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A Hairy Situation July 20, 2022 @ 4:35pm

The grass is always greener on the other side when it comes to the hair on our head; If it's curly, we want it straight; if we have lots, we want less and vice versa. But, not much comparison is made regarding body hair; we just want it gone. In my experience, most people have spent at least a little time removing unwanted hair on their faces and body. There are so many options that it can sometimes get overwhelming, but I am here to help untangle the mess.

At-home options work effectively for the short term and require minimal skill but must be repeated daily or weekly to maintain results. Shaving is the most popular of these methods and is done most frequently. When shaving coarse hairs in sensitive areas, go with the grain of the hair to avoid razor bumps. Go with, then against the grain on finer hairs or hair on strong skin. Using sharp, well-maintained devices with multiple blades and a lubricant cream gives the best results and clearer skin. These can get expensive depending on the brand and where you purchase them.

Epilation creams are an at-home option that chemically dissolves hair to just below the skin. Results last a little longer, but the process takes about 20 minutes and comes with the risk of skin irritation. I would not recommend this as a long-term solution because of the chemicals used and the risk of developing contact dermatitis.

Various waxing or sugaring kits have come on the market for at-home use and have shown varying results. These options can be messy, labour intensive and cause burns if not handled properly. They remove the hair at the root but do not guarantee it won’t grow back in 2-4 weeks. If you choose this hair removal method, please check the wax/honey/sugar temperature before applying directly to the skin.

Tweezing goes hand in hand with waxing and sugaring. This method pulls the individual hairs from the follicle and has good results for up to 4 weeks. Tweezing is usually done every few days due to the different hair growth cycles and can be slightly painful. You also need good eyesight to tweeze effectively, and we all have memories of the “over-tweezed 80’s” thin eyebrows.

Then there are hair removal machines for use at home. I have used some devices that guarantee smooth skin through a painless process when these are run over the area using plates or elastics to “gently” pull the hair out as it passes. My definition of painless varies from others, and I didn’t look forward to using any of those devices twice. I am also aware of some devices on the market that use heat or electricity to burn the hair off the area. These devices take some getting used to, and I have witnessed burning and discoloration when misused. Use caution when purchasing one of these devices without proper instruction support.

There are also many professional options available in Stettler for hair removal services!

Dermaplaning and straight razor shaving are services that a clinical aesthetician or barber can do. This method involves using a single blade that not only rids the area of any hair (vellus or coarse) but also exfoliates the skin by removing 3-6 layers of dead skin cell build-up. For women, I recommend monthly services and weekly for men to keep that soft and smooth fresh face finish.

Professional waxing services take a lot of the guesswork out of the procedure. Technicians can use magnifying lamps to ensure the removal of all visible hairs. Hard wax, soft wax and sugaring are common types used for various services, and your beauty professional can recommend which service type is best for you. Professionals can also make the service much less painful than doing it yourself. They will tweeze the area to ensure a perfectly smooth finish. The cost is minimal ($10 – $50) for the service, and it needs repeating once every 3-5 weeks to maintain results.

Threading is also available for smaller areas such as the face. A thin string is twisted and manipulated by the technician to grab the hairs, wrap them, and gently pull them from the follicle. Like waxing, this lasts 3-5 weeks, depending on individual hair growth cycles.

IPL hair removal uses intense pulsed multi-chromatic light to target the pigment in the hair below the skin and cauterize the papilla (what the hair grows from). This method targets all hair colours and types, with the exception of white hair. The procedure is painless, and treated hairs will not return. This procedure requires 4-8 treatments for guaranteed results.

Diode laser hair removal targets dark pigmented hair in fair skin and works similarly to the IPL. This treatment successfully removes dark hairs on the body in any location and is also relatively painless. The cost of IPL and laser hair removal are comparable and depend on the targeted areas.

Finally, electrolysis is the only true 100% hair removal method on the market today. The technician will do a full consultation for your individual needs. In the procedure, the technician inserts a tiny probe into the hair follicle, and a current is run through the area, causing the papilla to shrink and die. This method will remove all hair colours and only needs to be done once on each strand for permanent results. The treatment can have a tingling and heat sensation for sensitive individuals.

Over a lifetime, IPL, Laser and electrolysis hair removal can save a person time and money.

Now that you know hair removal language, you can make more informed choices for your personal needs.

Happy Hair-free Summer, Stettler!

Alicia Kneeland-Teasdale, Owner

Stettler Medi-Aesthetics

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