Hair removal methods are the burning question of the day. But how to get smooth fuzz free skin safely and inexpensively does not need to be an unanswered question.
There is no argument that ingrown hairs as illustrated above, suck and also no argument that shaving with a razor blade is one of the principal causes, along with using epilators and waxing.
Apart from waxing the other major causes of ingrown hairs is wet shaving with a razor blade or safety razor and using an epilator to rip out the hairs from their little follicles.
Waxing and using an epilator work by pulling out hairs theoretically at the root. However method of yanking hairs from their follicles, often break off hairs just under skin level - the epidermis - leaving the jagged broken tip of the hair shaft to catch on the underside of the skin. The hair shaft will
continue to grow but as the broken snapped off tip catches on the underside of the skin, As It has no place to go hair will grow sideways and sometimes downwards, causing infected red bumps, and the hallmark skin discoloration.
In contrast electric personal shavers have the edge on smooth shaving compared to safety or straight edge razors, as their blades do not touch the skin. As a result there are no problems like shaver rash, red bumps, nicks or cuts and crucially no ingrown hairs, unlike wet shaving with a safety razor.
"Shaving causes hair to grow back thicker or faster" - This is utter nonsense !
The really bad beauty writer will mention in their articles that shaving causes hair to grow back thicker and faster. Sadly a great many people believe this utterly false myth. To tell others, let alone believe this yourself, is doing a great disservice to everyone. Any doctor knows you cannot affect hair growth by shaving but the myth still persists. Here is perhaps proof positive from a doctor at the renowned Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/expert-answers/hair-removal/faq-20058427.
Responsible beauty writers and editors should make it plain that hair CANNOT grow back thicker and faster as a result of shaving. Hair growth is determined by genetics and the hormone testosterone, which, although a male hormone, females possess this too. If hair really did change its essential biology and grew thicker simply by being shaved, the world's first and only natural cure for baldness and thinning hair, would have been discovered. Bald eagles of both sexes would be able to re grow a full lush head of hair simply by shaving.
The real reason behind this shaving myth, often propagated by people selling other forms of more expensive and painful hair removal, is as follows.
For longer lasting smooth skin you should always use an electric personal shaver - never a man's face shaver. Shave or trim with dry skin, as shaving or trimming, when the skin is wet, always produces a rough finish. This is because your skin absorbs water though the biological process osmosis. The skin cells swell and become "turgid" with water. This causes the skin cells to ride up the shaft of the hair concealing some of the hair shaft at the base at skin level. At this time the razor blade, shaver or trimmer can only cut the part of the hair shaft that is exposed and above skin level. When the water evaporates, the skin cells will deflate and contract, and the uncut base of the hair shaft will become exposed again. This re emergence of the hair shaft is what causes the roughness and explains why some think hair has grown back quickly after shaving, even though it is biologically impossible.
Bad experiences with razor blades is what has driven the evolution of laser hair removal and its watered down cousin, Intense Pulsed Laser - IPL. But consider this, the average laser tech at your local salon only requires between 7 and 21 days to be "certified" (that is rubber stamped approval) to operate and calibrate a surgical machine that can severely burn and scar your skin. Despite the hype and hoopla laser hair removal is not permanent and the FDA does not permit this procedure to be called permanent. However serious skin burns, skin dryness and light sensitivity are increasingly more common these days and ARE unfortunately very permanent.
The laser tech at your local salon, to which you entrust your delicate skin, may in fact be just weeks out of an Internet based school of laser hair removal, before being licensed to operate on you, with or without adequate medical supervision.
Without doubt, some fully trained Doctors of dermatology can perform safe and effective laser hair removal. So if you decide on this method make sure the laser operator is actually a dermatologist trained to use a laser. It is not enough to go to a salon claiming the laser is used under medical supervision of a doctor. In reality the doctor may actually be on vacation in Hawaii and unable to supervise anything more than a Pina Colada or a round of golf, let alone the safety of a surgical procedure in a salon miles away. The doctor-in-charge at a salon may actually be a dentist or even a podiatrist, and while these are indeed medical doctors in their field, their training and experience may have nothing whatsoever to do with dermatology as applied to laser hair removal.
So in the immortal words of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, before going to the laser salon, ask yourself "Do I feel lucky today?" then roll the dice.
The tried and tested method of safe hair removal is using an electric personal shaver. Beauty writers and editors need to differentiate between an electric personal shaver with blades that do not touch the skin, and the safety razor or straight edge razor which both scrape away the protective outer of skin - the epidermis. These razors remove unwanted hairs as well as this layer of skin and also its precious natural skin oils, that later on you pay big money to replace with costly artificial oils, moisturizers and bump fighters to combat dry irritated and reddened skin.
There are many good personal electric shavers to choose from, which are quite different from the male face and beard shaver. They will not cause shaver rash red bumps or ingrown hairs (pseudofolliclitis barbae) or damage the skin which may cause the infection called molluscum contagiosum.
Doing an Internet search use "personal shaver" or "best body shaver" as a search term or something similar, to see various offers. Check also that the foil holes are graduated in size to accommodate the different hair types and textures. Don't buy one where all the foil holes are the same size. You should not need to pay more than $50.00.