Dangerous Hair Removal Practices

Body hair is rooted in two divided camps: those who have embraced their natural growth and others who try every means possible to remove those pesky tendrils. Bella Thorne posted a photo on Snapchat where she was shown licking her underarm hair. The message was a clear blast to anyone who tried to shame her for daring to grow out what we normally remove.

Love the furry look or hate it, we all have body hair. Whether we choose to embrace it, grow it out or remove it with every tool at our disposal, hairiness is our natural mammalian feature. For those that want to get rid of it, though, the means to remove the unwanted body hair can be downright painful…and dangerous. Plucking, waxing, laser removal, and tweezing all can harm our sensitive skin.

While, yes, we might want smooth, baby-soft skin, torturing those hair follicles is no way to achieve a silky smooth complexion. If you’re spending your summer nights with hot wax, a pair of tweezers, or hair-removal cream, you could be doing more harm than good in your plight for hairlessness.

Dangerous Hair Removal Practices

Laser Hair Removal

The permanence of laser hair removal is its ultimate appeal, but what many don’t know is that those laser removal procedures can go horribly, horribly wrong.

The issues of laser hair removal don’t just deal with your skin, but your body as a whole. According to an article in Elle, a recent study by Gary S. Chuang, a dermatological surgeon, found that laser hair removal emits numerous harmful chemicals into the air. While the article in Elle pointed out that doctors are most at risk, the idea of anyone breathing in chemicals from the destruction of hair (and possible bacteria) is more than a little unsettling.

An article by Roni Caryn Rabin in The New York Times noted even more risk factors. When wielded by the wrong practitioner, a laser hair removal procedure can cause severe burns, injuries…and, in rare cases, death.

In her article, Rabin interviewed Dr. Tina Alster, who is the founding director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and also a clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“There’s a perception by the public that anybody can do this,” Dr. Alster told the New York Times. “People need to remember, it’s not the laser doing the work, it’s the operator.”

While all cosmetic laser procedures carry a risk, patients should find a doctor with experience in dermatologic laser surgery. Be diligent and research practitioners. Don’t trust your face and body to just anyone.

Dangerous Hair Removal Practices

Hair Removal Creams

While not as dangerous as a laser, hair removal creams (or depilatories) carry their own potential hazards. Yes, those creams are cheap and convenient, but, hair removal creams aren’t always effective at removing hair and they can damage or irritate your skin.

The Food and Drug Administration recommends testing a small area to see how skin reacts to the product. Be advised, though, the FDA reports that its “Office of Cosmetics and Colors has received reports of burns, blisters, stinging, itchy rashes, and skin peeling associated with depilatories and other types of cosmetic hair removers.”

Dangerous Hair Removal Practices


In the 90’s, barely-there brows were all the rage. Armed with a sharp pair of tweezers, hairs were plucked one by one to create the perfect skinny brow. The caveat was that those hairs didn’t always grow back. And decades later, the tweezing trend has left bald spots in brows.

Tweezing removes the hair by the root. While tweezing is an effective form of hair removal, be very cautious when wielding tweezers. Not only does overzealous plucking leave permanent bald patches in brows (or other areas), but the procedure also may cause ingrown hairs and leave an area with bumpy, painful pimple-like blisters.

Use tweezers only for the occasional one-off hair removal…like the annoying long hair that sprouts in a random area. Invest in a good pair of tweezers when removing the hair, and be sure to disinfect skin and tweezers with witch hazel or rubbing alcohol before and after tweezing. Also, don’t forget to use something to soothe the area when you’re done.

Dangerous Hair Removal Practices


Waxing hurts. The procedure is enough to induce tears, and yet it remains an extremely popular way to remove those pesky hairs in the bikini area, brows, and upper lip.  However, it’s the bikini area that requires the most caution.

When entrusting anyone to smear hot wax on your most sensitive region, it’s important to be diligent in finding the right spa and the right professional. According to an article by Emma Kaywin over at Bustle, there are many risk factors to ridding the bikini line of hair with hot wax, and not all of these risks have to do with the procedure.

Hair protects the skin…it’s like a furry shield. And in the bikini area, hair works to keep away bacteria. Removing the hair also can cause irritation, which increases the risk factor for sexually transmitted diseases. Open wounds (however minute they may be) are open windows for viruses and bacteria to enter the body.

Kaywin’s article also explains that the waxing procedure isn’t without risk. Hot wax can lead to burns and even scarring, and ripping out those hairs may cause painful (and gross!) ingrown hairs.

Dangerous Hair Removal Practices


Most men and women still opt for the most tried and true form of hair removal: shaving. However, of all the hair removal options available, shaving is the least effective at keeping hair away. While tweezing and waxing removes hair by the root—and lasers remove it permanently—shaving just cuts off the hair at the base. Shaved hair will grow back pretty quickly, so within a day, those stubbles are back and need another pass with the razor.

While shaving is only a short term solution, at least it’s fairly safe. However, as with other hair removal techniques, there is still a risk for injury. With shaving, cuts are the most common injury…and sometimes those lacerations can be serious. To avoid cuts and irritation, make sure the blade is fresh, as dull blades cause more nicks. Use razors with more blades for a closer shave, and don’t try to save money by buying a cheap razor at the dollar store.

A close shave requires a lubricant. Coconut oil has become a favorite among beauty enthusiasts, but soap and shaving cream also works. Never dry shave, and be sure to shave with the hair…never against it. Always moisturize the skin after shaving to prevent irritation.

Every hair removal procedure has some degree of risk. Whether you wax, tweeze, opt for the permanence of lasers or DIY with creams, proceed with care. Always turn to a licensed professional when a laser is involved…or hot wax. Invest in your skin, and remove hair safely and under the care of a professional. Or channel Bella Thorne and go au natural.

Written by Dr. Steven Rosen
Many great inventions and discoveries in the world were unintentional or just plain accidents. The story you are about to read concerning a breakthrough in the cosmetics field relates another great accidental discovery. In 1985, in an office in South Florida, Dr. Steven Rosen, a dentist at that time was working on a patient. The patient was a private investigator. Medication was given to the patient to alleviate the pain associated with his treatment. Two days later, the patient noticed a dramatic improvement not only in the pain level, but in his skin as well. His face, which was full of razor bumps, had cleared up! The man couldn't wait to tell the dentist what had happened. He called the dentist on the phone. He asked the dentist what he was doing to him. The dentist was worried and asked what he was talking about. He told the dentist that something the dentist was doing was clearing up his razor bumps. He told the dentist that since he started shaving 15 years earlier, he had tried everything available for razor bumps and nothing had worked until now. The investigator began to tell the dentist how important this discovery was. He mentioned that the dozens of products already on the market did not come close to producing the dramatic results he had achieved. He also said that this was a big problem in the military where a clean shave was required or you would have to get a shaving clearance from the dermatologist. Lawsuits had been filed in industry by workers who were fired because they were unable to get a clean shave for example where gas mask use was required Police must have clean shaves and so on. The dentist realized the importance of this discovery and determined which ingredient in the medication was improving the skin. Realizing that the ingredient could not be taken internally for long periods of time, the two men experimented with the formula in an attempt to apply it directly to the skin. It worked. It then took nine long years work to create a workable product and learn how to reach the market. . The dentist had a great discovery. Other uses for the formula arose in the same "chance" way that the formula was discovered. Women who bought the product for their husbands or boyfriends started trying it on ingrown hair problem they had from shaving, waxing, and having electrolysis on their legs, bikini lines, and underarms. Not only did they report to the dentist that the ingrown hair problems had cleared, but that the formula worked as an excellent underarm deodorant. And the rest is history……… Thank you for letting us tell our story. We hope you enjoyed it.