Woman getting laser hair removal.

Common Methods of Hair Removal Options

Is laser hair removal a better option than the other methods for removing body hair?

Humans have been finding ways to remove body hair for as long as we have had even the most rudimentary form of recorded history. Cave drawings document our prehistoric ancestors using the tools of their time for shaving. These included sharpened flints, shells and even shark’s teeth.  

The ancient Egyptians were known for prizing the look of a smooth, hairless body. In addition to shaving, they used pumice stones, waxes with honey or sugar bases and tweezers crafted from seashells to remove hair from the entire body, including the top of the head.  

Each age brought new customs and methods. The French added the straight razor in the mid-1700s, and, just before the beginning of the twentieth century, King Camp Gillette marketed the modern version with a disposable blade. Dozens of versions of the razor have followed, as well as a variety of other methods for hair removal.

Laser Hair Removal

One of the most popular methods of hair removal being requested today is laser hair removal. High-energy pulses of light are focused on areas where there is unwanted hair. This can be the face, arms, legs, back, bikini line or anywhere the client wishes hair removed. The concentrated light and heat are absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles, which results in the follicles loosening and falling out.

Laser hair removal is one of the top cosmetic procedures being done in the U.S. This is because the laser can target several hairs at a time and can, in fact, treat an area roughly the size of a quarter in about a second. It may take a few sessions, but laser hair removal is usually permanent and does not cause skin damage. 

Other Methods of Hair Removal

Besides shaving, which everyone is familiar with, some of the other common methods of hair removal include:

  • Electrolysis the other option for hair removal that is considered permanent involves burning the follicle root by inserting a needle into it and then zapping it with an electrical current. This method is painful, as well as time consuming. Not only does each follicle have to be treated separately, it typically requires several treatments for the follicle to be completely destroyed.  
  • Bleaching  bleaching has been around for a long time. Technically, bleaching does not remove hair, but it can remove the pigment which makes it much less noticeable. 
  • Plucking – most women (and a lot of men) have experienced the process and the pain of using tweezers to pluck hairs, one at a time. This method can easily be done at home, making it inexpensive, and this type of removal results in a longer amount of time before the hair grows enough to be visible again. While effective for eyebrows and stray hairs on the chin, plucking or tweezing is not realistic for other areas of the body. 
  • Waxing – with this method, heated wax is applied to the area with unwanted hair. The wax traps the hair as it cools and then when the wax is peeled off, the hair comes with it. The advantage to waxing is that large areas can be done quickly. On the flip side, however, using hot wax requires being very cautious to avoid burns. This process can also be painful.  
  • Sugar Waxing – also called sugaring, this is very similar to regular waxing. The difference is that a sugary, honey-like substance is used to trap the hair. One of the big advantages to sugar waxing is that there is an easy clean-up, requiring only warm water. Traditional wax can be more stubborn.  

Dr. Brian D. Cohen is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with extensive training in cosmetic/reconstructive plastic surgery and has had years of experience performing a wide array of cosmetic surgery procedures, specializing in procedures of the face, eyes, nose, breast and body and is known for his exemplary and compassionate care by his patients. Knowing that Dr. Cohen has been selected by his peers in Super Doctors for 8 years in a row in 2020 gives you the confidence that he is highly respected for his performance in his specialty.

Information on locations and office hours for Cohen Plastic Surgery can be found by clicking here