In a world where “silky smooth skin” is considered beautiful, having to deal with a lot of hair can be difficult. And, if you’ve got back hair, you might be hesitant to wear anything that reveals it.
For the most part, hair on the back is normal. However, if you’ve been experiencing sudden, unnatural hair growth, do see a professional at the earliest to get any hormonal causes out of the way. That said, if you’d like to get rid of back hair, here are a few things you could try.
Waxing is believed to remove hair from the roots, which is why it’s recommended as a long-lasting method of hair removal. Although painful to begin with, experts believe that the more one waxes, the less painful it gets.1
Estheticians generally use soft wax on the back. This type of wax has a lower melting point and comes in tins and plastic containers.
Once melted slightly, soft wax is poured into a wax heater or a warming pot. A thin coat of wax is applied to the skin and removed immediately with a muslin or cotton strip before it cools.
The warmth of the wax is believed to dilate the hair follicle and make hair removal easier. Additionally, the quick application of soft wax, also called speed waxing, is believed to be more comfortable and less painful.2
However, apart from being painful and expensive, waxing could cause ingrown hair and skin irritation. Hence, if you have sensitive skin, make sure to do a patch test before you try waxing.
How long it lasts for: 3–6 weeks.
In this method of hair removal, a razor is used to slice each individual hair down to the level of the skin. It’s important to note that in this technique, hair grows back very quickly, especially as compared to waxing.
However, shaving is a cost-effective method since razors are cheap and reusable. It’s also a good last-minute hair removal technique before an important event or when you’re traveling.
In addition to the above, you could shave your back it in the comfort of your home, whenever you’d like to. Having said that, you’d still need someone to help you, since it’s risky to try and shave your back yourself.
Experts recommend exfoliating before shaving and moisturizing afterward. However, despite these precautions, you could still have ingrown hair along with razor burns, bumps, nicks, and cuts.3
How long it lasts for: 1–3 days.
In this technique, mechanical epilators are used to pull out the entire hair follicle. In order to ensure that the epilator works, the hair must be at least a quarter inch long. However, in spite of this, the epilator might miss some hair.
Like waxing, epilating is painful. Additionally, mechanical epilators cost anywhere from 50–100 dollars. That said, like shaving, epilating is a convenient option and might be useful while traveling.4
How long it lasts for: Up to 2 weeks.
4. Using Hair Removal Creams
Often referred to as depilatories, hair removal creams contain chemicals that dissolve the protein structure of hair and cause it to separate from the skin. Like shaving, this method is cheap with over-the-counter depilatories costing anywhere between 5–10 dollars.
However, these creams can increase acne, cause skin irritation, and lead to chemical burns if the formula is too strong or the cream is left on for too long. Hence, if you have sensitive skin, it might be best to avoid this technique.5
How long it lasts for: Several days–2 weeks.
5. Getting Laser Treatment
In this technique, laser beams destroy hair follicles and impair hair regrowth, one small patch of hair at a time. It works best on people with light skin and dark hair but might not be as effective on deeply-embedded hair follicles.
Since the procedure works by targeting the hair’s roots, it’s recommended that people avoid plucking or waxing, six weeks prior to the procedure. This leaves the root intact for removal later on.
Each session could cost up to anything between 200–300 dollars. And, considering the fact that this treatment requires several sessions for lasting results, laser treatment is the most expensive hair removal option of all of the ones listed above. Additionally, you might experience redness or pigmentation changes after the treatment.
Having stated that, the treatments are long lasting and while some hair might grow back, it will typically be more sparse than it was before treatment. In addition to this, you will be saving time and money on regular waxing appointments and shaving rituals. Most dermatologists also recommend laser treatments to people who suffer from ingrown hair.6
How long it lasts for: Up to 6 months.
6. Using Herbal Scrubs
This technique is the least effective of all of the above options, but might be worth a try. Ubtan, a herbal mixture, is used in some South Asian communities as a hair removal technique. Here’s how you can make your own.
- 2 tablespoons of gram flour
- A pinch of sandalwood powder
- A pinch of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of milk
- 1 teaspoon of mustard oil
- A dash of rose water.
1. Mix all of the ingredients together to make a paste.
2. Apply this paste to your skin and leave it on for 15 minutes.
3. Once the paste is dry, massage your skin in the opposite direction of hair growth until all the paste comes off.
4. Wash it off with cold water.
This technique might not last long but is believed to be good for your skin. If you have sensitive skin, make sure to do a patch test and consult your dermatologist before trying out this method.7
How long it lasts for: 1–3 days (if it works)
Besides the above, you could talk to your dermatologist regarding any medications that might slow down the growth of hair on your back.8 Ensure that the equipment for each of the techniques mentioned above is clean and sanitized.
|↑1, ↑3||Waxing vs Shaving. Penn State University.|
|↑2||The Benefits to Hard and Soft Wax. Cinta Aveda Institute.|
|↑4, ↑5||Modification of Pubic Hair. University of California, Santa Barbara.|
|↑6||4 Benefits of Laser Hair Removal. Universal Spa Training Academy.|
|↑7||A prospective exploration of people’s experiences of and responses to symptoms in New Zealand and Pakistan. Penn State University.|
|↑8||Hair Removal. Brenner Children’s Hospital.|