Male Guide to Back and Shoulders Hair Removal
Why Back and Shoulder Hair Removal?
Many men opt to remove that hair, for a number of reasons:
- To make their partner happy
- To reduce the irritation that accompanies long back and shoulder hair
- To improve physical performance (for swimmers and cyclists etc.)
If you're considering getting rid of your back hair, it's important that you know what your options are. Read on to find out ALL of the methods of hair removal you should consider…
Sugaring / Waxing
We're all familiar with waxing (using a layer of wax with paper strips to remove hair), but sugaring is a method most people have never heard of. It actually originated in the Middle East, and dates back nearly 4,000 years.
A paste is prepared using sugar as the base, along with water and often lemon juice. The mixture is heated and mixed until they form a liquid, which changes color from white to gold as the liquid turns into a thick gel. Cornstarch is used to dust the skin where the gel will be applied, and paper strips are laid atop the gel then ripped off--similar to waxing.
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How waxing works
Cold waxing - If you're using a cold waxing kit, then simply warm the strip up between the palms of your hands, push it onto the treatment area on your skin so that it gets significant purchase and pull the strip off.
Warm waxing - If you're using a warm waxing kit then you'll either need to use the wax warmer or the microwave to heat the wax up to the right temperature. Use an applicator (usually a wooden stick or in some cases a dispensing machine) to spread the substance over the treated area, apply a wax strip firmly over the top of the substance and finally pull it off.
Pros of Waxing / Sugaring
- Decent amount of time between treatments - removes hair for about 3 to 6 weeks, or as long as it takes the hair follicles to regrow the hairs
- It can be done at home using simple items found around the house
- It's effective for EVERYONE
- Regular waxing leads to thinned, lighter-colored hairs over time
- Very fast process and simple process, even for larger treatment areas
- No real safety concerns
- Limited side effects
- Waxing products are cheap to buy and all work pretty well
- Non invasive treatment
Cons of Waxing / Sugaring
- It can be quite painful
- Some types of waxing/sugaring can be quite messy
- It's not a long-term solution - requires regular treatments
When most people think of depilatory creams, they think of Nair - the most popular brand.
Most of these creams contain special chemicals that dissolve the disulfide bonds in keratin, the main components of hair. The hair is essentially weakened, and it breaks off at skin level. The root still remains, but the hair itself is eliminated.
How Depilatory Creams work
Simply spread the solution onto the treatment area and allow to leave for a period of time specified in the instructions of the product you're using. After this period of time, simply wash substance off and the hair will fall off with it.
Pros of Depilatory Creams
- Easy to do at home
- Can be bought at most supermarkets
- Is fairly inexpensive (between $4 and $12 per bottle)
- Effective on everyone, regardless of hair or skin colour
- Fast hair removal, even on larger areas of the body
- Non invasive treatment
Cons of Depilatory Creams
- Contain chemicals that could damage, irritate, or even lighten the skin through improper use
- May not as effective on VERY thick, coarse hair
- Results are short term with grow occurring in as little as a few days.
- Depilatory creams are quite messy and often have a very strong smell
- Potential for allergic reaction in a very small minority of people - recommend doing a patch test first
Home Laser Hair Removal Kits
There are a number of laser hair removal machines designed for home use, such as the Tria 4X, the Remington IPL6000USA I-Light Pro, and the Silk’n SN-008 Flash & Go. These machines use either IPL (intense pulsed light) or diode lasers to remove hair.
The light of the lasers penetrate the hairs, burning the melanin cells that give the hair its color. It also damages the follicles, making it harder for the hair to be regrown.
How Home Laser Hair Removal Kits Work
The specifics of how each home laser hair removal kit works varies between each device, but essentially they all behave in the same way. Firstly you choose a power setting on the device, then aim the head at the treatment area just above the surface of the skin and finally press a button to repeatedly emit a pulse of laser light while moving the device all over the treated area.
Pros of Home Laser Hair Removal Devices
- Much cheaper than professional laser hair removal
- Easy to use at home
- Provides long term hair reduction from regular use
- After an initial period of treatments (usually once ever few weeks for a few months) permanent hair reduction can be sustained for a long period of time (often months)
- One time cost, rather than having to keep pay for a session at the clinic
- There are certain brands that are FDA approved for safety
- Not much discomfort (in comparison to waxing, for example)
- Most models are fast for larger treatment areas
Cons of Home Laser Hair Removal Devices
- Home IPL devices aren't as powerful as the lasers used in professional clinics so results sometimes aren't as good
- IPL devices are only suitable for lighter skin types with dark hair colour
- Skin injury can occur from improper use
- Mild discomfort during treatment
- It's hard to know whether the device will be effective for you or not until you've tried it
Professional Laser Hair Removal
At a professional laser hair removal clinic, medical-grade laser equipment is used to remove the hair.
The hair removal concept is the same (light pulsed to burn the hair and follicles), but at a clinic you are being treated by professionals.
Not only is a dermatologist handy to monitor the effects of the treatment on your skin, but the technician operating the laser equipment is highly trained.
How Professional Laser Hair Removal Works
You'll be asked to lie down and leave the area to be treated uncovered. The practitioner will then use the laser to blast pulses of light at the hair follicles by positioning the laser just above the surface of the skin. Treatments for back and shoulders hair removal can last from 15 - 30 minutes in duration.
Pros of Professional Laser Hair Removal
- Safest method of laser hair removal
- Long term permanent hair reduction guaranteed (assuming treatment with an FDA approved laser)
- Work carried about by fully trained professional
- More powerful lasers than contained in home laser hair removal kits so for some people results can be better
- Variety of different lasers to suit different skin types
- Cost is spread out over a long period of time as opposed to lump sum
- Large treatment areas can be treated rapidly
Cons of Professional Laser Hair Removal
- Although the cost is spread out, the total cost for a complete series of treatments is expensive (it will cost up to $4000 - $5000 for complete treatment on the back and shoulders)
- Not very convenient - requires multiple trips to a salon for treatment
- Doesn't provide permanent hair removal, but permanent hair reduction of around 75% after the series of treatments is the average
- Some states are not regulated so you have to do your homework to make sure you choose a reputable laser hair removal clinic.
Electrolysis is the ONLY method of hair removal that the FDA classifies as "permanent", and it has been proven to offer the best results.
With electrolysis, a tiny electrode is inserted into the hair follicles and an electrical current is run through the needle. That electrical current destroys both the hair and the follicles, preventing the hair from growing back permanently over time.
How Electrolysis Works
The electrologist will treat each individual hair separately by sliding a thin hair-like needle into the hair follicle and applying a small electrical current to the root of the hair. The electrologist will then use a tweezer immediately after to remove the hair from its follicle. The electrical current denatures the follicle and permanently prevents regrowth.
Pros of Electrolysis Hair Removal
- The only form of hair removal that has been FDA approved for "permanent hair removal".
- Has been in use as a hair removal method for around 130 years with a solid track record and safety profile.
- Equally effective on any skin colour, light or dark
- Short term pain for long term gain - it's the only method of hair removal that can mean you won't have to continually do treatments for the rest of your life
- Effective on any hair type
- Slow - it would take a long time to completely remove all hair on a body part as big as the back and shoulders.
Cons of Electrolysis Hair Removal
- Although the cost is spread out, the total cost for a complete series of treatments is expensive (it will cost up to $3000 for complete treatment on the back and shoulders)
- Removal of thick and course hair can be time consuming and sometimes not feasible. In these cases, prior treatment with a laser might be necessary
- The treatment time is fairly long - between 15 and 30 sessions are needed over the course of at least 12 months
- The treatment mildly discomforting
- There are possibility of short term side effects including blotchy red skin and temporary raised papules on treated area.
- Proper electrolysis can't be done from home - you have to visit a professional salon.