How Does Hair Removal Cream Work?

how does hair removal cream work

Hair removal cream, also known as depilatory creams, are chemicals that break down the keratin of your hair. After enough contact with the cream, your hair breaks loose from the hair follicle making it easy for you to wipe away unwanted hair.

In theory, using chemical depilatories is a painless hair removal method. However, you are still working with chemicals on your skin so you need to be very careful and follow the product instructions.

Want to know more about hair removal cream and how to use it? Read on for more details.

What Is Hair Removal Cream or Chemical Depilatory?

Chemical depilatories, like hair removal cream, is a combination of chemicals that breaks down keratin. Keratin is a protein and is what essentially your hair is made of.

Most hair removal creams are made up of alkaline chemicals. This is why many of these products have a certain odor that is similar to smell of hair dye.

When these chemicals comes into contact with hair, a reaction takes place and makes the hair strand weaker. Eventually, after the required amount of time, the hair is very weak and easily separates from the hair follicle.

Once the keratin is broken down and the hair is weak, it becomes very easy to pull out the unwanted hair. This is why simply wiping away the cream or washing it off also lets you remove the hair at the same time.

Certain brands include a kit for you to apply and wipe away the cream with while others are meant to be washed off. You can also get this product in the form of a spray-on or roll-on.

Benefits of Using Hair Removal Cream

Consider these advantages of hair removal creams. Are these qualities that you look for in a hair removal method?

  • It is widely available in many drug stores. There are many different brands and variations so you can experiment to see which is most suitable for your skin type and hair growth.
  • It is affordable. Hair removal creams are not expensive but the price does go hand-in-hand with quality.
  • It is painless (in theory). When using a product that is suitable for your skin and hair growth, removing your hair should not hurt.
  • It is easy. There are no complicated steps or techniques involved nor a long preparation phase or after-care.
  • Stubble takes longer to grow back than with shaving. The chemicals reach just below skin level so the hair is broken down closer to the hair follicle than with shaving.
  • Less coarse hair growth. Shaving makes the edge of your sharper which makes it feel more coarse but this does not happen with a hair removal cream.
  • Relatively fast process. Depending on the body part, this is a quick hair removal method because it does not need much precision.
  • Easily done at home. As mentioned, no difficult techniques involved so you can easily use the cream on yourself, at home.

Downside of Using Hair Removal Cream

Remember that you are dealing with chemicals so there are few more precautionary steps to take when choosing this hair removal method. Also, there are other disadvantages of using chemical creams to remove unwanted hair.

  • It smells. Although manufacturers sometimes try to cover up the smell now, many still have a pungent smell.
  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin. People with sensitive skin may have adverse reactions to the chemicals like inflammations, allergic reactions or even burning. Always do a small test patch on your arm or leg before applying it in larger or more sensitive areas.
  • You must follow the instructions very carefully. Leaving it on for too long is not a good idea because the chemicals can cause a painful sensation on your skin or even cause burns, blisters, peeling or rashes.
  • Not as long lasting as waxing. This hair removal method does not remove the hair follicle so it grows back faster than many methods but still lasts longer than shaving.
  • You cannot repeat application on the same spot. Re-applying cream to the same patch of skin can cause irritation so if you were unable to remove all hairs you will have to resort to shaving or using a tweezer.
  • Varied dependability. There is a lot of difference in effectiveness between hair removal creams so it may take a while to find one that works for you.
  • Not suitable for sensitive areas of skin. Because you are dealing with chemicals, it is best to avoid using hair removal creams in sensitive areas like your face or bikini region.

The Verdict

How you remove unwanted hair from your body is up to personal preference but there are a few safety considerations, especially with the chemicals in hair removal creams.

With any new product, always do a patch test first. This will show whether you are allergic to any of the ingredients and whether your skin is not too sensitive for the ingredients.

If you don’t notice any negative effects in the few days after the patch test, then the product is probably safe for you to use. Don’t try applying the product anywhere else on your skin if you noticed burning, strong tingling, a rash or other indication of bad skin reactions.

Hair removal creams are best reserved for removing hair on your legs or arms. Even if the product states that it was made for sensitive skin, it is not recommended to use these types of chemicals in your bikini area or face.

For your legs and arms hair removal creams are great because it is a fast method that you can do by yourself at home. It is also one of the more inexpensive methods.

If you want longer results than you would with shaving but cannot stand the pain of waxing or epilation, then this is a good midway. The results may not last as long as shaving but it is painless when you follow the instructions.

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