Hair removal for men
The most common areas for men to remove hair from are the head, moustache and beard. However, it is now becoming more common for males to treat other areas such as the chest, legs, back and bottoms. This is a summary of the different hair removal methods that are effective for males.
Chest and back
Electrolysis: effective but very time consuming.
Electrolysis uses a small electrical charge to damage the base of the hair's follicle. A thin metal probe is inserted into the follicle and an electrical shock is discharged. This method is very time consuming and extreme patience is required when treating large areas, such as the back or chest of a man. It is very expensive if undertaken by a skilled professional. Home kits are available for men but special care must be taken to not puncture the skin with the probe.
Flashlamp: recommended for permanent hair removal from large areas of the bodies of men.
This method is also called IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). A small hand-held flashlamp device emits light on to the man's skin, targetting the dark hair, causing it to heat up. The heat is then transferred from the hair's shaft to the follicle, causing thermal and mechanical damage. The main advantage of this method over lasers is that larger chest and back areas can be treated at once.
Laser: recommended as a reliable system for males to remove hair from the back and chest areas.
With this method a hand-held device emits laser light (of a certain wavelength) on to the male's skin. The heated hair causes its follicle to go into what is known as its resting phase. Men with dark hair and pale skin will benefit most from this treatment as more of the laser light is absorbed by the melanin in the hairs, and not by the skin. There are various carbon-based lotions that can be applied to the skin to improve the performance of the laser. 3 to 5 sessions are typically required over a few months to treat a man's chest. Laser treatment for men is expensive as it is performed by skilled professionals.
Shaving - Electric , Razor: effective but hairs grow back coarse.
When a man shaves his chest, a sharp metal blade cuts the hair off at the skin's surface. The most common razor used today is the safety razor. However, some skilled male users still prefer using what is typically called a cut-throat razor. There are 2 types of electric shaver: foil and rotary. The foil shaver uses a set of layered metal bands that partially pull out the hairs before cutting them. The rotary razor has 3 circular blades organised in a triangular pattern, and works similarly to the foil razor.
Sugaring: recommended for removing large areas of hair, and kinder to the skin than waxing.
Sugaring works in a similar way to waxing for men. A sugary solution is first applied to the man's chest or back and then a reusable strip of cloth is pressed into the substance. Then once the sugar substance has bonded to the strip, it is quickly pulled away, taking the hairs with it. Some of the advantages of sugaring over waxing are that the sugar solution can be made from readily available ingredients, and it is easy to clean up afterwards.
Waxing: recommended for large areas of hair.
Waxing the chests of men is now fairly common. The most common form is a hot wax treatment. Cold wax can also used but reports suggest that it is not as effective. A hot waxing treatment requires the hot melted wax to be applied directly on to the chest or back. A strip of cloth or paper is then pressed into the cooling wax. After a few seconds the strip is quickly pulled away in the direction of the hair growth, taking the hairs and skin with it. The only difference with the cold waxing method is that the wax is already applied to the strip of cloth before it is applied to the chest or back.
Beard and moustache
Laser: may be useful for beards and moustaches as it can lighten the hair and reduce shadow effects; however, some patients hare reported patchy re-growth.
This method is expensive as it is performed by a skilled professional. They will apply the laser light using a hand held device to the area that is to be treated. The hair's colour absorbs the light energy, which is then converted into heat. The heat is then transferred to the hair's follicle, causing it to go into a resting phase. 3 to 5 sessions are typically required over a few months for best permanent results.
Shaving - Electric , Razor: the most common and an effective method.
Shaving, whether by razor or electric shaver, is by far the most common method used by men to remove facial hair. Razor shaving provides the closest shave but is not appropriate for all users. People with sensitive skin may find that electric razors are more suitable.
Electrolysis: effective for small areas of sparse hairs and as a permanent method of hair removal for men.
Electrolysis can be performed by a professional or by the patient. The method is time consuming and if not done properly can cause skin infections. Also some areas will be hard to get to if performed by the patient.