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Hair Removal Cream Safety Tips For Young And Old

By Jack Brooks

As we age, our skin loses elasticity from the inherited factors of reduction in the production of collagen, the main protein in connective tissue, and fewer skin cells are being replaced. Also, nicks, cuts and scrapes take longer to heal. Years of exposure to sun, wind and harsh weather age our skin, along with smoking, drinking, extreme sports and other injurious activities. 

Our skin usually holds up reasonably well with some care and consideration, so when we apply products to mature skin, such as make-up, sunscreen, dermatological medication or even a soothing balm, we should be aware of its natural or man-made ingredients, any possible side effects, and whatever benefit it claims to offer. 

Depilatory hair removal products, having an aggressive effect on tissue as well as hair, really need our careful scrutiny before we apply any of them to our bodies, whether we have a “milk and honey” complexion or more “experienced” skin.

What’s In The Mix

Early depilatory “products” used more organic elements, such as resin, animal fat, the gall and blood from various creatures, feline waste, and even powdered viper!  

Later on, more caustic ingredients such as quicklime and orpiment, a variation of arsenic, were incorporated. It’s no wonder that the razor became so popular when it was invented!

The  main ingredient in hair removal creams today are highly alkaline chemicals that literally dissolves the protein structure of the hair thus making it easy to wipe or scrub it off the treated area. It is the high ph level in all these related chemicals that enables them to dissolve hair. Be aware that they can also have a negative effect on skin, which is why many of the additional ingredients in depilatory products are there to sooth the skin during and after the hair removal process.  

It’s easy to see why more technical hair removal methods like electrolysis and laser depilation procedures became readily accepted, as some of the possible side effects of depilatory creams range from slight reddening of the skin to actual chemical burns. Thus care in the use of chemical depilatories is always recommended.

Remove Hair With Care

Now that we have some idea of what’s in the depilatory product we’ve chosen, what is the safe way to use it?

The FDA and other consumer agencies cannot fully protect us from chemical harm in using cosmetic products. One analysis of industry and government sources shows that 89% percent of the ingredients used in depilatory products haven’t been examined thoroughly for safety. So we, as safety-conscious consumers, must exercise caution. Some cautions in using depilatory products are:

  • Follow the most widely repeated warning in manufacturer’s literature as well as consumer publications, which is to always try the product on a small area of skin for 24 hours, watching it carefully before applying it to a larger area. Doing this takes more time but is well worth the effort to avoid damaging sensitive or delicate skin.


  • Carefully follow all the directions for depilatories; read the product label first to select the formulation appropriate for the intended area of your body. Some depilatories are for use only on the legs or arms, while others are formulated for more sensitive areas, such as the bikini line, underarms and face.


  • The time specified for the product to remain on the area to be treated, as well as the frequency of application, is important. Remember, more IS NOT better! The product is usually designed to work for a specific time period and have a designated number of applications.  Skin damage could occur if it’s in contact with the chemical depilatory too long, so follow these directions strictly.


  • NEVER apply any depilatory product on (or even close to) any damaged or cut skin surface. Use extreme care applying depilatory products near eyes, mouth, genitals, ears, and any other bodily orifice. Remember, the active ingredients are powerful chemicals.


  • If you have any additional questions or experience a skin or other reaction to a depilatory product, consult your doctor or a dermatologist.

Unlike the past, this has become the age of an instant fix for seemingly every problem and the cosmetic industry is all too happy to oblige. Remember, it’s our responsibility as more experienced consumers to watch out for Number 1!

 

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