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Hair Overgrowth: Not Just Sadako’s Problem?

If there is one thing we women can do without, it is the unwanted presence of hair in areas other than the tops of our heads, our eyebrows and eyelashes. Those are the only areas we want to flaunt thick, voluminous hair (of course, at least reasonable amounts for our brows and lashes).

We don’t want to be hirsute on the rest of our bodies — underarms, upper lip, legs and arms included. How else are we going to enjoy the freedom of donning sleeveless tops, and flaunting our maybe-not-so-bikini-ready bodies in our favourite swimwear?

This, unfortunately, is the source of brisk business for the beauty industry. It isn’t surprising to find even the prepubescent tweens researching and experimenting on a variety of ways to get rid of their unwanted, ahem, bushes.


Tried-and-true Methods: Yay or Nay?

The most primitive methods of hair removal that are also most common and accessible are shaving and plucking, since both can be done from the comfort of our own homes.

We remember all the days when we would sit in front of our bathroom mirrors, armed with our razors or tweezers, and having to run the former over our legs after our shower or endure the pain of removing every strand of hair from its root with the latter.


Cons of At-Home Hair Removal Methods

Despite the convenience of these methods, they come with their downsides. Sure, shaving and depilatory creams that can be bought over the counter are painless, but only because they remove hair at or just below the surface, not at its root. You can imagine the chagrin when a few days later, you note the presence of stubble on your once-smooth legs, and have to repeat the process all over again *groan*.

Hair tends to feel like it grows back thicker and coarser, for shaving and hair removal creams, since you will inevitably encounter stubble growth. With using razors, there is always a risk of razor burns or nicks. What’s more, there is also that risk of developing ingrown hair for all three methods, which would be a nightmare of hairball proportions. Your skin could be irritated by these methods in the long run, even to the chemicals of the hair removal creams, causing your skin to darken, especially in your underarms.


Waxing Lyrical

Getting your bikini line, underarms or legs waxed could be the next best thing, without having to invest a lot of coin in more expensive treatments like laser hair removal.

However, it is usually only performed by a beauty therapist at a professional salon, and the process is a lot more painful, as hair is being yanked at the root. Also, the wax used is usually very hot to the touch.

So while you can expect hair regrowth to take anywhere from two weeks to a month, which means less frequent sessions than say, shaving or hair removal creams, the caveat is that hair regrowth needs to be of a minimum length before you can effectively remove it with wax.


Pitfalls of Waxing

This also means that in between your waxing sessions, you still have to contend with hair that should have no business being there, especially your underarms or bikini line. In other words, you still have to deal with ‘downtime’ of not being able to flaunt your toned arms in sleeveless clothes or your hot bod in sexy swimwear for about a couple of weeks before your next waxing appointment.

Waxing typically tends to be more expensive than shaving, plucking and depilatory creams combined. Most salons charge by body area, which could add up to hundreds if you are pretty blessed with hair growth. Not to mention, some unethical waxing practitioners actually practise ‘double dipping’, which is to use the same waxing stick over again instead of chucking it out after every client. You never know what icky diseases you may pick up from the last person who was in direct contact with the wax stick. Yucks.


Laser Hair Removal to the Rescue

Move over, razor. Laser hair removal has been touted as an effective, semi-permanent method of hair removal. It works by using laser energy to target the melanin (or pigment cells) in your hair and damage the hair follicles. Since your hair is usually darker than your surrounding skin, your skin will not be affected by the laser. The destroyed hair follicles will no longer produce or regenerate any hair, thus helping you to be hair-free in the treated areas. With that said, this method is usually more effective in fair-skinned people with dark hair, rather than dark-skinned people or those with fair-coloured hair.

The cost of laser hair removal might seem more expensive in the beginning, but compared to the amount of money you will probably spend using other methods like waxing in the long run, or the amount of time you can expect to spend shaving and plucking over your lifetime, the investment might be worth every penny.

Plus, this method offers you the possibility of not having to pick up a shaver or pair of tweezers ever again, even if you might have to endure a tiny amount of pain that lies somewhere between that of shaving (painless) and waxing (painful).  

We say, if you have not got it (unwanted hair, that is), definitely flaunt it!

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