Men may not be talking about personal "landscaping" in the locker room like women often do, but this doesn't mean that aren't thinking about it. Hair removal is on the rise among men, with one survey of college-aged males revealing that 80 percent remove at least some body hair.
Why the new trend? For one thing, men are becoming more aware of their appearance. And while there used to be a stigma behind male grooming, society has come to accept the fact that men have just as much right to care about their looks as women. Speaking of women, another reason for the male hair-removal trend is that ladies often prefer smooth skin to excess body fuzz.
If you're one of the millions of men who struggle with unwanted hair, you should know that razors are not your only option. The latest technology provides longer-lasting hair removal than any blade can offer, and makes easier than ever to enjoy a life without stubble.
Waxing is an effective choice for men who want to test out the hairless look, but don't want to make a commitment. During the process, a salon professional (don't do this at home if you're a rookie) will spread wax over the desired area and then pull it off quickly to remove hairs by the roots. After the treatment, you'll be smooth for weeks.
If you've ever seen the film "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," you already know that waxing can be painful. It's often even more uncomfortable for men than women, as males have thicker, coarser hair. Waxing also takes an all-or-nothing approach: there's really no way to thin the hair - you have to remove it completely.
Electrolysis represents the next step in technology after waxing. Although home electrolysis kits exist, this procedure is best left to a professional and can be performed at a med spa or dermatology office.
The electrolysis device sends electricity to individual hair follicles, heating them up to effectively "kill" the hair. The results are permanent, so you will never see the treated hair grow back again.
The only downside is that electrolysis can be a painful procedure. In order to make the procedure more comfortable, many patients take prescription painkillers or use a numbing cream before each treatment. Because hairs are removed one at a time, this is also a slow process. Depending on the size of the area, you may need 20 to 30 sessions, each lasting 15 minutes to one hour.
Although that may seem daunting, the ability to remove hairs individually translates to greater control than with waxing. It's possible to thin the area so that you can keep some of the hair on your chest, stomach or wherever else you choose to treat.
Laser Hair Removal
Lasers are the most cutting-edge method of hair removal at the moment. Not only are they far more comfortable than electrolysis (you should experience no pain at all), but laser wands cover a wider area and can zap multiple hairs with each pulse. For these reasons, lasers have grown far more popular than electrolysis.
Laser hair removal is also easily customizable, as each session thins hair rather than removing it all at once. It takes six to eight treatments to achieve smooth skin, and you are free to stop sooner if you want to retain some of the hair in a particular area. Lasers are best suited for people with light skin and dark hair, as the beam targets the darker color.
If you're a man who's been thinking about reducing body hair, your best bet is to speak with an aesthetician about a customized plan. With the right technique, you can remove unwanted hair for a well-groomed appearance that boosts your confidence, as well as your sex appeal. If you have any reservations about the "manliness" of hair removal, rest assured that most of your friends are either already grooming or are just as interested in it as you are.
Mia Liefso is a professional medical skin therapist and the owner of Bradford Skin Clinic & Med Spa in Bradford, Ontario. She has certifications in IPL, VPL, LHE, laser and ultrasound technologies, as well as body contouring and medical facial peels. Her professional interests include difficult skin conditionsâ€”psoriasis, eczema, and acneâ€”premature aging, skin care for the elderly, endocrinology, and helping people love the skin they're in. Her diverse personal interests include history, animals, roller derby, travelling and gourmet cooking.