Body hair - Today's Parent - June, 2010
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Body hair - Today's Parent - June, 2010

Bare What You Dare 

By Liz Buckner

Banish body hair once and for all – or just find a new way to get naked – with our handy hair-removal guide.<

Shaving 
How it works: An electric razor or straight razor cuts hair growing on the skins surface. 
Who it’s for: Shaving can be for everyone, says Toronto Dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett. To nix irritation, thoroughly wet hair before you begin, shave in the direction of the hair growth, and avoid repeating strokes on the same area. 
Best for: Legs, underarms and the bikini area. 
Ouch factor: Next to none (unless you use a dull razor). 
After-care: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. 
Results last: Two to four days 
Cost: $3 to $20

Depilatory
How it works: Chemists target protein in the hair follicle and dissolve the hair. 
Who it’s for: Depilatories are effective for all skin types, but according to Kellett, they can be irritating for those with asthma, eczema or hay fever. 
Best for: Face (avoid eyes, though), arms and legs. 
Ouch factor: None 
After-care: Hydration is key. 
Results last: Five to seven days. 
Cost: $5 to $15

Waxing
How it works: Wax is applied in the direction of the hair growth; once hardened, it’s removed quickly against the hair growth. 
Who it’s for: Everyone. 
Best for: Anywhere. 
Ouch factor: High, depending on where waxing is done. 
After-care: Pros usually finish with a soothing cream or oil, but aloe vera is good at-home fix. 
Results last: A session will keep regrowth at bay for an average of three to five weeks. Waxing isn’t a permanent solution, but the more you do it, the finer and sparser your regrowth will be, says esthetician Karen Lang, formerly of Toronto’s Oasis Spa and Wellness Center. 
Cost: $7 to $35

Laser and intense pulsed light
How it works: Using energy form a laser or an intense pulsed light to target pigment in the hair, both systems use heat to travel down to the follicle and destroy hair at the root. 
How may sessions it takes: Four sessions spaced a few weeks apart reduce hair by 75 to 85 percent, says Kellett. Finer hair may need an additional session or two. 
Who it’s for: Works best on people with light skin and darker hair, says Kellett. “I don’t even attempt the process on someone who is naturally blond hair, or completely grey.” 
Best for: Almost anywhere, but Kellett advises avoiding areas close to mucous membranes, such as eyes and mouth. 
Ouch factor: With laser, the sensation is a “slight pulling”, says Kellett. Intense pulsed light, meanwhile, feels similar to elastic bands being snapped against your skin. But, adds Kellett the newer the machine, the less likely you’ll feel pain. 
After-care: While you’re undergoing treatments, avoid tanning. 
Results last: Considered a permanent solution, some women need a little maintenance annually. 
Cost: Most sessions start at around $175.

Electrolysis 
How it works: A tiny needle inserts an electrical current into follicles and burns hair at the root. 
How many sessions it takes: Each follicle has to be addressed individually for about a minute, and it takes anywhere from 15 to 20 sessions for follicles to be completely destroyed. 
Who it’s for: Almost anyone, but this treatment can cause scarring, so proceed with caution. 
Best for: Anywhere on the body, but because each hair needs to be targeted, smaller areas, such as face and armpits, are most requested. 
Ouch factor: You’ll feel a small sting when each hair is removed. 
After-care: Avoid the sun as mush as possible for about six weeks after the treatment, always use sunscreen when you’re outdoors, and try not to pick at or squeeze your skin following a session. 
Results last: Forever. This is proven permanent option. 
Cost: $50 per 30 minute session.

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