Hair Removal-Depilatory Creams

Hair removal with depilatory creams has been around for many decades. A depilatory agent is a mixture of some chemicals which can weaken/loosen the hair from the follicle so that it can be easily removed. There are many depilatory creams and they all contain the active ingredient calcium thioglycolate.

The chemical easily loosens the hair by an enzymatic action and frees it up from the hair follicle. The cream further dissolves the protein matrix holding the hair and frees it up. Gentle scraping the skin will remove the hair.

In general depilatory agents are applied to the skin as a thin paste and left on for a few minutes. Because the chemical is an irritant, prolonged exposure to the skin can cause irritation and redness of the skin.

These creams ae generally used to removehair from the arms and legs, but this is not a rigid rule. Some women use it to remove hair from the groins, bikini line, chest and back. The creams should not be used on the face as it can cause sevee redness and irriattion.

Depilatory agents are available in a variety of preparations including, gels, creams lotions, aerosol and even powders.

Before performing the actual hair removal, one should always perform a small patch test for 24 hours to rule out any sensitivity to the chemical. If there is no reaction, the hair can be removed after 24 hours.

Advantages include:

- Depilatory creams are fairly cheap

- available in numeorus concentrations for the most rigid and stubborn hairs

- the procedure can be done at home

- the treatment is rapid

- product is readily available


- hair removal is only temporary and regrowth usuall ccurs in a few days

- sometimes a red patch or skin discoloration may be left on the area where the hair was removed

- most of the products have a foul odor

- messy and sticky to use

- can cause skin irritation

- can cause severe allergic reactions

Today, the depilatory creams are not as frequently used because of the availability of other techniques to remove hair.

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