Hair Removal: For Men Only
Is your body hair growing out of control? Hair removal experts discuss the best solutions for men.
Hair Removal Option No. 4: Back Shavers
What It Does
: With blades as wide as an inch and a
half, and hinged handles as long as a foot, these specialty straight razors
allow you to literally shave your back and shoulders, in much the way you use a
back scrub brush during a shower.
Best For: Any area of the back, shoulders, or buttocks.
Shaving the genital area is possible, but not recommended since a cut in this
region could have serious complications.
How Long It Takes: Anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.
: Under $40, plus additional blades and
: A few days, at most.
: Dermatologist Bruce Katz, MD, reminds us that
while shaving is fast and easy, it can increase the risk of ingrown hairs,
which occur when cut hairs curl back into the skin instead of growing outward.
This can be a particular problem for African-American men, who are more likely
to develop infections caused the by ingrown hairs. To help avoid problems, Katz
says, make sure that the hair you will be shaving is wet - you might want
to try back shaving in the shower. He also recommends shaving in the direction
the hair grows, and lathering up beforehand to make hair removal easier.
Contrary to popular opinion, shaving does not cause hair to grow back thicker
Hair Removal Option No. 5: Depilatories/cream hair removers
What It Does
: A chemical compound suspended in a gel or cream
base, it attacks the proteins in hair and dissolves them. This causes the hair
to loosen and fall out instantly.
: Back, chest, arms, and legs. Skin around the brow
and the genitals may be too sensitive for this hair removal treatment.
How Long It Takes
: 30 to 60 minutes, though the compounds sit
on the skin about 5 minutes.
: $10-$20 with a home kit; $25-$50 or more for a
: A week to several weeks.
: Because some chemicals used in
depilatories can be extremely harsh, particularly on sensitive genital skin,
Janet Fairley, MD, professor of dermatology at the Medical College of
Wisconsin, suggests always doing a patch test on a small area of skin. If you
have any type of reaction - burning, redness, blisters, or itching - wipe it
off immediately and don't use it. Since every formulation is slightly
different, you may want to try a different brand before giving up on this