Body Hair Removal Tips for Men

by Lisa Sefcik paralegal

Most women assume that men don't share the same need to find the right method of body hair removal. However, the overly hirstute gentleman may indeed wish to curb the growth of unruly follicles on his chest, back, and other body areas. The good news is that there are several methods of hair removal available. The bad news is that most of them are not pleasant. Welcome to the wonderful world of body hair removal, gentlemen: the agony, the pain and the merciless beating of your pocketbook.

Hair Removal: Temporary or Permanent?

The first question to ask yourself before choosing a method of body hair removal is if you want your hair removed temporarily or permanently. While there are an abundance of hair removal techniques that can keep you hair-free for quite a long time--sometimes up to two months--there are only a couple of methods that result in semi-permanent and permanent hair removal.

Maybe you simply want to see what it feels like to have a hair-free chest. Or perhaps the hair on your back is a continued source of embarrassment that keeps you from going into the pool without a towel draped over your neck. Whatever your situation, it may be best to start out with a temporary hair removal method before you graduate to something that involves a greater financial commitment.

Temporary Hair Removal Techniques

When it comes to hair removal methods, the playing fields are leveled between the genders in terms of time, expense, and gratification. Drugstores sell an abundance of depilatory creams. However, before you apply them, know that this is simply a chemical form of shaving. Depilatories work by dissolving the hair down to the skin's surface. And because they are difficult to apply evenly, you'll probably end up with the same effect that you would as if you shaved. In fact, you might notice an obvious "five o'clock shadow" on parts of your person that you never intended. Also, these products are extremely temporary--chances are your hair will grow back just as quickly as it would had you shaved it.

Consider waxing or sugaring instead. Don't be shy about it. Salon cosmetologists and esthetitians are trained to cater to their clients' concerns, and your desire to remove excess hair from your back, chest, or shoulders is no different from that of a woman who schedules an appointment to take care of an unruly bikini line.

Waxing and sugaring work in similar ways, by applying a warm wax or sugar gel to the skin, covering the hair follicles. A strip of cloth is applied and quickly yanked off, removing hair from the root. If this procedure sounds like it hurts, you might be right, especially if you have an unskilled esthetitian on the other side of the cloth or if you're a waxing or sugaring "virgin."

But the final results are well worth it. Not only will your skin be smooth, but waxing and sugaring result in hair growth that is noticeably slower. You may experience a hairless existence for up to two months. After many treatments, hair grows back finer because repeated waxing and sugaring destroys many of the hair follicles entirely. The cost of waxing depends on what area of the body you want treated. The average cost of waxing the chest or back is likely to be around $50 per treatment.

Semi-Permament and Permament Hair Removal Methods

Laser hair removal is not an inexpensive method, averaging well into the hundreds of dollars per treatment session with multiple treatments required, as well as maintenance treatments once or twice yearly.

Laser hair removal works by heating the hair follicle and putting it into a "dormant" stage of growth. If you choose laser treatment, your mileage may vary when it comes to results. After three treatments, you'll notice anywhere from 30 to 70% reduction in hair growth. If you simply wish to thin out chest hair, this may be an optimal plan, but to remove back hair will most likely require additional methods of hair removal, such as waxing or electrolysis.

Electrolysis is one of the oldest methods of hair removal, and it is permanent. Using this method, a skilled practitioner slips a very fine needle through the skin and into each individual hair shaft. A small jolt of electricity is delivered to the root to "kill" it. But like laser therapy, some regrowth does occur, necessitating additional treatments. It is a timely and costly endeavor, and if you don't have a skilled professional operating the needle, electrolysis can result in scarring and infection. Like waxing, sugaring, and laser hair removal, electrolysis is also painful.

About the Author

Lisa Sefcik has been writing professionally since 1987. Her subject matter includes pet care, travel, consumer reviews, classical music and entertainment. She's worked as a policy analyst, news reporter and freelance writer/columnist for Cox Publications and numerous national print publications. Sefcik holds a paralegal certification as well as degrees in journalism and piano performance from the University of Texas at Austin.