Vellus Hair Removal

There are many methods for removing vellus hair. Some are traditional, others relatively modern, and some even dubious. These techniques may either remove hairs temporarily or have them eliminated permanently. A lot of hair removal products are simply fraudulent, while others have overrated results.

The Upside and Downside to Removing Vellus Hair

Many techniques for removing hair are only temporary, and several of these can be the source of serious permanent damage and other abnormal medical conditions. Some are safe but are quite expensive. Other methods should be researched before being undertaken because manufacturers’ and proponents’ claims regarding their effects sometimes have not been proven by clinical trials.

Removing hair per se also has other side effects, such as preventing medical personnel from gathering information regarding the patterns of hair growth for indications of normal and abnormal phenotypic characteristics; various diseases; hormone levels; side effects of drugs; and the sex of the person in question.

Techniques of Vellus Hair Removal

There are two basic forms of removing hair. The first is depilation and the second is epilation. The former involves the removal of a portion of hair at the skin surface. Hair trimming and shaving are common types of depilation. There are also chemical depilatories whose action involves dissolving so-called disulfide bonds linking the chains of hair protein which keep hair strands strong. Applying friction is also a depilatory technique, wherein rough surfaces are used to remove hair by buffing it away.

Types of Depilation Methods

Shaving. Also known as trimming, shaving can be done manually or through the use of shavers, whether manual or electric.

Depilatory creams. These involve the use of so-called shaving powders and creams that dissolve hair chemically.

Friction. This is achieved by using rough surfaces that buff away the hair.

Epilation, on the other hand, also involves the removal of that part of the hair located under the skin. All other hair removal techniques fall under this category. These include tweezing, waxing, threading, sugaring, use of lasers, electrology, and light that is intensely pulsed.

Types of Epilation Methods

Tweezers. This involves pulling hair out with the use of the fingers or tweezers.

Waxing. This method involves the application of either cold or hot layers on the skin surface, after which hair is removed with the use of porous strips.

Sugaring. This method is similar to the previous one above. The difference is that it uses a sticky paste.

Threading. This consists of catching hairs by rolling a piece of twisted thread over the skin.

Epilator. This is a mechanical device that grasps hairs rapidly after which they are pulled out.

Medications, herbs and other ingredients. Some drugs, besan powders, turmeric, and milk function in removing hair. There are medications that inhibit the growth of hair and prevent hair cells from developing. The growth of hair steadily decreases until it ceases entirely. Their effect is temporary, and hair growth recommences when their use is stopped. Eflornithine hydrochloride, an active ingredient of some of these drugs, inhibits ornithing decarboxylase, an enzyme that is involved in the production of putrescine for the stabilization of the DNA of nascent hair cells.

Other methods of epilation include bleaching as well as the use of coil hair removers.

Permanent Epilation

There are several options that may or may not be satisfactory due to their imperfection. Methods can be delicate because the target tissues can be hard to isolate from surrounding tissues that have to be spared. There are two basic methods in this category, as enumerated below.

Electrolysis. This method aims at destroying germ cells by inserting a probe into the hair follicles and introducing a current of electricity on it.

Lasers. This method became popular during the last decade of the twentieth century, and was approved by the US FDA in 1997. The hair follicles are destroyed through the use of light. Hair removal equipment for home use that uses lasers has lately been made available as well.

Permanent reduction of hair

This includes methods of photo-epilation, such as diodes that use a high-energy LED; intense pulsed lights using high energy lamps; and laser diodes and lasers.

Experimental and Illegal Methods

Experimental techniques include photo-dynamic therapy and gene therapy. An illegal technique is the x-ray method. The latter is an efficient technique for permanent hair removal, although it has severe side effects such as the occasional disfiguration as well as death.

These methods have not been clinically proven to be effective. Among others, doubtful techniques include so-called hair growth inhibitors and retardants; oral supplements; the use of microwaves; photo-epilators; transcutaneous removal; transdermal electrolysis; and electric tweezers.

Dislaimer: All of these methods are discussed in this article for information purposes only. It is still up to your own discretion to decide which one is right for you. It is always best to consult the advice of a professional.


Electro-Epilation: A Practical Approach
Principles and Practice of Electrical Epilation
Milady’s Hair Removal Techniques: A Comprehensive Manual
Laser Dermatology: Pearls and Problems

4 Responses to Vellus Hair Removal

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    Hair typically grows all over the human body. Hair can become more visible during and after puberty and men tend to have thicker, more visible body hair than women. Both men and women have visible hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, pubic region, arms, and legs; and men also have thicker hair on their face, abdomen, back and chest. Hair does not generally grow on the palms of the hands, the lips, certain areas of the genital structure, or the soles of the feet.[“.

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