Depilatories are a very popular method of hair removal as they are quite inexpensive and easily used from home. Would they suit you? Check this fact sheet to help you decide.
What are depilatories?
A depilatory is a preparation in the form of a liquid or cream that is used to remove unwanted hair from the body. The word depilatory, pronounced “di-pila-toree”, literally means “to deprive of hair” (Latin pilus, hair).
What is the difference between a depilatory and an epilatory?
Depilatories remove hair on the skin’s surface. An epilatory such as waxing or tweezing (plucking) removes the hair from below the skin’s surface taking out the hair follicle.
How do depilatories work?
Depilatories contain chemicals with a high degree of acidity (low pH) such as sodium thioglycolate, or calcium thioglycolate. They react with the protein structure of hair breaking it down.
Depending on the coarseness of hair, within 5 to 15 minutes, the hair is dissolved into a gloopy mass which can then be washed away.
Why does skin feel so smooth after applying depilatories?
Depilatories act as an exfolient which means it removes dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. These dead skin cells accumulate every day and they often feel rough. After removal the skin feels softer and smoother.
Many depilatories contain moisturizers such as Baby Oil, Almond Oil, Green Tea Extract and Aloe which contribute to softer smoother skin.
Which is best – a depilatory cream or liquid?
A depilatory lotion or liquid is designed for larger areas of the body such as the legs, underarms and bikini area.
A depilatory cream has a thicker consistency so it can be applied to specific areas without the risk of it running on to skin you don’t want treated. A cream is therefore ideal for the face.
How long do the results last?
This varies with the individual but usually for many days even up to around two weeks.
Generally the results last longer than using a razor. The chemicals in depilatories reach down into the pores of the skin thus removing hair below the level of the skin. As a result, the hair takes longer to grow back.
Conclusion: Depilatories can be harsh on the skin. However, each individual is different when it comes to skin sensitivity and what works well for one may not work well for another. Additionally, some depilatories on the market now have ingredients to greatly minimize skin irritation. Check the resource box below for the latest depilatory resources.
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