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Updated on March 26, 2013

Depilation and Epilation:

The term “hair removal” is part of our everyday vocabulary especially in a western society where body hair is viewed is aesthetically not beautiful; the scientific term for “hair removal” are depilation and epilation. Depilation means removal of hair on the top layer of skin while epilation means removal of hair including the root of the hair and can be used to refer to hair removal of humans or animal.

Depilation is practiced all over the world, in many different methods, and for centuries now. Some reasons for hair removal include, but not limited to, religious reasons, medical reasons, military, sports, punishment (although getting your hair removed is not so embarrassing these days), esthetic, and personal reasons as well.

With so many hair removal methods on the market today, which method is right for you? To find out which method is best suited for you some questions to ask yourself would be; “how much money am I willing to spend?” “How much time am I willing to spend?” “Do I want it done professionally or in the comfort and privacy of my own home?” “How much pain can I put up with?” “Which part of my body will the depilation be used on, (if multiple parts then multiple methods may need to be used)?” “How permanent do I want the hair removal to be (this may depend on the part of your body)?”

When depilating hair off the body there is, as of today, only three ways which are shaving, trimming, depilatories, and friction (or buffing). With shaving and trimming of the body hair this can be achieved through with either a manual or electric razor or shaver. Shaving and trimming is the method most commonly used by both genders but it is also the method that may eventually lead to more hair meaning constant and long term practice of depilation. Depilatory products is usually a cream (can be in other forms as well ei; gel), it is a chemical that breaks the hair down so that the hair is basically dissolved away. And depilation through friction is using a rough surface to buff hair away like sandpaper on wood. The last two methods mentioned will take longer for hair to grow back.

Epilation is the removal of hair including taking out the root. Epilation does usually last longer then depilation, can be more permanent, and there are also more methods that can be choose from. But it is also the more painful way to remove hair from your body. The most popular ways of epilation are tweezing, waxing, sugaring, laser, and threading. The less common way of epilation are turmeric, epilators (although growing in popularity), electrology, intense pulse light, photodynamic therapy, and oral medication.

Tweezing is probably the most inexpensive way of epilation hair removal, but can take a long time if you have a lot of hair that needs to be removed. All you need is a pair of tweezers to remove your hair for years to come. Waxing and sugaring are very similar as they both take off a strip of hair quickly, you do however have to buy sugaring or waxing materials but there are also home recipes that can be found on the Internet for both which only requires at home ingredients. Threading requires some practice, but it is using a piece of thread that is twisted and it rolls across the skin to remove hair, it is a very popular practice in India. You can get any of the mentioned three methods professionally done but you can also do any of these methods at home, threading cannot be done to all body parts. Laser hair removal is also a very popular way to remove hair, it is also a permanent solution to being hairless but this method is also the most expensive method and it requires at least 4-6 sessions every 8-10 weeks but it also depends on each person and how their hair reacts to the treatment.

Tumeric is a plant that is usually mixed together with other ingredients that is then spread over area with hair and wiped off. This method is recommended for finer hairs and not for thicker hairs, it’s a method that is more commonly used in India as a method to remove unwanted hair. Although using turmeric plant sounds a lot like it is a depilation method, it is suppose to dissolve the hair from the root. Epilators is basically a mechanical set of tweezers that that plucks the hair out, this machine can range anywhere from 50 dollars to 150 dollars but this method can be done from the comfort of your own home. Another method that is not very common is taking oral medication that is prescribed by your doctor. Medication can be quite pricey and you may not have medical coverage on this medication. Electrology is the only FDA approved and recognized method to remove hair permanently, it is less expensive then laser hair removal, but it is very hard to find somewhere to get electrolysis done because it is an older technology. Intense pulsed light is also an uncommon method of removing hair done by using high-energy lamps.

Now that the ways are listed along with some of the pros and cons with a small description it might be easier for you to decide which method you would want to try to hair removal. Please remember to always test an area of your skin before you actually use the hair removal method of your choice because you may be allergic.


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