Buzzfeed released this controversial beauty article that said it’s okay for women to remove their peach fuzz via shaving. Just to be on the safe side, we thought we’d ask dermatologist to the stars, Dr. Aivee Teo, M.D., of The Aivee Institute, about the pros and cons of this (and other popular hair removal techniques). Read on and find the best hair removal solution for you!
The Technique: Shaving
All you need is a handy razor with a fresh blade and shaving cream (or conditioner if you’re in a bind) and you should be done in a flash!
The Pros: “One of the biggest pros of shaving is that it’s fast and it’s affordable,” says Dr. Teo. It’s also painless if you do it right and über convenient because you can do it anywhere.
The Cons: It’s not always suitable for all skin types—especially for those who are extra sensitive. “[Your skin] can get easily irritated right after shaving,” says Dr. Teo. And since the hair grows back faster and drier, repetitive shaving can cause red or dark spots (this happens because you end up removing hair on the surface of your skin and not from the roots). More bad news? Razor shaving also causes the hair follicle to change its growth direction, which can lead to ingrown hairs.
So going back to the question, "Should you shave your face?" The answer is no. You're better off trying the hair removal options below.
The Technique: Waxing
Whether you do it with a pro at the salon or choose to DIY at home, this method is sure to keep you hair-free for a longer amount of time.
The Pros: Because the wax can be spread over a larger area of skin, it can remove more hair in a shorter amount of time. Results can last for up to six weeks if you pull the strand out from the root and some even notice whiter skin after since the dead skin cells are yanked out together with the hair. “Over time, frequent waxing can cause the hair follicle to become damaged, and stop growing hair,” shares Dr. Teo.
The Cons: Because the wax needs something to latch on to, you’ll have to grow the hair out (about a quarter of an inch) before you can de-fuzz. If you choose to have it done at a salon or spa, you also have to be extra discerning. Not everyone practices safe and sanitary waxing procedures, which often results to a skin infection, burns, redness, or even a disease, warns Dr. Teo. If you’re opting to DIY and lack experience, it can also be messy, tedious, and painful. Make sure you have the guts to yank off all the hair in one go to avoid breaking the hair above or below the surface of your skin. Oh, and did we mention that the tugging can also make your skin lose firmness in the long run? Yikes.
The Technique: Threading
This ancient, Middle Eastern technique is cheaper at salons—just be ready to grit your teeth during the procedure, because we're not gonna lie—it can be painful!
The Pros: “Threading is ideal for those with sensitive skin, because it requires no creams or solutions to be applied prior to the procedure,” says Dr. Teo. Just like waxing, it can also give you long-lasting results since it removes hair from the root.
The Cons: Ouch! Threading isn't the best choice for those with low pain tolerance, since it yanks out strands in little bunches. If it’s done too fast, hair can also break at the surface and make you more prone to ingrown hairs. “Threading is usually [ideal for] eyebrows, but not as a total hair removal method since it would take a long time for it to be done,” explains Dr. Teo.
The Technique: IPL
Intense Pulse Light has gained popularity as a semi-permanent hair removal option.
The Pros: This light-based treatment scatters multiple wavelengths within the skin. For hair removal, the light is absorbed by the pigment in the hair and zaps the growing cells. “It’s cheaper than laser treatments,” says Dr. Teo. Thanks to modern technology, there are also home gadgets (like this!) that you can invest in. They’re pricey, but still a lot cheaper than those available at derma clinics.
The Cons: “Because IPL is a broadband light, it can be painful,” says Dr. Teo. “IPL also affects all the layers of the skin, without specifics, thereby causing a more pronounced potential for risks like redness, irritations, and even burns.” You will also need to do several sessions before you can achieve the desired results.
The Technique: Laser Machines
Just like IPL, it also offers semi-permanent hair removal. The only difference? More dermas are beginning to claim that it’s a more effective method.
The Pros: Have a low tolerance for pain? “Laser hair removal has different wavelengths, and can be adjusted depending on the person’s comfort level,” says Dr. Teo. It works by heating the skin and destroying the hair from the follicle. The best part is, “it can target specific areas, and leave the surrounding skin untouched,” adds Dr. Teo. The Aivee Institute recommends The Soprano Ice as the most complete and effective laser hair removal solution available today. It’s suitable for all skin tones and hair types—and it’s virtually pain-free, too.
The Cons: It’s expensive—especially when you compare it to hair removal methods such as waxing and shaving. You will also have to be patient since it requires several sessions to lasting results. And remember, even if certain clinics have the same machine, not all technicians receive the same training. Choose wisely because “if the person doing the laser hair removal is not careful, there may be risks of blistering,” says Dr. Teo.