeks or until hair is ¼ inch.
Suitable for all hair types.
Softer hair growth.
Minimize occurrence of ingrown hairs.
Must wait for the hair to grow back to the appropriate length.
Can be painful in sensitive areas.
Down-time 24hrs: no swimming, sweating, fragranced products, sun exposure.
Some sensitivity and mild swelling may occur following the treatment. Can take up to 48hrs to completely calm.
Process: A specialized thread is wound up and passed over the skin entwining the hair and pulling it from the hair follicle.
Longevity: 2-3 weeks.
Frequency: 3-4 weeks. The hair must be visible at the surface.
No risk of allergic reaction to product.
Risk of cross contamination if thread is being anchored in the technician’s mouth.
Friction burns can occur in sensitive areas.
Hair may not be completely removed from its follicle and therefore grows back sooner than expected.
Process: A warm honey-like paste is maneuvered over the treatment area, adhering itself to the hair. After placement it is lifted away from the skin, taking along with it the unwanted hair.
Longevity: 3-4 weeks.
Frequency: 4-6 weeks. Sugaring only requires 1/8 inch of hair growth and can be done as soon as 2 weeks post service.
Less length required for removal.
Suitable for all skin types.
Uncommon service, difficult to source a professional technician.
Process: Hair is reduced by destroying the root of the hair using a light energy. There are slight variances in IPL vs Laser, but both deliver permanent reduction in hair growth rate, density, and thickness.
Longevity: 5+ years
Frequency: 4-8 weeks. Until desired results (average 10-12 for max. results).
Eliminates ingrown hairs.
Smooths texture and pigmentation in areas with dark-coarse growth.
Downtime 24-72 hours with strict guidelines.
Results may regress with hormonal fluctuation.
Not suitable for deep skin tones or light hair types.
Risk of burns.
6. Electrolysis/ Thermolysis
Process: The root of the hair is destroyed by delivering an electric current to the bulb. This can be done with electrically charged tweezers, or by insertion of a charged needled into the follicular region.
An IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small T-shape contraceptive device that is placed inside of the uterus. It is worn for 3-10 years with regular check-ups. Most IUD’s have hormonal components built into a simple copper structure. Others may be made of polyethylene plastic.
Concerns with the combo…
There are concerns with this combination. Firstly, the reaction of the heat from the solid structures of the device absorbed by the body tissues. Although this sounds like a probable cause for internal burns, there are factors that make this reaction highly unlikely.
The depth of the uterus beneath the skin in the average adult female, falls within the centimetre scale (not including excess fat). This measurement includes layers of skin, fascia, muscle, fat, and the multiple layers of the uterine wall.
The light energy emitted by the device is measured on a nanometer scale and reaches up-to a 635-nanometer depth in the skin. To put this into perspective when comparing to the distance of the uterus, consider the following:
1cm = 0.01m
1nm = 0.000 000 001m
One-hundredth of a meter
One-billionth of a meter
Measurement used for object that fit on a ruler
Measurement used for objects on an atomic or molecular level
One thing to keep in mind though if you have the polyethylene IUD (contains hormones), there may be an effect on the expected results and/or number of sessions required.
If you have any underlying medical conditions and are under observation of a physician, we recommend you consult with them prior to booking your appointment, to ensure you have your questions and concerns addressed from both a technical and medical perspective.
Now that we have cleared the air, let’s CLEAR THAT HAIR!
How many treatments do I need before I see results from my IPL Hair Removal treatments?
Results are immediate!
Although your hair may require 8 – 12 sessions, you will experience lasting results with each treatment including your first.
In fact, your initial treatment will give you the most noticeable reduction. Clients report an average of 20-60% less hair growth following their initial treatment. Not only do they experience less hair growth, but the texture of the hair also becomes finer and delayed in growth rate.
Now don’t get too comfortable as this effect is not permanent just yet.
Within the first few days following your session, your hair may appear to have stopped growing. Your hair will resume growth by week 2 and at this point you might think your treatment was unsuccessful. Keep in mind that this resumed growth is a combination of active hair bulbs and inactive hair now shedding from its follicle post-treatment. Once the shedding process has ended, we are able to measure the effects of the treatment.
Your next treatment will be scheduled within 4 weeks after your first session.
Each treatment following your initial session will increase the amount of reduction by approximately 10% to maximum of 80-98% overall reduction.
Depending on the number of sessions to date, your recorded progress, and expected sun exposure, we may reduce the frequency of your treatments. You will start off with a 4 week pause between treatments, later increasing to 5 weeks, then 6 weeks until you reach your treatment goal.
Your feedback is key when tracking progress AND making progress.
At every visit your technician will be asking a series of questions in order to measure the number of sessions required to achieve your desired results. Additionally, your feedback can also used to make accurate adjustments to the intensity level of your treatment.
After each visit please ensure to track the following to share with your technician at your next visit:
How much of a reduction have you experienced?
Has the texture/ thickness of the hair changed?
Has the colour of the treated hair changed? Is the hair light, medium, or dark tone?
How long did it take for your hair to grow back after your last session?
How frequently are you shaving the area?
If there was a reaction, how long did it last, and what type of reaction was it?
Be patient and realistic with your results
Although we would love to promise maximum results after 1 session, technology is not quite there yet! For now, expect to have up to 12 sessions over the span of 1-2 years. In the meantime, you can enjoy NOT having to deal with ingrown hairs, itchy razor bumps, embarrassing 5 o’clock shadows, daily shaving routine, or painful waxing!
IPL is a light-based treatment that penetrates through the skin to a nanometer depth. The light energy is absorbed into active bulbs which then causes them to self-destruct.
Can anyone have this treatment done?
IPL is a form of radiation, therefore there are health precautions that must be considered for this treatment. If you are currently under the care of a dermatologist or physician, we recommend consulting with them prior to your booking. There also certain medications and topical products that make your skin sensitive to light, and this would be noted in your intake form and your technician would then discuss further with you.
How effective are the treatments?
In successful treatments we can observe a 98% reduction in active follicles. Following proper protocol before and after your treatment will ensure that you can achieve best results.
How many sessions do I need?
8 – 12 sessions are recommended for maximum results. The exact number of sessions will depend on genetics and personal preference. Clients report 20-60% reduction after the first treatment. Each session afterwards will reduce the remaining amount of hair by approximately 10%. Sessions are continued until the client has reached their reduction goal and growth has been stopped.
Are the results permanent?
Over the years you may begin to gradually reproduce hair in the areas treated. If the previous hair growth was caused by hormonal imbalance there is a higher chance of the hair returning and, in less time than expected. Touch-ups are recommended approximately 2 years following the last session.
Is it painful?
The sensation felt when the energy is delivered is described by most as a small pin-prick shock lasting only milliseconds. When graded on a scale from 1-5 for the pain felt during the session, clients will on average report under a level 3. The portion of the device that is in contact with the skin has a patented cooling system that keeps your skin slightly numb on contact.
How do I prep for my visit?
You must wait at least 3 weeks after waxing or tweezing before your visit. The active bulbs are required to be intact for best result. The treatment area must be shaved prior to your visit.
Do I have to follow any special instructions afterwards?
You must avoid heat exposure in the area as this may result in burns due to the heat retention from the treatment. Avoid tight clothing and friction over the treatment site. Swimming and strenuous exercise should also be avoided for 48 – 72 hrs.
When do I return for my next treatment?
Treatments are ideally spaced 4-6 weeks apart for facial areas, and 8-12 weeks apart for body areas. This follows the hairs natural growth pattern and ensures that live bulbs are present when the treatment is delivered. Once you have reached your treatment goal, you will be advised by the technician when to return for any touch-ups.