Depilatories are creams that use chemicals to dissolve the proteins in hair [source: Bouchez]. Other creams are now available to slow new hair growth. Remember to test hair-removal creams on a small area of the skin first, as they can sometimes irritate sensitive skin or cause allergic reactions [sources: AAFP, WebMD].
Types of Electrolysis
If you choose electrolysis, you may find technicians who offer two or three different types of electrolysis. The methods differ depending on the types of conductors (the materials used to transfer heat energy) they employ.
Galvanic electrolysis uses chemicals as conductors. In this method, the needle transmits a direct electrical current which acts upon the natural saline in your hair follicle and reacts to produce sodium hydroxide (lye). When sodium hydroxide heats up, it destroys the hair follicle.
Thermolysis uses water as a conductor. Here, the needle transmits an alternating current to vibrate the hair follicle. The vibration shakes the water molecules surrounding the follicle, which then heats up and destroys the follicle itself.
Some technicians may offer a "blend method" that combines the two procedures [source: Barba]. It's more likely, however, that you'll need to choose a method based on the availability of a technician who offers it.
A final type of electrolysis is available as an at-home kit that you can use on yourself. At-home electrolysis usually comes in the form of the electric tweezer. This method is widely considered unsafe, and only some states will authorize producers to call their product a form of permanent hair removal [source: WebMD]. The problem is that the electric tweezer vibrates the hair, not the hair follicle. Hair can't destroy hair follicles, so the tweezer won't do the trick [source: Barba]. If you're looking for something safe, see a trained technician. Electrolysis performed by a professional provides other benefits besides safety.
Find out why this may be the best method for hair removal -- and why you may not want to rip your hair out by the roots -- on the next page.