Body Hair Removal for Men
by Heather Smith and Marjorie Montemayor-Quellenberg, MA
Tired of body hair? More men than ever are choosing to take it off, and they have several options to do so.
Laser hair removal may be one reason more men are talking to their doctors about hair removal. With laser treatment, heat from lasers are used to kill hair follicles. However, laser treatments aren't for everyone. Laser treatments work best on light-skinned, dark-haired people. Make sure you're a good candidate for this procedure before you commit to it.
Laser hair removal facilities can be found almost anywhere. When you are shopping around, keep in mind that the American Academy of Dermatology advises choosing an experienced healthcare provider. Laser treatment should be done with or under the direct supervision of a dermatologist or a doctor with proper training and experience.
Side effects of this treatment include:
Laser treatment may be costly, and several sessions may be needed to see results. Those who consider this treatment should avoid sunlight during the healing process following the treatment.
For those with light hair or dark skin, electrolysis may work. Electrolysis involves inserting a needle into one hair follicle at a time, destroying each with an electrical current. Before you decide on electrolysis, you may want to consider the good and the bad.
If you that find laser or electrolysis treatments aren't in your budget, there are other methods to help you rid of unwanted hair.
For the man whose threshold for pain is higher than his bank balance, waxing is always an option. Waxing is relatively inexpensive and can be done in a salon or at home. However, even men who rip off bandages with gusto may think twice before waxing. Hot wax is applied to the skin and allowed to cool. Once hardened, the wax is ripped off, taking the hair along with it.
Waxing is good for both small and large areas of the body. It can break up a unibrow, and remove back and facial hair. The effects are smooth and clean, and the results can last up to 1-3 weeks.
If you choose to wax at home, be careful not to wax over moles or warts. Also, do not put the wax on so hot that you burn your skin.
If none of these procedures appeal, a man can always purchase a depilatory (like Nair or Neet), which dissolves hair.
Depilatories can be used on chests and backs, but they do not compare to a good shave for facial hair. Several days may pass before you need to reapply a depilatory.
To prevent an allergic reaction, apply some to the underside of your wrist, before applying it to your body. Also, follow the instructions on the bottle closely. If you leave a depilatory on too long it may leave your skin with a chemical burn.
Depilatories may leave your skin feeling itchy and tingly, and may also require more than one application, but re-applying may lead to chemical burn.
Whether it is hair on your back, chest, arms, or genital area, one of these options may be right for you.
American Academy of Dermatology
International Aesthetic & Laser Association
Canadian Dermatology Association
Canadian Organization of Professional Electrologists
Getting rid of hair. Nemours Foundation—Kids Health website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 2016. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Laser hair removal. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/cosmetic-treatments/laser-hair-removal. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Treating excess body hair could remedy a hairy situation. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/treating-excess-body-hair-could-remedy-a-hairy-situation. Accessed April 11, 2017.
Last reviewed April 2017 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 4/11/2017
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