There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to hair removal. The effectiveness of any particular method is dependent on the type of hair you want to remove, and even your hair’s shade or pigment. You’ll want to use a different approach for removing the peach fuzz on your face than you will for the light or dark hairs on your legs, arms, and other larger parts of your body.
Hair Removal Methods for Vellus or “Peach Fuzz”
The light, downy, short hairs on your face - and on most parts of your body except for the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands - is called vellus. The best way to remove vellus is by using a method called dermaplaning.
Dermaplaning isn’t officially a hair removal method - even though it results in the removal of the vellus hairs. It’s actually a dermatological approach to exfoliation, where dead skin cells are scraped from the top layer of skin using a small scalpel. It sounds scary, but it’s actually very gentle, and it’s a way to get two treatments in one!
People who have tried dermaplaning say that after the treatment, their skin is glowing and their pores are unclogged. And, of course, the peach fuzz is gone. Dermaplaning is most safe and effective when a licensed aesthetician performs it, rather than trying to do it on your own. It also isn’t advised if you have sensitive skin or suffer from rosacea.
Electrolysis is another method for removing vellus. Electrolysis requires that a very fine needle be inserted into the skin and touch the blood supply at the base of the hair follicle. It seals off the blood supply so that the hair can’t grow back. Even though electrolysis is a permanent method of removing vellus, it’s time consuming, expensive, and is very dependent on the skill of the person performing the treatment. If not done properly, electrolysis can cause infection and even permanent scarring.
It’s not advised to use lasers to remove vellus because laser treatment’s effectiveness relies on pigment for hair removal, and works best with hair that’s relatively coarse. Vellus almost completely lacks pigmentation and its texture is very fine. You could end up doing more damage to your skin using this approach.
An easy and inexpensive at-home method to remove vellus is shaving. However, you could end up with cuts and even develop an infection when using a standard razor on your delicate facial skin.
Hair Removal for Pigmented Hair
The more pigmented hair many want to remove from their bikini areas, underarms, and larger parts of the body like arms and legs, is called “terminal” hair. For many years, laser hair removal was known to be most effective for light-skinned clients with dark hair. That’s because pigment attracts the heat source of the laser, and it’s heat that ultimately destroys the hair follicle.
But a relatively new type of device, called the Alexandrite Laser, can cover the light hair with pigment, giving light hair the properties it needs to be effectively removed.Another new laser - the Nd:YAG - is more sensitive to colors and melanin due to its longer wavelength.
That wavelength kills hair in the root by avoiding the epidermis. No matter your hair or skin color, you should be able to use laser hair removal techniques to get the results you want. But you’ll need to consult with an experienced aesthetician who can advise you on how to prepare your skin for laser hair removal.