Many products on the market have proven fraudulent. Many other products exaggerate the results or ease of use.


"Depilation", or removal of hair to the level of the skin, lasts several hours to several days and can be achieved by

    * Shaving or trimming (manually or with electric shavers)
    * Depilatories (creams or "shaving powders" which chemically dissolve hair)
    * Friction (rough surfaces used to buff away hair)

"Epilation", or removal of the entire hair from the root, lasts several days to several weeks and may be achieved by

    * Plucking (hairs are plucked, or pulled out, with tweezers or with fingers)
    * Waxing (a hot or cold layer is applied and then removed with porous strips)
    * Sugaring (similar to waxing, but with a sticky paste)
    * Threading (also called fatlah or khite, in which a twisted thread catches hairs as it is rolled across the skin)
    * Burning off with hot wax can damage the cells and prevent hair from ever growing in the unwanted spot again.
    * Use of Turmeric along with other ingredients like besan powder and milk
    * Epilators (mechanical devices that rapidly grasp hairs and pull them out)
    * Prescription oral medications
    * Enzymes (fx. the Epiladerm-Complex) that inhibit the development of new hair cells. Hair growth will become less and less until it finally stops; normal depilation/epilation will be performed until that time. Hair growth will return to normal if use of product discontinued. Products include the prescription drug Vaniqa (active ingredient eflornithine hydrochloride inhibiting the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase).


Permanent hair removal involves several imperfect options. A number of methods have been developed that use chemicals, energy of varying types, or a combination to target the areas that regulate hair growth. Permanently destroying these areas while sparing surrounding tissue is a difficult challenge. Methods include:

    * Electoepilation
          o Electrolysis or electrology
          o Thermolysis
          o Blend (combination of electrolysis and thermolysis)
    * Photoepilation
          o Laser hair removal (lasers and laser diodes)
          o Intense pulsed light (high-energy lamps)
          o Diode epilation (high energy LEDs but not laser diodes)

 Experimental or banned methods

    * Photodynamic therapy for hair removal (experimental)
    * X-ray hair removal was an efficient, and usually permanent, hair removal method, but also caused severe health problems, occasional disfigurement, and even death. (illegal in the United States)

 Doubtful methods

Many methods have been proposed or sold over the years without published clinical proof they can work as claimed.

    * Electric tweezers
    * Transdermal electrolysis
    * Transcutaneous hair removal
    * Photoepilators
    * Microwaves
    * Foods and Dietary supplements
    * Non prescription topical preparations (also called "hair inhibitors," "hair retardants," or "hair grow thinhibitors")
    * Finally free - despite marketing claims, does not appear to work