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25 August 2012

Hair Removal




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. 

Forms of hair removal are practiced for a number of reasons, including cultural, sexual, medical and religious. Forms of hair removal have been practiced in almost all human cultures. The methods used to remove hair have varied in different times and regions, but shaving is the most common method.

Each culture of human society has developed social norms relating to the presence or absence of body hair, which has changed from one time to another. Different standards can apply to males and females. People whose hair falls outside a culture's aesthetic standards may experience real or perceived social acceptance problems. For example, for women in several societies, exposure in public of body hair other than head hair, eyelashes and eyebrows is generally considered to be unaesthetic, undesirable and embarrassing. In Middle Eastern societies, removal of the female body hair has been considered proper hygiene, necessitated by local customs, for many centuries.

With the increased popularity in many countries of shorter dresses and swimsuits during the 20th century and the consequential exposure of parts of the body on which hair is commonly found, there has been an increase in the practice of removing unwanted body hair, such as on legs, underarms and elsewhere. People may also remove some or all of their pubic hair for aesthetic or sexual reasons. However, some women in Western cultures choose not to remove hair from their bodies, either as a preference or as an act of defiance against what they regard to be an oppressive ritual.
Many men in Western cultures shave their facial hair, so only a minority of men have a beard, even though fast-growing facial hair must be shaved daily to achieve a clean-shaven or hairless look On the contrary, in some cultures e.g.: Iranian a display of a beard is considered to be a display of wisdom. Some men shave because they cannot grow a "full" beard (generally defined as an even density from cheeks to neck), because their beard color is different from their scalp hair color, or because their facial hair grows in many directions, making a groomed look difficult. Some men shave because their beards are very coarse, causing itchiness and irritation. Some men grow a beard or moustache from time to time to change their appearance.

Some men shave their heads, either as a fashion statement, because they find a shaved head preferable to the appearance of male pattern baldness, or in order to attain enhanced cooling of the skull – particularly for people suffering from hyperhidrosis. A much smaller number of Western women also shave their heads, often as a fashion or political statement.

Some women also shave their heads for cultural or social reasons. In India, tradition required widows in some sections of the society to shave their heads as part of being ostracized . The outlawed custom is still infrequently encountered mostly in rural areas. The society at large and the government are working to end the practice of ostracizing widows. In addition, it continues to be common practice for men and women to shave their heads prior to embarking on a pilgrimage.

Hair removal, also known as Epilation or Depilation, is the removal of body hair, and describes the methods used to achieve that result.

Forms of hair removal :

Epilation is the removal of the entire hair, including the part below the skin. Methods include waxing, sugaring, epilation devices, lasers, threading, intense pulsed light or electrology. Hair is also sometimes removed by plucking with tweezers.

Depilation is the removal of the part of the hair above the surface of the skin. The most common form of depilation is shaving or trimming. Another option is the use of chemical depilatories, which work by breaking the disulfide bonds that link the protein chains that give hair its strength.

Hair removal methods :

Many products in the market have proven fraudulent. Many other products exaggerate the results or ease of use.
Temporary removal of hair to the level of the skin lasts several hours to several days and can be achieved by
  • Shaving or trimming (manually or with electric shavers)
  • Depilatories (creams or "shaving powders" which chemically dissolve hair)
  • Friction (rough surfaces used to buff away hair)
"Epilation", or removal of the entire hair from the root, lasts several days to several weeks and may be achieved by
  • Tweezing (hairs are tweezed, or pulled out, with tweezers or with fingers)
  • Waxing (a hot or cold layer is applied and then removed with porous strips)
  • Sugaring (similar to waxing, but with a sticky paste)
  • Threading (also called fatlah or khite in Arabic, or band in Persian) in which a twisted thread catches hairs as it is rolled across the skin
  • Use of Turmeric along with other ingredients like besan powder and milk
  • Epilators (mechanical devices that rapidly grasp hairs and pull them out)
  • Prescription oral medications
  • Drugs that directly attack hair growth or inhibit the development of new hair cells. Hair growth will become less and less until it finally stops; normal depilation/epilation will be performed until that time. Hair growth will return to normal if use of product is discontinued. Products include the prescription drug Vaniqa, with the active ingredient eflornithine hydrochloride inhibiting the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase, preventing new hair cells from producing putrescine for stabilizing their DNA.
Permanent hair removal :

For over 130 years, electrology has been in use in many countries. It is approved by the FDA. This technique permanently destroys germ cells responsible for hair growth by way of insertion of a fine probe in the hair follicle and the application of a current adjusted to each hair type and treatment area. Electrology is recognized by the FDA as the only permanent hair removal method.
Laser hair removal technology became widespread in the US and many other countries from the 1990s onwards. It has been approved in the United States by the FDA since 1997. With this technology, light is directed at the hair and is absorbed by dark pigment, resulting in the destruction of the hair follicle. The hair removal becomes permanent after one or more sessions. The number of sessions needed depends upon the amount and type of hair being removed. Equipment for performing laser hair removal at home has become available in recent years.
Permanent hair reduction :
  • Photoepilation
    • Laser hair removal (lasers and laser diodes)
    • Intense pulsed light (high-energy lamps)
    • Diode epilation (high energy LEDs but not laser diodes)
Experimental or banned methods :
  • Photodynamic therapy for hair removal (experimental)
  • X-ray hair removal is an efficient, and usually permanent, hair removal method, but also causes severe health problems, occasional disfigurement, and even death. It is illegal in the United States.
Doubtful methods :

Many methods have been proposed or sold over the years without published clinical proof they can work as claimed.
  • Electric tweezers
  • Transdermal electrolysis
  • Transcutaneous hair removal
  • Photoepilators
  • Microwave Hair Removal
  • Foods and Dietary supplements
  • Non prescription topical preparations (also called "hair inhibitors", "hair retardants", or "hair growth inhibitors")
Trivia :
There are several disadvantages to many of these hair removal methods. Most are not permanent, can cause medical problems and permanent damage, or have very high costs. Some of these methods are still in the testing phase and have not been clinically proven.

One issue that can be considered an advantage or a disadvantage depending upon an individual's viewpoint, is that removing hair has the effect of removing information about the individual's hair growth patterns due to genetic predisposition, illness, androgen levels (such as from pubertal hormonal imbalances or drug side effects), and/or gender status.

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