We’re all familiar with shaving, waxing, and sometimes laser treating for hair removal, but have you heard about depilation?
Depilation is a method of hair removal that involves using caustic chemicals to break down the structural bonds that hold the hair together. Usually, this is applied as a cream that you rub on hairy skin areas and, like magic, it literally dissolves the hair away after a few seconds. You can then rub off the excess hair or go take a shower and wash them away into the drain.
However, like all good things, there are advantages as well as disadvantages. Depilatory creams are no exception.
How depilatory creams work
You don’t need to have a background degree in chemistry in order to understand how depilation works, but it does involve some strong alkaline chemicals that react with the hair structure. Basically, the hair as well as the outer skin of the body is composed of a substance called keratin. Keratin is a tough structural protein that helps give shape and solidity to hair fibers.
What depilation does is interfere and decompose the keratin in the hair, leading to it crumbling down due to the loss of its structural component. It removes hair across the skin surface and fractionally underneath the dermis in the hair follicle. Although it sounds a bit dangerous, modern depilation creams are pretty mild and quick-acting, making it a safe and effective method of dealing with excess hair.
Advantages of depilation
Depilation has the following advantages compared to other hair removal methods:
- Depilatory creams go deeper than shaving. It penetrates into the hair follicle and is a more prolonged and effective treatment than using a razor.
- The hair that grows back is less rough than that of shaving.
- It is easy to use and inexpensive.
- It is an extremely effective short term treatment for hair removal that can be purchased at local pharmacies or beauty stores over-the-counter.
- Depilatory creams can easily work on areas such as the underarms. It can also be applied to the bikini line and the face, as long the cream is specifically formulated for those parts is used.
- These types of creams are pain-free if used accordingly.
Disadvantages of depilation
Depilation has the following disadvantages compared to other hair removal methods:
- Dangerous if used for too long or too often. Since the skin also contains keratin, leaving the cream on for too long causes irritation and breakdown of the dermal surface.
- Strong smelling and foul. They have a disagreeable odor that can be difficult to wash away.
- You cannot apply the cream if you have cuts or breaks in your skin or any type of skin condition or sensitivity. Breaks or cuts can lead to the cream penetrating deeper into the body and may be adversely absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Although the cream’s effects last longer than shaving, it grows back within 2 to 5 days.