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Unwanted hair can be an embarrassing, socially isolating problem. How you treat or remove unwanted hair depends largely on where the hair is located.

The only way to remove hair permanently is through electrolysis, which destroys the hair follicle with an electric current. Each hair is individually treated, and the process is lengthy and expensive. Women with excessive facial hair tend to use electrolysis because it is a one time expense that works well. Electrolysis can be used on larger areas of hair growth, but is generally not recommended.

A depilatory causes the hair shaft to disintegrate. The remaining hair is then able to be wiped away. The root is left intact and healthy, so the hair does regrow. However, it does not grow back thicker or darker than the original hair, as often thought. Since depilatories are made of harsh chemicals, skin can sometimes become irritated. Depilatory lotions work best on large areas of hair removal, such as legs, back, chest and arms. Creams are effective in removing smaller, more dense areas of coarse hair, such as that that is found around the bikini area and under the arms.

Plucking individual hairs by means of a tweezer is an effective hair removal process for eyebrows and individual bothersome hairs on small areas of the face. Since you are plucking, it is easy to create any shape you wish, which is why plucking eyebrows has never lost its appeal. Plucking is mildly painful, but there is almost no risk of infection or scarring. Pain can be minimized and shaping made easier by applying a small amount of vaseline to the area before beginning. Plucking works well on eyebrows, mustache areas, chin and neck. Hair will need to be re-plucked in 3-4 weeks.

Cutting hairs with a razor is a simple way to remove leg and underarm hair. The biggest misconception with this form of hair removal is that it causes the hair to grow back more densely. It does not. Shaving is best used on legs and underarms and not for excessive facial hair, where scarring could be an unfortunate problem. When shaving, always use a shaving gel or cream to moisten skin and hair and prevent knicks and cuts. Follow shaving with moisturizing lotions. Hair that is shaved will regrow almost immediately and need to be reshaven every 2-3 days.

Unsightly hair can be made less visible through a process known as bleaching. Bleaching does not remove the hair, but rather, allows it to blend in. Bleaching works well on hair that is not thick or long. Dark haired women find that bleaching slight mustache areas is less painful than plucking and less expensive than electrolysis. Bleaching is done every few weeks and causes little or no abrasion or irritation. Fairly large areas of the skin can be bleached, and the skin itself does not react or discolor because of the bleach. Bleaching is perfect for facial areas. Check with your beautician before you do it yourself.

Newer wax strips allow for quick and relatively pain free removal of small areas of hair. Small plastic strips contain cold wax, which are applied to problem areas. The strips are then ripped off the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth, removing the hair and shaft. This is a quick and easy way to deal with out of control eyebrows and stray facial hair. Because the shaft of the hair is removed, this process only needs to be repeated once or twice a month.

Waxing works well with removing large areas of hair. Most waxing kits are made of beeswax for easy spreading and removal purposes. Wax is heated (by microwave) and then applied with a plastic applicator. After allowing the wax to harden, it is peeled off with a large piece of gauze, removing unsightly hair with it. Waxing works well on large and small areas, including legs, bikini lines, lip and chin areas and eyebrows. This process is more time consuming than some of its alternatives, but doesn't need as much re-treatment. A thorough waxing job only needs to be repeated once every two months.

Laser hair removal has been used successfully to treat cosmetically unappealing hair grown. Facial and leg hair can be removed via a long pulse high energy laser system. The gentle beam of light that passes through the skin absorbs the hair follicle, leaving the skin unscarred. This is a semi-permanent removal process that can take as few as ten minutes. Hair does eventually grow back.

INFLAMED or injured skin should be allowed to heal before beginning any type of hair removal process. Adding chemicals and waxes to irritated skin may cause infection.

NEVER RUB skin with dry towel to remove excess wax or depilatory creams. This will cause what's knows as "shaver's rash," an unsightly, irritating fine rash that is difficult to treat. Always use wet towels and wipe gently.

NOURISHING your skin after any treatment will help it to heal. Moisturizers and fat based soaps help to soothe dry, irritated skin.

LARGE AREAS of unwanted hair growth (such as back and legs) are best removed with wax, creams or lotions. The more often the product is used, the better results you will have.

ALTERNATE treatments whenever possible. Wax one month. When hair needs to be removed again, use a cream. This will cause less irritation to the surrounding skin.