Many women are concerned about skin discoloration with hair removal. However, it is not the act of removing hair that may cause discoloration but rather the technique that is used. It is important to remember that hair removal does not usually cause skin discoloration. After all, millions of men shave their face daily and do not experience discoloration of the skin. But shaving may not be every women’s preferred method of hair removal. We will look at some of the more common hair removal methods and the possibilities of skin discoloration with these techniques.
Why does skin darkening occur?
Darkening of skin is due to a concentration of melanin, the natural skin pigment. Normally melanin distribution is mainly determined by genetics and to some extent by sunlight exposure. An even distribution of melanin ensures that the skin has an even color.Skin discoloration may occur for many reasons.
However, with hair removal and other cosmetic procedures, skin discoloration is a result of severe injury or repeated irritation of the skin. Sometimes the procedure may also make the skin more prone to damage and darkening by sunlight. Ultimately the melanin distribution is more concentrated at the damaged areas of the skin. It is therefore important to utilize the hair removal technique that is the least likely to damage the skin.
Shaving is one of the oldest methods for hair removal. It is still widely used by men throughout the world but is not always the hair removal technique of choice for body hair on women. Proper shaving methods require the use of a lubricant such as shaving foam or cream. This reduces friction and is less likely to injure the skin.
Some shaving foam/cream products also claim to soften the hair thereby making it easier to remove the hair easily. A sharp blade or electric razors can cut the shafts of hair with minimal irritation to the skin. With the proper technique and equipment, shaving hair is less likely to cause skin discoloration.
Pulling the Hair
There are several techniques to pull out the hair, often from the root. Tweezing with the use of forceps, threading (an Asian technique) and even waxing removes hair by pulling it out in different ways. Tweezing is often considered to be the least likely to cause skin damage as the forceps are only used one shaft of hair at a time and does not directly make involve the skin.
Threading and waxing may both injure the skin through the use of physical force and with chemicals like wax. Although these methods are considered fairly safe and unlikely to cause discoloration, it can however be a problem if done by an unskilled person. Very hot wax or wax made from substances that can be irritants may also be a problem which contributes to skin darkening.
Burning the Hair
Chemical depilatory creams are a widely used method for hair removal as it can easily be done at home. These creams “dissolve” the hair thereby making it easy to remove the hair through firm wiping or thorough washing. However, depilatory creams can be one the most likely methods to cause skin darkening over time. The chemicals that can have such a harsh effect on hair may be equally damaging to skin over time.
Laser hair removal and electric epilation are two widely used methods for permanent hair removal. Modern techniques and equipment are fairly safe to use and do not cause skin damage if handled by a skilled operator. However, it can be dangerous and lead to skin damage with discoloration and scarring if the inappropriate equipment and incorrect techniques are utilized to remove hair.