A depilatory a cosmetic cream or lotion that is used to remove unwanted hair. Chemical agents used as depilatories dissolve the hair above the skin but do not affect the hair root or prevent regrowth.

Great care should always be taken in their application because these agents are caustic and often are poisonous and may damage or irritate the skin. Unwanted hair can be permanently removed by electrolysis. A weak electric current is passed through a fine needle, which is inserted into the hair canal. The current kills the hair follicle, and regrowth does not occur.

Depilatories (from Latin depilate, to pull out the hair), agents, such as calcium hydrosulphide or barium sulphide mixed with starch, and sometimes including zinc oxide or a mixture of pitch, resin and lime, used for the removal of superfluous hair from the scalp, face, or other skin surface. Electric needle treatment, known as electrolysis, is the modern and most effective depilatory, if carried out with care by a qualified operator. All other methods of depilation, including shaving, tend to stimulate regrowth of the hair.

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