Hairy teenagers

Excess hair can feel uncomfortable to deal with at any age, but especially for teenagers who are very concerned about how they look compared to their friends. Self-conscious of their unwanted hair, many teenage girls want to find ways of removing it. If your daughter talks to you about this delicate subject, it’s always good to be armed with as much information as possible.

Hitting puberty can be an emotional and physical rollercoaster. There is an overwhelming amount of information on ways to remove unwanted hair, along with products to help you get the most out of your hair removal routine. 

With the ever-increasing access to the internet and social media in particular, it’s very easy for teenagers to pick up misinformation and bad advice about ways to remove excess hair. I think most parents would rather their teenagers get advice from a professional esthetician than from their friends or places like youtube.

From a recent experience with two sister teenage clients (12 and 15 years), teenagers value unbiased advice from someone experienced and understand what they’re going through. Most often, they prefer talking to someone other than a parent. As an esthetician, I only recommend products that I have thoroughly researched and know are suitable for teenage skin. So here are some important points to consider to help your teenage daughter decide on the method for unwanted hair removal.

What is the difference between teenage and adult skin?

The skin of a teenager is thinner than that of an adult, resulting in a greater risk of reaction to hair removal products. In fact, babies skin is 20% – 30% thinner than adults and whilst the skin thickens with age, it is still important to take this into account when choosing which products to use.

Additionally, teenage skin burns easily when exposed to heat. It is, therefore, better to let a professional beautician/esthetician do the waxing on your daughter than using an at-home wax kit, where there is less control over the temperature of the wax. Professional beauty therapists are usually super quick at waxing so the pain from waxing is over in a flash.

Going to a professional who understands the different needs of teenage skin can make a huge difference. They will be able to prevent scarring, burning and long-term damage to the skin as well as using the correct products both before and after hair removal service.  There are several methods of excess hair removal but depilatory creams and waxing are the two major ones.

Depilatory creams

Depilatory creams work by dissolving the keratin in hair strands with strong chemical ingredients, allowing the hair to ‘slide out’ of the hair follicle and be washed/wiped away.  Since there is also keratin in the skin, you also break down the epidermis (the top layer of skin) whenever you use hair removal creams. This is why I consider hair removal using creams the worst.

To illustrate the problem, let me tell you about a client I saw very early on in my career.  The client (a lady) needed Brazillian waxing, i.e removal of all hair in the pubic zone. I saw that her skin along the panty line (bikini area) was thickened and scarred. I asked her if it was a medical condition that I needed to be aware of.  

She said no, but that she had been using hair removal creams on her bikini area every  2 weeks for the last 5 years or so. She had essentially burned off the whole of the top layer of skin in that area. Hence, using creams is especially dangerous for teenagers because a teenager’s skin is thinner as earlier indicated.  

Waxing

tools for waxing

Waxing works by removing hair at the root. The more you wax,  the weaker, softer, and thinner the hair gets.  After waxing, the hair grows back after 3-4 weeks. With consistency, the re-growth periods lengthens to 5-6 weeks or even upto 8 weeks. 

For some people, the hair follicles eventually die, resulting in the hair not growing back at all, this may take a number of years though.  Either way, the hairs should grow back finer and more patchy (especially if you consistently wax monthly).

In my practice, I use sugar paste which is less painful than organic wax and safe even on the most sensitive parts of the skin. Waxing slows hair growth, it is safe, affordable, and effective making it the best long-term solution for unwanted hair. 

Other methods of hair removal

Other methods of hair removal include shaving and laser hair removal. Shaving often needs to be every 3-4 days. Since it doesn’t pull the hair out at the root, it has no long-term difference to hair growth. One is prone to cuts during shaving and in-grown hairs.

Laser hair removal works by heating the hair follicles from laser light. It is the most expensive method of hair removal resulting in a longer duration of hair loss after 8-12 consistent treatments. The heating is painful especially on thinner hair and when done improperly, the heat from the lasers can cause disfiguring burns. Most experts recommend waiting until the teen is through puberty before trying laser hair removal, because it’s more safer and effective then.

Tweezing and threading are cheap alternatives for removal of unwanted facial hair.

Is there a right age to start considering waxing for your daughter?

A lot will depend on how far into puberty the teenager is, how thick and dark the hair is, and whether it is affecting them emotionally. It also depends on whether your teenager is mature enough to follow the appropriate aftercare advice. This is particularly important in areas where the skin is more sensitive and hair is more visible such as underarms and on the face.

I have mums with daughters enquiring about waxing for their daughters as young as 10 or 11. While I do not believe there is a hard and fast rule on the right age to begin removing unwanted hair, I do think that waxing is preferable to other hair removal methods. 

On deciding at what age to start removing unwanted hair, a lot will depend on how far into puberty the teenager is, how thick and dark the hair is, and whether it is affecting them emotionally.

Even for teenagers, waxing is a safe and effective way of removing unwanted hair with long-lasting results. If you would like to try waxing, please schedule your waxing appointment now and I will come to your home and do what I do best.

At what age did you start waxing? How is your waxing regimen? Let me know in my email.

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