Humans are one of the most hairless creatures on planet Earth. However, most of the hair that we do have is also undesirable to us. With rapid modernization and evolution of everything under the sun, society’s perception of body hair has also undergone lots of changes. Beautiful women need to be hairless below the neck, and men should have intricately patterned beards for their macho-ism to show. Where chest hair was a man’s pride before, now men shave their body hair for their gym gains to be visible. Similarly, if a woman chooses to flaunt her hairy legs, she is considered uncouth, clumsy, and well, ugly.
Now, I could go on and on about body hair and body image and natural beauty and feminism. But in this article, I want to talk about the one thing the world today cannot survive without- hair removal. With increased consciousness about body hair, humans have come up with many creative ways to combat the problem. Shaving, plucking, waxing, laser treatment, electrolysis– these are just some of the best known. And each category of hair removal has ten subcategories based on skin type, skin color, and what not.
But there are certain myths that accompany these hair removal methods that scare the living daylights out of people. And these myths sometimes become so overwhelming that one doesn’t know what to believe and what not to.
Now, if you are one of those overwhelmed people who wear full-sleeved clothes even during summers because of these myths, thank me. Because in this article, I will bust some of the most popular myths associated with hair-removal, so that you too can go hair-free and carefree-
Myth 1: Shaving causes hair to grow denser and coarser
When you shave, you only remove the part of the hair that is above your skin, not the part below. By doing this, you aren’t affecting the hair follicle below the epidermis in any way. Then you think about it, how can you affect the density of hair growth?
The initial coarseness of shaved hair also has a simple explanation. A hair has naturally tapered ends. When you trim it perpendicular to the length of the hair, the cross-section of its end increases. Hence the hair looks thicker and feels coarser (at the end) when it’s actually not. If you let the hair grow for a while, it becomes tapered again and starts looking like how it looked when you first shaved it.
Myth 2: Waxing causes ingrowths
Waxing only increases the risk of getting ingrowths, it doesn’t actually cause ingrowths. And honestly, all kinds of hair removal methods increase the chances of getting ingrowths. When you remove hair right from the surface of the skin (or below) and don’t allow the hair to grow out above the skin, you get an ingrowth. The hair didn’t get any space to grow outside the epidermis, so it grew inside the skin. To prevent ingrowths, avoid tight-fitting clothing for a few days after shaving or waxing. This way the hair will have plenty of space ABOVE the epidermis to grow freely.
Myth 3: Waxing causes the skin to become loose and rough
Nope. On the contrary, waxing can help your skin look younger. When you wax, the upper layer of dead cells come off too. This exfoliates the skin, making it look brighter. In some cases, waxing also helps you get rid of tan on your skin because of this exfoliation. Also, the pulling action of the skin has minimal effect on its elasticity. So you don’t need to worry about your skin becoming saggy because of waxing.
Myth 4: Plucking causes more hair to grow on the site
The two phenomena have nothing to do with each other. Plucking does cause more hair to grow on the site, but it is not the actual reason why it happens. Sometimes when you pluck a hair, the follicle experiences a shock. This shock may change the direction of the hair follicle. If you have dense hair growth and there is a follicle very close to the shocked one, the two follicles may merge. Now when both follicles have a hair come out of it, it seems as if more hair grew back on the same site. Plucking is not at fault, a follicular shock is. If you are so concerned, don’t pluck the hair too abruptly.
Myth 5: Laser treatments expose you to radiation
If that was the case, celebrities would all die of cancer. Also, laser treatments may not be a thing then, because FDA would’ve banned it. Laser treatments use FDA-approved technology that does not emit harmful radiations which will harm your skin. Don’t believe the myth. Look at all those celebrities with flawless and fuzz-free skin who have gotten laser treatments, and go fix an appointment right away!
Myth 6: You should always shave against the hair growth
Shaving against hair growth gives you a closer shave, that’s it. In fact, shaving against hair growth puts you at greater risk of incurring ingrowths. You can shave in just about any direction you want. To give yourself a smooth shave, exfoliate the skin and use good shaving cream. This is especially good for you when your hair grows in all directions, like on your underarms. Shaving in all directions will actually ensure that you get a smooth shave, so don’t believe the above myth.
Myth 7: Shaving causes the skin to darken
When women shave their underarms or bikini line, they often complain of getting darker skin. It isn’t your skin, girls, it is the hair follicles underneath. Look at men’s faces after they shave. Does their skin darken? No. But the next day, if you look closely, you will see little black spots on their skin, which you assume to be hair. It’s the hair follicles. Underarms and bikini lines have dense hair growth. So when you shave those areas, you see the hair follicles located very close to each other. This gives the illusion of darker skin. Don’t be too conscious about it. If it really bothers you, get waxed. Waxing pulls the hair right out of its follicle, so you don’t see any follicles beneath the thin epidermis.
Myth 8: Laser treatment is only for people with fair skin
This is quite a popular myth because melanin absorbs more radiation. That is why earlier it was believed that laser treatments are only effective for people with fair skin and dark hair. But owing to the tremendous technological advancements, this isn’t true anymore. Laser treatments are available for all kinds of hair growth, hair color, and skin color existing. And women with dark skin MAY require more sessions than someone with lighter skin, but they can enjoy the same benefits and end results nevertheless.
So now that these abominable myths have been busted, grab your razor, or book an appointment with your favorite salon, and go hair-free!