A depilatory is a liquid or cream that is used to remove unwanted hair from the body by applying strong chemicals to the hair follicle which dissolve the hair.
As the search for an ideal unwanted body hair removal method involves both men and women, a depilatory offers an economical, easy method which can be performed at home. There are certain drawbacks however, and depilatory hair removal products may not suit everyone, especially those with sensitive skin or anyone prone to allergic reactions.
The following information will help an individual first of all decide whether they want to try a depilatory, and secondly, if they do decide, what guidelines need to be followed for best results.
Section One: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions
How does a depilatory work?
A depilatory contains chemicals with a high degree of acidity (low pH) such as sodium thioglycolate, or calcium thioglycolate. They react with the protein structure of the hair and break it down. Depending on how coarse the hair is, the process takes from 5 to 15 minutes during which time the hair is dissolved into a glop which can then be washed away.
What is the difference between a depilatory and an epilatory?
A depilatory removes hair on the skin’s surface. An epilatory such as waxing or tweezing removes the hair from below the skin’s surface taking out the hair follicle.
Why does skin feel so smooth after using a depilatory?
A depilatory acts as an exfolient, removing the dead skin cells on the skin’s surface which accumulate every day and which often feel rough. After hair removal with a depilatory the skin feels softer and smoother. Additionally, many depilatories contain moisturizers such as Baby Oil, Almond Oil, Green Tea Extract and Aloe which contribute to softer smoother skin.
Which should I use – a cream or a liquid?
A depilatory lotion or liquid is designed for larger areas of the body such as the legs, underarms and bikini area. A depilatory cream has a thicker consistency so it can be applied to specific areas without the risk of it running on to skin you don’t want treated. A cream is therefore ideal for the face.
How long before hair re-grows?
This very much depends on the individual. The time can vary from many days up to two weeks. The chemicals in a depilatory reach down into the pores of the skin thus removing hair below the level of the skin. As a result, the hair takes longer to grow back so the results generally last longer than using a razor.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a depilatory?
The advantages are that depilatories are easy to apply, widely available over the counter, and quick to use. The disadvantages include possible allergic skin reactions to the strong chemicals, the messy application, an unpleasant odor, and widely variable results.
Is a depilatory safe to use during pregnancy?
In short, the safety of a depilatory during pregnancy has not been established. As depilatories contain strong chemicals which the body can absorb through the skin and which can subsequently affect the whole bodily system, some doctors advise avoiding depilatory use during pregnancy and while nursing.
Section Two: 10 Guidelines For Best Results
1. Never use a depilatory where there are cuts or abrasions on the skin or when skin is sensitive from sunburn.
2. Always test a small area of skin first such as a small patch on the inner arm below the elbow. Keep the application on the skin for the time recommended in the instructions and then wait for twenty four hours. If there is no irritation or allergic reaction such as redness or broken skin then use the product on a wider area.
3. If your hair is dark and coarse, be aware that your hair may be more resistant to chemical depilatories than a person with light, fine hair.
4. If possible, use a depilatory after a warm bath or shower as the hair is softer and the pores of the skin are open.
5. Do not rub a depilatory into the skin. Just apply a generous, smooth, thick layer onto the skin.
6. Important: Follow the timing instructions very closely. You may wish to set a timer and remove the chemical immediately the timer signal goes off. Taking this precaution will help avoid burning or damaging the skin.
7. If the skin becomes itchy or irritated stop using the depilatory and apply a soothing gel such as Aloe Vera or an anti-inflammatory skin cream.
8. To minimize irritation, try not to exfoliate before the hair removal session through scrubbing, or using a mask or cleansing agent. Be sure to follow up with a thorough rinsing and apply a moisture-rich cream.
9. After using a depilatory, apply sunscreen to areas that will be exposed to the sun.
10. Some recommend not using a depilatory more than every 28 days to avoid damaging the underlying layers of skin as a new outer layer of skin is formed every 28 days.
In Conclusion: A depilatory provides an easy, fast, convenient, economical method of hair removal. The use of skin care products afterwards can limit the potential skin damage and speed up skin recovery.
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