side effects of using hair removal cream on pubic area

Hair removal creams are one of the most common methods to get rid of unwanted hair on the body. Also known as depilatory creams, these are extensively used for removing hair from legs, arms, abdomen, bikini line etc. While these are not permanent problem solvers like laser treatments, many use them for their easy hair removal technique which provides smoother skin and is not painful. However, this does not mean that the hair removal creams are all good and do not harm you. Here are some of the Side Effects Of Using Hair Removal Cream On Pubic Area that you must know.

How do Hair Removal creams work?

Hair removal creams contain chemicals that melt the hair away, i.e., when they sit on your hair, the active ingredients present in them attack the structure of your hair and breaks it causing it to fall off.

Side Effects Of Using Hair Removal Cream On Pubic Area

Now, you know that hair removal creams contain chemicals that help in removing the hair from your body. So applying it on your skin means exposing the area to harsh chemicals which can cause some serious issues. Below mentioned are some of the side effects of using hair removal cream on pubic area:

1. Hair Removal creams can cause skin irritation

Depilatory creams when applied on the skin cause a tingly sensation which is common. Some creams sting mildly, but that is not a cause of worry because as you rinse the skin, the tingly feeling vanishes. However, those who have sensitive skin do feel the unpleasant sensations for hours even after cleaning the area. The irritated skin might develop a rash or become dry and itchy. If you wish to evade the dry skin, then you must use the right cream for your skin. The creams meant for sensitive skin types have mild chemicals; however, they can cause irritation too. Also, there are different creams for removing the hair from different areas. Those meant for removing bikini line hair will have a different composition than those used for arms and legs hair removal. Hence, you must pick them accordingly.

2. Hair Removal Creams can cause Chemical burns

The hair removal creams always come with a how to use instruction guide that mentions the time duration for which you should let the cream stay on your skin, and you must abide by it. As already mentioned, these depilatory creams contain chemicals that break the hair cells causing the hair to fall. However, here a point to note is that your hair, as well as skin cells, comprise of the same protein and amino acids which means the chemicals that can break your hair can also damage the skin; however, they are not that quick to affect your skin. As such you can remove the hair without damaging your skin. But in case you leave the hair removal cream on your skin for too long or do not rinse it properly, then the skin of the area might break down resulting in chemical burns.

3. Hair removal creams have an unpleasant odor

Most of the hair removal creams have a sharp smell that can put you off. The chemical formulations used to prepare the cream to lend it this sharp odor that lingers even after hours of using the cream. The companies manufacturing hair removal creams are trying hard to mask the smell by using sweet fragrances, but the results are not that satisfactory. As such a light wave of air spreads the peculiar smell of the cream all around no matter how much you try to cover it up by using other body creams and lotions.

4. Hair Removal creams can cause allergic reactions and skin damage

One of the prominent side-effects of using skin removal creams is that they can cause skin damage. With absurd beauty notions like ultra-smooth skin haunting the society, companies are aggressively using more and more caustic ingredients in their products that can cause allergic reactions and do more harm than good. The pH level of these creams is known to affect the skin negatively and can even damage it. The results can be more damaging in the case of mature or sensitive skin. Hence, it is advised that you must do a skin patch test before using a hair removal cream. Apply a small amount of the cream on healthy skin following the instructions mentioned on the product and after that rinse the area. You must wait for at least twenty-four hours to see the results. If the area where you applied the cream has got red or inflamed, then do not use the product.

5. Hair Removal Creams need to be used often

The major disadvantage of hair removal creams is that these do not keep your skin hair-free for long. You may see tiny hair growing sooner than you thought. Though the hair does not grow as quickly as with shaving, some can see re-growth of hairs within a week. As such you will have to use the hair removal creams that are quite expensive, again and again, exposing your skin to harsh chemicals frequently.

Best Hair Removal Cream for Men

Best for Coarse

Nair Hair Removal Cream

Nair Hair Removal Cream

Men who have extremely course and thick hair will love this product. Best for the back, chest, arms, and legs, it couldn’t be easier to use: Just apply to dry skin without rubbing in, wait a minute, then get into the shower. You can go about your typical routine — avoiding the areas you applied the product to — then rinse it all off once the time is up.
$9.29 at Amazon.com

Best for a Smooth Finish

Nad’s for Men Hair Removal Cream

Nad's for Men Hair Removal Cream

This popular cream says it’s not suitable for use on the genital areas, but that just so happens to be why it’s a favorite of men around the world: in just a few minutes, all the hair can simply be wiped away. Like Nair’s product, it’s also great on any other thick and coarse hair too, but with added ingredients like shea butter and sweet almond oil, you’ll get a silky smooth finish no matter where it ends up.
$4.29 at Amazon.com

Best for Removing Pubic Hair

Veet Gel Hair Remover Cream, Sensitive Formula

Veet Gel Hair Remover Cream, Sensitive Formula

Alright, alright — this product is specifically made for women. But, it might be used by men just as frequently for one simple reason: it works great in the pubic region. Since it’s made for sensitive skin, it’s safe to use on a woman’s bikini line — which made men want to try it out in their nether regions as well. And the result? Thanks to a formula enriched with vitamin E and aloe vera, it will keep the genital area hair-free for weeks.
$8.49 at Amazon.com

Best for Long-Lasting Smoothness

Magic Shave Razorless Cream Shave Light Fresh Scent, Regular Strength

Magic Shave Razorless Cream Shave Light Fresh Scent, Regular Strength

It’s hard to find a hair removal cream suitable for the face, but that’s exactly what this one is aimed at. Magic Razorless Cream Shave — designed for African American men, but useable on any skin tone — is a great alternative to shaving. Men love it for its ability to get the look of a close shave without annoying razor bumps on the face and neck. Plus, the result lasts for up to 4 days.
$8.20 at Amazon.com

Best for General Hair Removal

Veet for Men Hair Removal Gel Cream

Veet for Men Hair Removal Gel Cream

While the aforementioned Veet for Women product is known for getting rid of hair down under, this is another solid option for other parts of the body — particularly the chest, back, arms, and legs. Just don’t use it anywhere else — especially the groin or nipples — because it doesn’t do well on sensitive skin. If you do use it in sensitive areas, you’ll most likely end up with a burn, redness, and other irritation.
$10 at Amazon.com

Conclusion

Hair removal creams are undoubtedly a popular method of removing unwanted hair from the body. These provide much convenience as far as hair removal is concerned, giving you smoother skin, unlike shaving. Also, the hair that re-grows after using the creams is not hard as in case of shaving. Besides, these do not cause any pain while removing hair as in the case of waxing. However, these hair removal creams constitute a lot of caustic ingredients that can cause burns and damage your skin. Thus, these need to be applied cautiously. Another tip is to do a skin patch test before using the creams to know your skin’s sensitivity to them.

What are hair removers, and how do they get rid of unwanted fuzz?

Creams. Wax. Sugar. Lasers. We get to the scientific root of depilation

It’s almost summer in the Northern Hemisphere. Temperatures are rising, swimming pools are opening, and bare arms and legs are emerging from winter clothing.

For some people, the start of shorts-and-swimsuit season means it’s time to get rid of body hair. These sunseekers have an array of techniques to turn to: hair removal creams, waxing and sugaring, lasers, and even a good ol’ pair of tweezers. Knowing how the various options work might help you decide which one to use.

Getting rid of body hair is a billion-dollar industry and growing worldwide. But depilatories are nothing new. Evidence indicates that prehistoric cultures used stones and shark teeth as crude razors. Some ancient Egyptians removed hair with tweezers, razors, and pumice stones and ripped it out with wax or sugar pastes, leaving behind only their eyebrows.

Chemical removers have ancient roots too. People living 6,000 to 7,000 years ago in what is now Turkey used hair removal creams made with quicklime (calcium oxide). Likewise, American Indians applied lye to get rid of their body hair, a practice colonists adopted. Bases like lye and quicklime hydrolyze nitrogen-containing amide bonds in hair’s proteins, breaking bristles down. Drain-clog removers work the same way.

Sign up for C&EN’s must-read weekly newsletterSubscribe »

Contact us to opt out anytime

Not every historical hair removal tactic has survived, and for good reason. Inventor Albert C. Geyser successfully marketed a machine in the first half of the 20th century that could permanently remove hair with a dose of X-rays. It was quickly banned once the detrimental health effects of the radiation became apparent. A study in the 1970s attributed a full third of radiation-related cancers in women to devices like Geyser’s.

Today, the hair removal options available at home or at professional salons are safe and—depending on your tolerance—relatively painless.

Creams are a popular option for at-home removal. To understand how these work, you first have to understand hair. Hair is made of fibrous proteins called keratin, twisted like yarn or rope into long bundles. Keratin strands are cross-linked by covalent disulfide bonds and weaker hydrogen bonds. These are depilatory creams’ targets.

The active ingredients in brands Veet and Nair are salts of thioglycolic acid like potassium thioglycolate or calcium thioglycolate in combination with bases such as calcium, sodium, or potassium hydroxide. The bases serve two purposes. They cause the hair to swell, opening its keratin fibers to allow thioglycolate to penetrate. The bases also remove the proton on thioglycolate’s thiol group. Once thioglycolate’s proton leaves, its sulfur atom is free to attack the hair protein’s disulfide bonds. Break enough of those, and the hair degrades completely and can simply be wiped away.

Because of this mechanism of action, chemical hair removers are remarkably selective, studies have shown. Researchers tested Nair on thin, thick, and medium hair, and on cotton, rayon, and polyester fibers. All three strands of hair broke within 10 minutes, but the remover had no effect on the other fibers, none of which contain disulfide bonds.

Other experiments have shown that cream hair removers should have a pH between about 12.0 and 12.5 to make sure the products work quickly but aren’t so caustic that they burn the skin, which has a pH of 4.5–5.5. Dermatologist Meghan Feely says cream hair removers can cause chemical burns for some people. They should be used according to their directions to minimize risk.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENTabout:blankSCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Because these chemicals are so effective, the book is basically closed on finding new depilatory agents, says Heike Hanau, a marketing manager for Merck KGaA, which used to supply calcium thioglycolate for hair removers. But she says chemists are still working to improve depilatories’ smell. One by-product of thioglycolate’s reaction with disulfide bonds is hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs.

Waxing is another common method for hair removal that can be done at home or by a professional in a salon. Wax, a mixture of lipids and long alkanes, can come from bees, plants, or petroleum products. The long alkyl chains make the wax a malleable solid at or just above room temperature. For hair removal, the wax is generally heated and spread across the skin. As it cools and hardens, it traps hairs, and when it’s yanked away, it pulls them out or breaks them off.

Sugaring has emerged in recent years as a trendy alternative to waxing. It works by the same principle: Spread a thick paste across the skin, then pull it off, along with some hairs. Sugaring wax, as it’s sometimes called, can be made at home with a recipe candy makers will recognize: Heat a mixture of water, table sugar, and lemon juice to about 120 °C until it turns golden brown, otherwise known as caramelization.

In this reaction, water hydrolyzes table sugar, known to chemists as sucrose, splitting it into glucose and fructose. The acid in lemon juice acts as a catalyst by protonating the oxygen that links sucrose’s two halves, encouraging addition of a hydroxyl group from water. The product, the mixture of hydroxylated glucose and fructose, is known as invert sugar in the food world, and it crystallizes at a higher temperature than sucrose alone, making for a spreadable wax.

Fans of sugaring typically offer two arguments for why it’s better than waxing. First, it allegedly penetrates more deeply into hair follicles for more complete removal. Society of Cosmetic Chemists President Perry Romanowski says there’s no evidence to support that claim. How well it works and how much it hurts mostly come down to the skill of the person pulling the hair, he says. The second claim is that the paste adheres only to dead skin cells, not live ones, reducing irritation when it’s yanked away. American University’s Matthew Hartings, who studies food chemistry and is also a member of C&EN’s advisory board, is doubtful. “I’ve got a lifetime of trying to clean caramel off my hands that calls shenanigans on that,” he says.

And then there are lasers, the newest entrant in the hair-removal game. Professionals train these instruments, tuned to an infrared wavelength absorbed by the pigment melanin, on the hair that needs removing. Melanin gives hair—as well as skin—its color. The absorption heats up the hair, frying it down to its roots beneath the skin. It works best on dark hair against light skin, but experiments have shown that neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet lasers, which can focus more tightly than the diode lasers commonly used, can be effective on dark skin.

Hair-removing lasers require approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration before people can use them. Other hair-removing products may also if a bill introduced in the Senate becomes law. The Personal Care Products Safety Act would give FDA many of the same powers to regulate cosmetics that it currently has to regulate food. Companies would be required to disclose the ingredients in their products and give the agency jurisdiction to evaluate whether those ingredients are safe for people to use.

Because hair removal has a long history and most of the methods around today have been used for decades or millennia, depilatory methods are unlikely to change. Which product you prefer to remove a little hair here or there is probably less important than getting out there and enjoying summer.

Leave a Comment