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For Women Only: Best Options for Hair Removal

Many women struggle with the issue of hair removal. Here's a guide to help you find the method that's best for you.

Hair Removal Method No. 4: Waxing continued...

The soy cream is applied, then covered with special cloth strips. When the wax sets, the strips are removed, taking the hair with it.
"Because it only sticks to hair, not skin, it produces a kindler, gentler waxing, with less damage and pain when the wax is removed," says Serniuk.

Best For : Waxing can remove hair anywhere on the body, including the upper lip, chin, eyebrows, arms and legs. A bikini wax removes hair that might show when you're wearing a skimpy bathing suit bottom, while a Brazilian wax removes all hair from the genital area.

Cost: The cost of waxing runs from about $10 for an upper lip, to $70 for upper and lower legs or a Brazilian wax. The procedure must be repeated every few weeks.

Potential Drawback : Because soy waxing removes the entire hair -- the root, bulb and shaft -- Serniuk says it's vital to use an antibacterial lotion afterwards. "Because the follicle is so open you need to take some precautions to prevent infection," she says.

Waxing is best done in a spa or salon, but home kits are available. However, experts warn that it's vital to do the procedure in hygienic conditions and to follow treatment with an antibacterial lotion. Done incorrectly, Surniak says, waxing can lead to a nasty skin infection.

Hair Removal Method No. 5: Shaving

What It Is: Whether done with an electric or straight razor, shaving is akin to cutting hair - only it does so ultra-close to the skin. Shaving does not remove hair at the root, nor does it disturb the follicle. That means the effects are temporary, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days.

Although the myth persists that shaving makes hair grow back coarser or more plentiful, dermatologist Bruce Katz, MD, says this isn't so. In fact, as early as 1928, researcher Mildred Totter showed that shaving didn't affect hair growth - a finding that has been echoed in several studies since.

Speaking at the American Academy of Dermatology's 2005 annual meeting, Katz said that ways to minimize shaving problems include:

  • Making sure hair is thoroughly wet first.
  • Shaving in the direction the hair grows.
  • Avoiding repeating strokes.
  • Keeping skin relaxed while shaving.

Potential Drawback: If hair is coarse - particularly in the bikini area - shaving can cause ingrown hairs. Katz says this occurs when the cut hairs curl back into the skin instead of growing out. This can be especially problematic for black women, who are prone to infections caused by the ingrown hairs.

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