Removing unwanted body hair. It used to be thought of as a women’s issue. Something men only cared about if they were body-builders, competitive swimmers or exotic dancers. But attitudes have been changing lately. With the rise of manscaping, an increasing number of men want the same choices women have for managing their body hair. And why not?
Maybe you need to control that stubborn unibrow or remove unwelcome ear hair. Or maybe you want to show off your eight-pack a little. Whatever the case, a wide range of hair removal options are now available. Some more permanent than others, and some you can even do at home.
If temporary or permanent hair removal is something you’ve ever considered, keep reading. This article reviews some of the best solutions out there so you can be better-informed when you’re ready to decide.
A lot of guys go old-school when dealing with unwanted hair. They tackle it using the same razor they use on their face. But what do you do when you need to shave in harder to reach areas?
Now there are specialty razors to help you get back there. They have long, ergonomically designed handles to help you safely reach problem areas such as your shoulders, back and even your private parts. It’s a modern twist to an old-fashioned solution, but it’s still putting a razor blade to your skin. Because of this, you’ll get best results if your target area is wet and properly lathered up.
Also, this method is the least permanent solution available. Your hair just grows back naturally. And if you’re prone to ingrown hairs, you’ll now risk getting them in these new locations as well.
Back shavers will usually set you back about $40, and treatments can be done at home in less than an hour. Depending on the amount of work you need to do, of course.
Remember, nicks from shaving can always lead to complications, including infections. Bear this in mind before you use a razor near your privates. If that’s what you’re after, consider a safer option.
Using creams to remove unwanted hair has been with us since medieval times when women turned to alchemy to smooth their arms and legs. This was a time before federal regulation of medicine, however. As a result, many of these products contained hazardous materials such as arsenic and quicklime.
Today, depilatories work by using safer chemicals that dissolve proteins in hair. The affected hairs loosen and fall out almost immediately and don’t grow back for several weeks.
This method works best for unwanted hair on the back, chest, arms and legs. However, due to the harshness of the chemicals involved, it’s not a good idea to use these products on your face or between your legs.
The most common complications from using depilatories include skin irritation, burning, redness, itching, and even blistering. If your skin is the least bit sensitive, you should be very careful using these creams. Your first use should be on a small area. A test patch as it were. Use a timer to make sure you don’t leave the cream on too long. And if any irritation arises, stop using the product immediately.
Depilating sessions can run 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the amount of work being done. Spa treatments range from $25-$50, or you can buy an at-home solution for as little as $10. Hair will regrow, sometimes in as little as one week. If this is the option you end up going with, you’ll need to repeat sessions at regular intervals.
Any man who’s ever watched the 40-Year-Old Virgin isn’t eager to wax anything…ever. But fear not. The science behind waxing has come a long way in the last few years. Gone are the days of honey-based pastes that clung to your skin and made you feel you were being flayed alive. New sugar- and soy-based solutions now adhere only to the hair itself. And when it comes time to rip the strip off, it’s much less painful.
Don’t get me wrong. It still hurts. It just doesn’t hurt as much. Or for as long, for that matter.
Waxing is an option worth considering for controlling that unibrow, ear hair, or unwanted hair on the neck, legs, arms or underarms. Hair removal around the genitals is possible, but it’s also the most painful. And spas might not offer that service.
Results should be good for up to four to six weeks, and sessions can cost $10-$70 depending on what you’re after. Pulling out so many hairs, root and all, in one fell swoop can have adverse side effects, so after care is especially important. A good antibacterial skin cream will go a long way in dealing with skin irritations and infections commonly associated with waxing.
In electrolysis, a superfine needle penetrates the shaft of a single hair and zaps the follicle with a gentle electric shock. This kills the cell that makes the hair. Forever. Unlike any of the previous methods, this one is permanent. The hair will not regrow.
An electrolysis session lasts from 10 to 20 minutes and cost about $40. And you’ll need to go back weekly until all the work is done. Depending on the job, this could take up to a year.
This method works well anywhere. And unlike the previously listed methods, electrolysis can be used to thin out more hairy areas, leaving behind as much or as little as desired. It’s particularly effective on small trouble spots like the ears and the nose. For your first treatment, start somewhere small, like the eyebrows or the neck, and see how it goes first.
There’s some discomfort involved with this method. If you intend to have work done on any sensitive areas, only have the work done by someone who can offer you a local anesthetic.
Laser Hair Removal
Another option for removing hair is using a laser to penetrate the hair shaft and kill the hair at its root. Laser hair removal works great for the back, chest, stomach and shoulders. It’s also effective for your private parts. And, like electrolysis, laser treatments can also target specific hairs, helping to thin out certain areas.
The device works best when there is high visual contrast between skin tone and hair color. It’s this contrast that helps the laser target the pigment within the hair shaft. The pigment itself bends the light toward the hair’s root, stopping future growth. Because of this, the treatment doesn’t work well on blond or white hair. And if you have very dark skin, you might have to shop around for someone who offers a special Nd:YAG laser that can handle your relatively low tonal contrast.
Laser sessions usually last for a half hour and, depending on the work being done, you may need up to eight treatments. But the effects are permanent. At the most, you may need to book annual or bi-annual touch-up appointments to handle new hair growth, an inevitable side effect of aging.