Laser Hair Removal and Other Techniques
There are many ways to remove unwanted hair from your body. Some require an investment in money, others require an investment in time, and some require nerves of steel to endure the irritation or pain of hair removal.
The cheapest method, next to spending nothing and just being hairy all over, is tweezing, but tweezing works best in small areas, like the face. I don't recommend it for an entire leg (or two) or for removing a facial beard. Ouch! Next up, is probably shaving. Razors are inexpensive (yes, there are fancy, expensive razors out there, but they aren't required to get a close shave). Most people use their disposable razors longer than recommended by the manufacturer and it takes anywhere from five to ten minutes in the shower or at the sink to remove whatever hair is in your way.
Next up the ladder of expense comes at-home creams and powders and at-home gadgets, followed by professional hair removal. The following list provides a quick definition of the most commonly used hair removal techniques, after tweezing and shaving:
Depilatory creams and powders - A chemical compound dissolves hair above surface of skin, often leaving dark dots of hair growing from follicle under skin in users with dark hair. Requires frequent use and is often caustic and irritating to skin.
Friction/Sanding - A rough, sanded surface, often a "mitt," is used to buff hair off skin. Basically, this is pink sandpaper and it has to be used frequently and very carefully so as not to harm the skin. Though cheap and easy to find in most pharmacies, actual superfine (400-600 grit) sandpaper works just as well and is much cheaper. Works best on fine hair and requires moisturizer. This was a popular technique during times of war and rationing. Sandpaper was easy to come by and razor blades were not.
Waxing/Sugaring - A hot wax or hot sugar paste is wiped onto the skin and pressed with a piece of cloth until the cloth is adhered to the wax or paste. The cloth is then pulled up, against the hair growth pattern, quickly removing all hairs that have stuck to the paste or wax. Yes, it is painful, but lasts longer than the surface hair removal techniques listed above.
RX topical (Vaniqa) - This is an enzyme (eflornithine hydrochloride) that inhibits hair growth. If you stop using it the hair grows back within two months. Requires a doctor's prescription and the success rate is haphazard.
Threading - Hair plucking by a professional who grabs several hairs at a time in loops of thread and pulls the hair out at the root. Can result in a bacterial infection called folliculitis which causes red and puffy skin until healed. Some say it is less painful than regular tweezing.
Rotary epilator - An electric device with rotating rows of tweezers that pull hairs from their follicles. Works best on thick, longer hair in easy-to-reach areas. Does not work well on fine hair or on awkward areas, like the back of the legs. Most users find it painful.
Home electrolysis unit - A low power electrolysis unit that allows user to treat individual hair follicles in privacy. Takes about 20 seconds per hair versus a professional electrologist's one second per hair. Low success rate.