Razor or laser: What type of hair removal is the most dangerous?

How does epilation affect the condition of the skin? What diseases can be caused by improper hair removal? What is the safest hair removal method?

This was told to Okemen.xyz by a general practitioner and deputy chief physician for medical work, Anastasia Z.

The human body, except for the soles and palms, is covered with hair, which performs a protective function. There are many products and procedures for removing unwanted hair. Still, each can harm the skin and health if performed by an unprofessional hairdresser. 

Here are the main risks of the most popular hair removal methods:

Shaving is the cheapest, easiest and fastest method, fraught with many troubles, particularly scars, ingrown hairs, and skin irritation. Shaving can result in folliculitis, a hair follicle infection caused by staphylococci or a fungus.

Waxing is one of the main side effects – pain, the intensity of which depends on the area of \u200b\u200b the epilated skin and the level of the person’s pain threshold. If waxing is performed by a non-professional, it can damage the surface layers of skin cells, fraught with injuries, hematomas, subsequent infection with the development of inflammation and suppuration, and later scars. Self-activity in waxing can lead to burns of 2-3 degrees.

Sugaring (sugar caramel hair removal) is similar to waxing. Unlike wax, sugar paste sticks only to the hair and not to the skin. However, suppose sugaring is performed by a non-professional. In that case, there is a high risk of getting the same side effects from waxing.  

Depilatory cream is the best option if you are afraid of pain or tired of shaving daily. A cream or gel is applied to the skin, and synthetic acids destroy the hairs, after which the cream is removed from the skin along with the fallen hairs.  

These acids can be dangerous, especially if you have sensitive skin or don’t know how to properly apply and remove cream or gel and how long to leave the product on your skin. Improper handling of depilatory cream can result in chemical burns, redness, irritation, inflammation, an allergic reaction with blistering, skin peeling, itching, etc. Before using depilatory creams, you should consult a dermatologist or allergist. 

When removing hair with an electric epilator, several hairs are captured and removed at once. The epilator is aggressive to the skin and is not recommended for sensitive skin areas such as the face, bikini area, or armpits. By placing the epilator at the wrong angle, you can tear off only the superficial part of the hair, without the root, which is fraught with the appearance of ingrown hairs, severe irritation, and trauma to the skin and blood vessels. 

During laser hair removal, the hair follicle is destroyed due to the high temperature emitted by the device, which slows down the growth of new hairs. This type of hair removal should be performed only by a professional because even the slightest mistake can result in serious problems: severe burns, wounds and scars, changes in skin pigmentation, premature aging of the skin, etc. 

In electrolysis, a thin needle is inserted under the skin into the hair follicle, which conducts an electric current that kills the hair follicle. In this case, the hair will stop growing until the end of life. Since this invasive method violates the skin’s integrity, it is associated with risks of infection with local and parenteral infections if asepsis is not followed. 

Can a laser get rid of unwanted hair permanently?  

Laser hair removal is a safe and fast way to remove hair. Still, there has not been a single case where the procedure would 100% and permanently remove unwanted vegetation. For complete hair removal, several sessions are required, which must be repeated at least once a year.

Contrary to popular belief, laser hair removal does not promote cancer. But it has several complications:


During laser hair removal, the device emits intense heat, which can lead to severe burns (2-3 degrees), especially for those with dark and swarthy skin (the higher the content of dark pigment, the more intense the skin absorbs heat). 

Hypo or hyperpigmentation  

Hypopigmentation is the lightening of skin areas exposed to a laser (it can suppress the production of melanin in the skin, which causes it to lose pigment). In some cases, laser exposure, on the contrary, can cause an increase in melanin production, which leads to hyperpigmentation – the appearance of dark spots on the skin. Both those and other spots can remain for life. 

Serious eye injuries – with insufficient protection. 

Redness and severe swelling do not go away for several days after the procedure. In some cases, the formation of blisters through which infections penetrate leads to serious illness.  

Pain – The laser hair removal procedure is very painful. Increased skin sensitivity may persist for several days.  

Formation of crusts and scabs on the skin  

Staining of skin areas in red-violet  

Deteriorating the skin’s protective functions makes it vulnerable to infectious diseases and damage. It increases sensitivity to the effects of temperature changes.

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