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Skin Care: Then and Now--Hair Removal

By: Michelle Goldsmith
Posted: February 28, 2013, from the March 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Consider offering a bundle service to clients that includes products and peels in addition to their hair removal procedures for one fee, especially when you are going to perform laser hair removal. See Laser Hair Removal Bundle for an example.

Hair removal products and methods

Depilatory creams. Although big hair is synonymous with the 1980s, hair removal techniques for other areas of the body were becoming more sophisticated during this period. Remember the “short shorts” commercials touting Nair? Although this popular cream depilatory product was launched in the 1940s, these commercials gave great importance to using a cream versus a razor, specifically for the legs. Although Nair and similar products are quite affordable and still very much available, there is the potential for skin irritation from the ingredients used to trigger the chemical reaction that breaks down the disulfide bonds in the keratin, causing the hair to become weak enough to wipe away. These creams and lotions also remove hair at the surface of the skin, but are supposed to keep the hair away for a longer period of time than traditional shaving. Due to the potential for irritation caused by these types of products, clients with sensitive skin may not tolerate them well.

Dermaplaning. Dermaplaning is one of the more recent forms of removing hair on the surface level of the skin. This type of treatment is similar to shaving, but involves a scraping action with a surgical blade that is typically inserted into a special tool. Dermaplaning not only removes the hair, but also exfoliates the outermost layer of skin, providing gentle hair removal and exfoliation at the same time. This type of treatment is a hair removal alternative that is excellent for all skin types and an ideal form of hair removal for someone with rosacea, because there is no heat and very little friction to the skin. Products and some types of gentle chemical peels may also be applied to the skin right after the dermaplaning procedure is performed, increasing the benefits to the client. Because the dermaplaning procedure removes any impacted stratum corneum, the ingredients in blended chemical peels can penetrate more evenly and deeply, increasing the benefits of the final outcome of the treatment for the client. Please note that the level of trauma and depth of exfoliation is completely user-dependent, and this type of treatment should only be performed by a skin care professional who has had proper training. This procedure is out of the scope of practice for some licensed estheticians. Be sure to contact your state board and confirm the legality of your offering this treatment. (Editor’s note: For complete state board contact information, log on to

Mechanical epilators. Mechanical epilators are devices that rapidly grab the hairs and pull them out. These can be purchased commercially and used at home. The efficacy of these devices depends greatly on the manufacturer and mechanism of action.

Threading. Threading, also known as fatla or khite (Arabic) or band (Persian), involves grabbing hairs by rolling a twisted thread over the skin. Again, this is probably not the best type of hair removal for larger areas or for clients with compromised skin conditions.