A depilatory or depilatory cream is a skin formulation, useful for removing unwanted body hair. Easy to use and effective for temporary hair removal, it is one of the most popularly used cosmetic products worldwide. In addition to creams, you will also come across a thin consistency, liquid depilatory in the market. While both work in the same manner, the liquid or lotion is applicable for removing hair from larger portions, and the cream is useful for getting rid of hair from localized areas.
How does a Depilatory Cream Work?
In order to understand how a depilatory helps in getting rid of hair, let's look into the constituent ingredients of such a skin cream. It contains calcium thioglycolate or sodium thioglycolate, which are highly acidic chemicals. This cream also contains soothing components (almond oil, green tea extract, aloe vera gel) to counteract the chemicals, and to give a softer skin after application. Upon contact with the body hair, the acid reacts with the keratin layer and dissolves hair strands.
The action of a depilatory liquid or cream is different from that of an epilator (electrical device for hair removal). A depilatory cream works by removing hair temporarily from the skin surface without disturbing the hair follicles. An epilator does remove hair temporarily, but by pulling them from underneath the skin surface. As expected, it is a painful procedure, whereas, using a depilatory hair removal cream is not painful at all. Along with hair removal, a depilatory is good for getting rid of dead skin.
Tips to Use a Depilatory Cream
Depilatory creams are commonly available in beauty stores and pharmaceutical centers. But, are they safe? Well, hair removal using depilatory creams is a relatively safe approach for most people. But, as the cream contains strong chemicals, some may respond adversely to the formulation, and exhibit burning and allergy symptoms. So, testing the safety of a depilatory cream in the forearm or other skin areas is recommended to prevent side effects. Here's how to use a depilatory cream.
- Hoping that you have conducted the patch test, and are not allergic to depilatory creams, proceed with the steps for using this hair removal product. To be on the safer side, read and understand the user directions provided with the cream.
- Prior to applying a depilatory cream, wash and rinse the skin area (where you want to remove hair) with lukewarm water. According to skin experts, this cream is most effective after a warm water bath, when the skin pores remain open.
- Dry the skin portion properly and apply the depilatory cream generously over the area. Don't use it over skin cuts and portions near the eyes, and avoid rubbing at any cost. Just ensure that the excess hair you want to remove is covered with the cream.
- Leave the cream for the stipulated time, as mentioned in the product (about 5 minutes or more). The actual time required for the dissolving hair depends upon the fineness of the hair strands. The finer and lighter they are, the faster they will dissolve, and vice versa.
- Using the plastic tool, gently scrape the cream along with the dissolved hair in the direction of the hair growth. Or else, run a damp washcloth in the hair growing direction. Then rinse the area thoroughly with water to remove traces of cream and hair.
After this, do not use harsh soaps over the area for 1-2 days. To conclude with, these hair removal formulations are milder for use in sensitive areas, like the upper lip and underarm. But, ensure that you purchase only trustable products. A negative point of using a depilatory cream is that the results are unpredictable. Hence, you may need to repeat the procedure to get satisfactory results.