If you are an exasperated young, teenage girl or a young office executive or even a young mother of two trying anything you can lay your hands on to remove the unwanted body hair as well as prevent the growth of unwanted body hair, you are not alone! There are millions of girls and women who are still grappling with this problem after using methods like hair removing creams, lotions and wax, shaving, threading, tweezing, etc. The fact, however, is that natural hair growth is a genetically programmed feature of the human body that has constantly evolved from the days of uncivilized living to modern human existence. This issue of unwanted hair growth on body has remained a challenge to medical community where it is known as Hypertrichosis and Hirsutism
What is Hypertrichosis and Hirsutism
The medical term ‘hypertrichosis’ describes excessive hair growth in men and women. ‘Hirsutism’ is a type of hypertrichosis, the term used to describe the condition of excess unwanted hair growth in women and children. It can be a source of great embarrassment for women, especially if they spout coarse hair on their face and chest which are areas that are usually devoid of hair for women. This is caused by hormonal factors; excessive amounts of the male hormones Androgen and Testosterone can cause levels of the female hormone Oestrogen to fall resulting in unwanted hair growth. Certain genetic factors and overuse of certain medications can also cause excessive growth of body hair.
Women who have reached menopausal stage or are showing PMS symptoms are also likely to have excess hair growth on the face, especially over the lips, on the chin and chest areas.
The ‘scourge of womankind’ for centuries has been unwanted body hair. However, unwanted body hair is not a problem that concerns the ‘fairer sex’ alone! In fact, you will be amazed to know that men for hundreds of years have been known to explore many methods to remove unwanted hair. While we cannot forget the ‘hippie’ culture of the 1960s and 70s, the clean-shaven look is the in-thing now. In ancient Egypt, people methodically removed body hair to prevent infestations from fleas, lice and parasites.
Hair Removal Techniques Used to Remove Unwanted Hair
There are many methods, techniques and treatments for hair removal; some are permanent like electrolysis and lasers. Most of such hair removal techniques predominantly use chemical, electric and abrasive treatments. As you may have seen from the Internet, several of these methods are under the scanner for using chemicals, dyes and devices that can cause severe body harm or side effects leading to serious medical conditions.
A few treatments like Transdermal Electrolysis, Transcutaneous Hair Removal and Microwave Hair Removal have not been clinically tested and are yet being sold over the counter. Some experimental hair removal treatments like Photodynamic Therapy and X-Ray Hair Removal are banned in the United States. In fact, several chemical treatments and products have resulted in itches, rashes, and allergies, blackening and flaking of skin as well as inflammations and infections of hair follicles. Hence, you may want to go with tried and tested methods that use natural products for safe and effective use. You know them as Home Remedies for Unwanted Hair Removal!
Natural Home Remedies for Unwanted Hair Removal
The kitchen in every home is a ‘beauty parlor or salon’ by itself. The reason is not hard to find; the many natural herbs, products, spices and substances that are easily available here provide ample benefits for aesthetic beauty and hygiene for our bodies. Haven’t you heard of grandmothers advising their teenage granddaughters to use this or that to prevent pimples and acne? Here you must pause to think! Soaps, deodorants, perfumes and lotions are all recent-day developments, yet our ancestors remained hygienic and healthy by using naturally available products.
In India and many other Asian countries, one of the earliest bathing rituals for babies, especially girls, involved the use of besan (gram flour), chandan (sandal paste) and haldi (turmeric) to remove oil, smoothen and cool the skin and prevent hair growth in that order.
Here are some natural remedies for unwanted hair removal that are proven to provide results, which will, of course, vary from person to person. But the good news is that they are not known to cause irritation or bruising or any other condition that may eventually require medical diagnosis and treatment. Yet again, these home products and substances can be tested at home to see if you are prone to any skin allergy or reaction before trying them as compared to beauty treatments in a parlor where most often you are unaware of the products that are used.
Needless to mention that these home treatments will not completely stop hair growth but will definitely slow down re-growth and if patiently used regularly, they will produce required results. Most skin treatments prescribe amounts of the ingredients that are sometimes too little or too much; therefore a useful recommendation is for you to work out how much is required again taking into account whether only one part of the body i.e. face or arms or the whole body needs it. Since the face is an extremely sensitive area, you should be prudent in determining what will suit YOU best!
Granulated sugar and freshly cut lemon removes hair naturally
• Cut the lemon in two halves
• Dip one half in the granulated sugar and apply gently on the face where hair growth is visible.
• Leave the mixture on for 20 minutes and wash off with cold water.
The sugar and lime juice act as natural exfoliating agents. They leave your skin soft and supple; honey can be substituted for sugar if needed. With regular use, say once or twice a week, you will begin to notice visible reduction in hair growth.
Turmeric powder, gram flour and curd is a traditional hair removal remedy
This mixture when applied evenly all over the face dries off in 15-20 minutes leaving a dry mask cover. Wash away with cold water and leave the skin to dry.
• Get 1 tsp turmeric powder, 2-3 tbsp gram flour and 2-3 tsp curd.
• Mix well and apply on face
• Leave for 15-20 minutes or till the time it dries off
• Now rub your face in circular motion gently with fingers to remove the dry mask. Hair will come out along with it.
• Wash off and pat dry
• Apply moisturizer
Home-made wax can also remove unwanted hair
• Prepare the wax at home using two measures of sugar, one-fourth measure lemon juice and one-fourth measure water.
• By heating and melting the ingredients, you will get a thick brown liquid which is the wax.
• Cool it slightly, and apply on the area of hair removal in long even strokes while still warm
• Place a clean strip of cloth, press down and pull away from the direction of hair growth.
• An ice pack or astringent lotion should be applied after the process to close skin pores.
The warm wax opens the hair pores and ensures hair removal from the roots and not the surface; hence re-growth will appear only after a week or so. This process is slightly painful but the wax paste contains natural ingredients like sugar and honey that ensures complete safety.
Papaya, turmeric, aloevera paste will remove unwanted hair
• Make a paste of raw papaya, mix with turmeric, gram flour, aloe vera gel and a few drops of any perfumed oil like lavender oil.
• Apply this paste on the area against the direction of hair growth and spread evenly.
• Leave it on for about 20 minutes and wipe clean against the direction of hair growth.
• Rinse with water, dry off and apply skin lotion or coconut oil to cool down the area.
The natural enzyme, papain, found in abundance in papaya breaks down the hair follicle and restricts hair growth.
Remove hair with white pepper powder, camphor and almond oil
A paste of all three ingredients should be applied on the area and left to dry for 10-15 minutes. When washed off with water, you will notice the hair coming off with the paste.
• Get 1/2 tsp white pepper powder, 1 tsp camphor powder and few drops of almond oil to make paste
• Apply this to your face
• Leave for 15 minutes and wash off
• If you feel irritation or itching due to pepper powder, wash off immediately and don’t use this remedy
• Try other remedies to remove unwanted hair on your face
Oatmeal and Banana scrub too removes unwanted hair
This scrub is a natural exfoliating agent for hair removal and for cleansing and keeping the skin smooth. This paste can be applied once or twice a week for 15-20 minutes and washed off.
• Get 1/2 cup oatmeal and 1 banana (1/2 if it is too large)
• Mash the banana and add oatmeal, mix well and make a paste
• Apply on face and wait for 20 minutes
• Now remove the scrub by rubbing with fingers gently to remove unwanted hair
• Wash off with water and pat dry
Corn flour, egg white and sugar for hair removal from body
When mixed together this forms a glue-like paste that can be applied on the face and arms. It becomes a thick dry mask after some time. When peeled off the skin, the excess hair comes away attached to the mask.
• Get 2-3 tbsp cornflour, egg white from 1 egg and 1-2 tsp sugar. If also making for arms, double or triple the quantity in same proportion
• Mix well and apply on face and arms
• Wait till it dries off
• Peel off or remove by rubbing with hands gently
• Wash off and pat dry
Gram flour, lemon juice and turmeric removes your unwanted hair
Gramflour is a very good scrubbing agent that also removes unwanted hair well. Lemon juice exfoliates and turmeric provides anti-inflammatory protection plus makes your skin glow.
• Get 3-4 tbsp gramflour, half tsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp turmeric powder
• Mix all to form a smooth paste and apply on the skin.
• Wash off with cold water when dry and apply a few drops of baby oil or moisturizing lotion to the area.
Remember that corn flour and gram flour can cause skin to become dry and flaky; hence some form of moisturizing agent must be used to keep the skin soft.
Herbal Remedies for Unwanted Hair Removal
A few herbal recommendations for hair removal are also given here.
Use Lentil paste, raw potato juice, honey and lemon juice to remove hair
• To one bowl of boiled lentil paste add an equal amount of potato juice, one teaspoon honey and four teaspoons lemon juice.
• This paste can be applied all over the body and left to dry completely.
• Use the fingers to scrape off the dry paste; this removes visible hair along with the dry skin mask.
Thanaka powder and Kusuma (Safflower) Oil for Hair Removal
The Thanaka or Elephant Tree, common to Myanmar is available in powder form in most natural health medicine stores. This powder is used in facial cosmetics for nourishing, hydrating agent and as a face-pack. Kusuma, the Sanskrit term for Safflower Plant produces the oil of the same name that is used for cooking purposes; it is also widely used as a nutritional supplement.
• The Thanaka Powder and Kusuma Oil should be mixed together well to form a thick paste or cream which when applied on the body gets absorbed into the skin.
• Before this is done, you may use the home-made wax to remove hair completely from whichever portion of the body that you need to.
• Once the paste is completely absorbed into the skin, it should be left overnight and washed off completely the following morning.
• The process has to be repeated daily for 3 months; you can guarantee yourself a completely hair-free body during that time.
Dietary Supplements to Regulate Hair Growth
Since hair growth is directly connected to balance of hormones, regular use of dietary supplements and drinks can provide some relief. You can try these helpful suggestions; they cause no adverse reactions or health issues. Having said that, it is still recommended to consult with a herbalist or a dietician and even a doctor, especially if you are a pregnant woman or are on some serious medication. The herbal supplements are useful in balancing hormones for young and old alike.
• Drinking a cup of Brahmi, Licorice, Fennel or Spearmint Tea
• Using Soy products like Soy Milk and Tofu (cottage cheese made from soy)
• Consuming Flaxseed powder in yoghurt, salads and curries
Important Tips for Unwanted Hair Removal
There is no ‘one solution that fits all’. The key to remember in beauty tips and treatments is that no one body or skin tone is like the other which is why we have a spate of medical problems with continued use of chemicals and compounds that are indiscriminately used without checking suitability.
Having said that, patience and moderation are key factors and there should be no hurry to expect changes overnight. Home remedies for unwanted hair removal are not ‘magical elements’ yet they work wonders and with time, you will certainly see the difference. So, go ahead and try these suggestions and keep your fingers crossed so that these remedies work for your body!