Natural hair removal techniques (tweezers, wax, oriental, thread...) do not destroy the bulb in which the hair is made, but only allow the hair to be pulled out of the skin. The hair grows back after depilation. Natural depilations are therefore not permanent depilations.

Hair removal

1. Epilation with tweezers or threads

It simply consists of pulling out the hairs in small quantities or individually with pliers or wire. It thus makes it possible to select which hair(s) you want to pull out, but it is long and tedious.

Mostly used on the face, threading is a method consisting of tying a knot with a small thread and pulling on both sides to trap hairs and pull them out. It's tedious, and is most often performed by people who have been trained to do it.

2. Oriental hair removal

It is an ancestral technique, consisting in making a kind of caramel using sugar, water and lemon juice: lump sugar (three handfuls of sugar for half a glass of water) is heated until a brown caramel is obtained. Then add a few drops of lemon juice and immerse the preparation in cold water. A ball of the preparation is formed and applied to the area to be depilated by spreading it out and then pulled out abruptly to remove the stuck hairs.

3. Waxing

It is a technique derived from oriental hair removal, which also consists of burying the hairs in cold or hot wax and pulling it quickly to extract the hairs from their bulb.

  • Cold wax is generally used when you don't have access to other waxes (vacation, travel...) because it is often sticky and leaves wax deposits on the skin. It generally requires several passages in the same place to be effective.
  • Warm wax generally requires only one passage because its warming effect is very effective.
  • relaxes the skin
  • softens hair
  • dilates the hair follicles, which facilitates hair extraction.

Wax in pots and roll-on waxes are available on the market. Roll-on waxes are often more expensive, but they allow better control of the temperature of the wax than pots and make thinner wax strips that are easier to remove.

4. Pumice stone hair removal

This ancient method is mainly applied to the legs and thighs. It consists of very gently rubbing the area with a smooth pumice stone in small circular movements to "grate" the hair (in this case, we can no longer speak of hair removal), or even to dislodge it from its bulb. The advantage is that it exfoliates the skin (the skin becomes softer) but it is also possible to observe skin irritation if the friction is too strong.

When a hair is pulled out of its bulb, there is a risk of bacteria entering the bulb, which can cause an infection of the hair (folliculitis), but can also interfere with the growth of the hair in the bulb. A hair usually grows at an angle to the skin, so that the hair on the legs grows down. The hair can then become incarnate.

Many techniques have been developed to make life easier for people who want to wax. Some of them even make it possible to destroy the bulb in which the hair is made, in which case the hair is said to be permanently destroyed.

1. Electric depilator

An electric depilator is a small device, usually about the size of a razor, that removes hair as it passes. This technique, however, exposes to the risk of folliculitis if the device and the skin are not properly disinfected, and to ingrown hairs if the hair is not pulled out in the direction of hair growth.

2. Electric depilation

Electric hair removal is performed by the dermatologist in the office. It consists of inserting a very fine needle into the root canal that contains the hair, up to the bulb, and destroying the hair root with an electric current. This technique is tedious and painful.

3. Laser hair removal

The laser is a device that emits a beam of photons with a single wavelength (monochromatic). This is the wavelength absorbed by the hair pigment, melanin, which has the effect of heating the hair and destroying it (this is called selective photothermolysis)1,2. Laser hair removal therefore works especially on dark hair in the growth phase, containing a lot of melanin. Approximately 20% of all hair is in the growth phase. This has two practical consequences:

It is necessary to perform several sessions in the same place (generally 5 to 8 sessions) before obtaining hair removal of the majority of the hair in the area.

And the sessions should be spaced 3 to 8 weeks apart in order to obtain a new quota of hairs in the growth phase.

This is a medical procedure that should be performed by a doctor only, trained in this technique.

The main risk of laser hair removal is skin burns. This has two major origins:

the removal of hair from an area rich in pigment (this is the case of the skin of the genital area for bikini waxing, for example) or tanned skin: the laser beam is absorbed by the melanin present in large quantities in these cases, the skin then absorbs the beam, the melanin is destroyed and the result is a clear spot, most often regressive with local care. You should therefore never have a hair removal session when you have tanned skin. Similarly, it is recommended that you do not expose yourself for about 2-3 weeks after the session, as long as redness persists, to avoid brown spots.

the use of high fluences during the last sessions in an attempt to destroy the terminal follicles

4. Intense Pulsed Light (I.P.L.) hair removal

IPL delivers photons of several wavelengths (polychromatic beam) to which a filter is applied to allow only those photons with the wavelength absorbed by melanin to pass through.

The IPL is therefore a little less specific to the hair than the laser, but it acts in the same way and carries approximately the same risks. It is also often less expensive.

- To limit the risk of folliculitis, the skin should be washed with soap and water before the session, ideally with a sponge glove to loosen the hair from the skin, but also after the session. If an instrument (tweezers, thread, etc.) is used, it must be disinfected before depilation with a mild antiseptic such as chlorhexhidine gluconate (hexhidine acqueuse®, Baseal®, Biorgaspet®, Diaseptyl®, etc.).

- To avoid ingrown hairs, it is recommended that you do not pull out the hairs at the "turning point". The hairs grow obliquely to the skin and should be pulled out in the direction of their growth. When using wax or oriental preparation, the product should be applied in the opposite direction of growth and pulled out in the direction of growth (e.g. downwards on the legs).

You can find devices on the Internet for a few hundred euros, which are small lasers or IPLs.

There are several problems with these devices3 :

  • Few have been the subject of scientific evaluation studies;
  • The devices are very variable in terms of emission quality;
  • Their fluences are often very low, making it possible to remove only a small amount of hair at a time, and exposing subjects to the risk of paradoxical regrowth (appearance of new hair in the depilated area);
  • All of these devices require ophthalmological protection with glasses provided (if the beam reaches the retina, it creates irreversible lesions there). There is a risk of ophthalmologic accidents by not respecting or simply forgetting to wear the glasses by the user.

"Laser hair removal practiced by doctors allows a significant reduction of hair over large areas.

Any Laser or IPL hair removal must be preceded by a consultation in order to judge the potential risks and failures of these techniques: even if they allow for the permanent destruction of the hair, it is possible that genetic or hormonal factors may cause other hairs to grow on the depilated area. »

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