Hair Removal Practices: A Literature Review

Cindy Na-Young Kang, BMSc; Monica Shah, MD; Charles Lynde, MD, FRCPC; Patrick Fleming, MD, MSc, FRCPC


Skin Therapy Letter. 2021;26(5):6-11. 

In This Article


This article is a general overview of hair removal practices, which have evolved from utilizing waxes and blades, to advanced lasers and electrolysis, with further advancements still being studied.[1] Residual, unwanted hair is a common problem for many individuals and traditional methods of hair removal (e.g., shaving and waxing) have provided temporary solutions and unsatisfactory results. IPL and laser therapy are promising methods of hair removal that provide safe and longer-term effective treatment but are not permanent.[11] Electrolysis is the only permanent hair removal method but can be tedious and associated with several adverse events. A relatively recent FDA and Health Canada approved treatment, eflornithine hydrochloride 13.9% cream, can be used in combination with another hair removal technique to slow the rate of facial hair growth. Importantly, studies examining hair removal efficacy are limited to individuals with darker hair and fairer skin, whereby precautionary measures such as cooling devices are recommended for safe treatment. Further research is required to develop safe and effective treatments for those with lighter-colored hair.[11]