We all love our hair, we pay good money to make sure that it’s healthy, and we style it whichever way we choose as a form of self-expression. However, the same cannot be said for body hair. Whether it grows on the chest, back, leg, underarms, or even in your intimate areas. There are just some types of hair that one could do without.
If you’re struggling with this unwelcome sight, here are some facts on underarm hair removal that you don’t want to miss!
Brushing up on hair facts
Why do we have body hair? What purpose does it serve? And why are we so determined to get rid of it?
First, we have to understand that human hair is divided into two distinct types. In fact, we’re the only species to have this unique pattern. The ones that we love to style are called terminal hairs, and they grow on your scalp, eyebrows, and lashes. These are also the same type of hairs that grow on your armpits and other areas of the body. They are usually thick and can grow long, except the ones on your scalp grow continuously.
The other type is vellus hair, and it’s something that you may not be aware of. It’s the earliest form of body hair that is extremely thin, light colored, and wispy, just like peach fuzz. It grows all over the body except for a few areas like the lips, palms, soles and some areas of the genitals.
Vellus hairs serve to insulate the body in cold temperatures, and also it keeps you cool during hot season by wicking away sweat. These hairs are so fine that it’s almost undetectable. Typically, we don’t go through all the hassle of shaving it because it’s common during childhood.
So what led to the transformation of some of these vellus hairs?
The answer is puberty. The hormonal change that marks this stage causes the immature vellus hair to be replaced with terminal hair in certain areas of your body. Soon this discreet growth suddenly becomes very visible.
Men often get the brunt of it as they develop thicker facial hair as well as hair all over their body, which is called androgenic hair. For females, the change becomes apparent usually in the legs and armpit areas. However, they have a shorter active period compared to the terminal hairs on the scalp, but they can still grow by a few inches. This is why hair removal became a major industry.
The benefits of armpit hair
- It eases friction. Choosing to keep your armpit hair reduces friction from skin-to-skin contact. This is beneficial if you engage in activities that involve a lot of arm movements. With armpit hair to buffer your movement, the skin in this area is less likely to get irritated by friction. Hence, there will be fewer skin issues like rashes or ingrown hairs.
- It can help you attract a mate. Armpit hair is said to hold our pheromones which is our natural scent that play a role in attraction.
- It keeps you warm. The purpose of hair growth in this area is to help keep the heat in. This is particularly helpful if you live in cold areas.
The benefits of underarm hair removal
- You sweat less. If you don’t like underarm stains on your clothes, getting rid of armpit hair can reduce moisture. However, it’s also worth noting that there are some individuals who tend to sweat more than normal due to a condition called hyperhidrosis.
- Less body odor. Since armpit hair tends to wick the sweat in your underarms, removing them can reduce trapped odor.
- Aesthetic appeal. More women today feel confident when they are able to wear certain clothes in confidence. To some, underarm hair can be limiting and embarrassing.
For some of us who are not lucky enough to be favored by nature with flawless armpits, we are left to look for ways to groom the area.
It’s commonplace for people today to subject themselves to different treatments to try to get rid of body hair. Usually people stick to shaving and all the nicks that come with it, others are willing to brave painful waxing sessions for large strips of hair. Some are even open to try foul-smelling hair removal creams in an effort to wipe out the area.
Alternatively, you can just go au naturale and that’s totally fine. But for those who wish to get rid of underarm hair, there are several options available for you today.
7 types of hair removal methods
Armed with the right tools, shaving can be pretty simple. This is why this is the default hair removal of choice by many because it’s convenient. If you haven’t tried shaving yet, here are some tips for an easy and efficient process.
For those who tried shaving, you must be aware of some of its limitations. For one, shaving is just a temporary solution. It also makes you vulnerable to nicks, cuts, and rashes. Since hair often grows fast, you don’t get to enjoy the results for long because itchy regrowth comes through in just a few days.
Compared to shaving, this process uproots the hair. All you need are trusty tweezers and you’re good to go! It’s an economical way to get rid of stray hairs. However, it may not be the safest way to get rid of underarm hair. This method is always prone to irritation, scarring, and ingrown hairs. It’s not advised for sensitive areas such as the nipples or underarms. Besides the potential damage it leaves behind, it’s also painful.
Threading is an ancient method of hair removal that has its origins in Southeast Asia but remains popular today. All it needs is a piece of thread that is used to pull the hair in a twisting motion. Some growth is needed for the thread to cling on. The results can last around four weeks.
Threading isn’t something that you should do on your own. It’s an art that should be left to professional technicians because it can be difficult to do it at home, especially without practice. If done incorrectly, the hair could break which can lead to uneven results and ingrown hairs.
Threading isn’t always the hair removal method of choice for underarm hair, but many are open to try and brave the discomfort that comes with it.
Waxing is a hair removal method that if done regularly, reduces the growth rate of hair in between each session. The results can last you around 3 weeks depending on how your hair grows. When the hair regenerates, it grows back with a finely tapered end compared to the blunt stubbles that shaving leaves you.
However, waxing has always had this reputation for being painful. But, you might find that underarm waxing isn’t as painful compared to other areas of the body. Plus, if you keep up with your regular waxing schedule, you are able to tolerate it better.
Some prefer to wax at home, and it’s totally fine, but it takes some getting used to. If you want to get waxed at a salon, you need to find a reputable salon. Besides ensuring that there are trained and experienced technicians, sanitary practice is also a main concern. You need to find a reputable salon that doesn’t reuse applicators and their technicians should be wearing gloves.
Waxing also needs some regrowth of at least a quarter of an inch to be effective. It’s not spared from bumps, allergic reactions, and ingrown hairs. But, when done right, it can be a quick and convenient temporary solution.
- Depilatory Cream
Besides mechanical methods of hair removal, depilatory and prescription creams also promise to get rid of unwanted hair. They come in different formulations which can be used for the face and the body. Over-the-counter products are designed to destroy the hair at the root, while prescription brands, on the other hand, work by interacting with chemicals found in the hair follicle to slow down the hair growth process and keep it under control.
Some people prefer topical solutions because it’s convenient and fast-acting. However, the formulation that made them work on the hair is also harsh on the skin. Some even leave chemical burns. This is also what gives depilatory creams that strong odor that puts off some people.
Depilatory creams can be found almost anywhere and they are affordable too, but not all creams are created equal. Some leave behind patches of hair while others don’t work at all. But there are some that truly stand out from the rest.
Electrolysis involves inserting a thin needle into the hair follicle through which electrical current passes to damage the hair and prevent new growth. This treatment has been around for years, but it remains to be a preferred method for some because it’s safe for different skin tones, hair types, and hair color. It also offers long-term results.
It will take several sessions, with some requiring as many as thirty treatments, to achieve the desired results. The process can be painful, but you can take a pain reliever prior to the treatment. It’s advised that you have this done by someone who’s trained and certified to reduce the risk of infections or scarring.
- Laser Hair Removal
Instead of electric currents, laser hair removal uses laser energy to heat up the hair follicles and damage them to reduce hair growth. It has been in use for several years now, and since its inception, the laser devices available today have improved.
The GentleMax Pro for instance, which is a combination of Nd:YAG and Alexandrite lasers, is a device that can deliver light energy to hundreds of hair follicles at a time. It reacts to the melanin found in the hair, but is also smart enough to distinguish it from the skin. So, you’re spared from potential skin damage which causes irritation and darkening.
GentleMax Pro even comes with a patented cooling system to reduce discomfort. Temporary redness and minor swelling can be observed at the treatment site, but this will subside within hours. The effects, however, are long-term. But you will need some touch-up sessions in the future for any minimal regrowth.
Typically, laser treatments require 4-6 sessions spaced weeks apart. Some patients will need more than that depending on their hair type and how they’re responding to treatment. It can effectively eliminate unwanted underarm hair and even improve the skin.
It’s for these reasons why The Aesthetics Centre trusts lasers to provide safe, efficient and effective treatments to address stubborn and unwanted hair. We understand that you want to get rid of hair and make sure that the process leaves a clean slate in its place—no ingrowns, stubbles, and darkening.
Underarm Hair Removal Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do some people don’t grow underarm hair?
You’re probably wondering why your armpit hairs are so quick to sprout back, while others seem to have theirs perpetually hairless. Most of the time, this is attributed to good genes, but for some, it is linked to certain health conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, asthma, and thyroid problems.
2. How does underarm laser hair removal work?
In this treatment, lasers emit pulses of light energy deep into the skin to destroy the hair follicle. Since hair grows in stages, lasers are only effective when the hair is in the growth phase. It can’t do any damage to those at rest. This explains why several sessions spread out in several weeks are needed to fully address all your underarm hairs.
3. Is laser hair removal safe for the armpits?
Laser hair removal may sound daunting, but it’s safe for your underarms. You can expect mild discomfort during the treatment, but this is well tolerated by most patients.
There are also no known long-term health risks associated with the treatment. Some may experience minor side effects after a session. You can ask your dermatologist to test a small patch of skin to see how it reacts before you get it done on a larger area of the skin.
The device we have at The Aesthetics Centre is safe and it comes with comfort settings that promotes patient comfort with each laser energy delivered. But also remember that these devices are not foolproof. If you wish to get laser treatment for your underarm hairs, be sure to get it done by a fully-qualified practitioner to ensure a safe experience.
4. What are the benefits of laser hair removal?
The potential benefits of laser hair removal include:
- Fewer underarm hairs
- Hair regrowth that is lighter in color
- Cleaner results
- Less coarse hair texture
- Slower hair growth
5. Does underarm laser hair removal hurt?
The skin in your underarms are quite sensitive, but laser hair removal is safe and relatively gentle. There is minimal pain which most patients find tolerable. It will feel like a small rubber band is lightly snapped onto your skin. Our GentleMax Pro laser comes with a Dynamic Cooling Device (DCD) which is a cooling system that uses bursts of chilled air before and after each laser pulse. This is designed to protect the topmost layer of the skin and ensure patient comfort.
6. What to expect during underarm laser hair removal?
When you come in for your sessions, a technician will trim the hair if it’s too long. The laser settings will then be adjusted based on the color and thickness of your hair. Afterwards, a cold gel will be applied all over your underarms to protect it. Some may be given a topical anaesthetic to help minimise discomfort. You will also need eye protection during the treatment.
The technician will then place the device that has a beam of light over your armpit area. This heats up the hair follicles and causes damage so that they won’t produce hair like they normally would. With other devices, the technician may need to spray the underarms or reapply a cooling gel. Our GentleMax Pro device already comes with a cooling system that automatically produces bursts of chilled air.
7. How long does underarm laser hair removal take?
It usually takes 6-8 treatments to target the underarms, with 4-6 weeks in between each session. Each session will take about 5-10 minutes of actual zapping.
8. What to do after laser hair removal?
There are some things that you need to do and avoid after underarm laser hair removal. First of all, you need to protect the affected area from any sun exposure. Though your underarms don’t get a lot of sun, be sure to limit any UV exposure before, during, and at least 6 weeks after treatment. This includes natural and artificial sources like tanning beds. Knowing this will allow you to schedule your treatments accordingly if you are preparing for an event or vacation.
For the next two days after your treatment, it’s advised that you wear loose cotton clothing to avoid irritating the area. Skip swimming pools, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, and physical exercise for the meantime. Avoid washing the area with water that’s too hot or too cold. And it also helps that you exfoliate your underarms in between treatments so that it’s in good condition for the next procedure. You can ask your doctor or technician on how it can be done properly.
Once you’re done with your first session, make sure that you thoroughly discuss your treatment plan. Follow the instructions carefully so you are in line with what you’re supposed to do or avoid.
9. Can underarm hair be removed permanently?
Contrary to popular belief, there is no hair removal treatment that can totally eliminate hair permanently. However, there are different ways to get rid of hair for weeks, months, and long periods of time—and laser hair removal is a treatment that provides long-term benefits.
The suggested number of treatments will result in smoother underarms that are hair-free. Any regrowth will be few and finer in texture. You can get touch-up treatments to maintain the desired outcome.
10. How much does underarm laser hair removal cost?
A laser hair removal treatment for your underarms can cost several hundred dollars per session. This will vary based on the clinic and the device used. The cost of laser treatments may seem steep at first look, but they’re actually cheaper in the long run.
A razor is cheap and you can use it for weeks. A wax session can cost more, but each session is significantly cheaper than laser treatments. However, these are temporary treatments. You’ll have to do them every so often. Laser treatments can give you smooth and hair-free underarms that will last longer than your band-aid solutions. Therefore, it gives you good value for your money.
Underarm laser treatments save you time, spares you from ingrown hairs, it has minimal side effects, and you get to enjoy the results all year round!
11. Will I see immediate results?
Laser won’t give you immediate results right off the bat. Hair shedding is a process, and it will naturally do so over a period of days or weeks. So, it may take a few days to see any results at all. It’s common for dead and loose hair to be on the surface of your skin at this point.
For any hair growth in between sessions, you don’t need to shave these so these will be necessary for the lasers to target in your next appointment. You can trim it, but not wax or pluck.
After all the required number of sessions are done, some people see hair loss for months or even years, but every individual is different. Some people find that they need to do some touch-ups, while some need additional treatments spread out throughout the year.
Visit us at The Aesthetics Clinic today
If you think that underarm laser hair removal is a treatment that suits your needs and lifestyle, you can get in touch with us today. We would be happy to take on your concerns, perform the necessary assessments, and create a customised hair removal plan.