Hair Removal for Gray and White Hair

February 1, 2011 in Hair Removal 101

Unwanted hair in lighter colors, such as gray and white, may not be as visible as darker ones, but can still cause plenty of frustration. Lighter hair that is not wanted can appear just about anywhere: for women, it can be the legs, chin or upper lip, and for men, usually the chest, arms or shoulders. However, while lighter and darker hair can be equally embarrassing they do not have the same options when it comes to hair removal. Darker shades do have an advantage, but there are other efficient ways to remove both gray and white hair.

There are only three methods of hair removal that offer long term reduction of hair: IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), laser hair removal and electrolysis. IPL and laser hair removal will most likely not work on gray and white hair and the reason why is because the hair is not dark enough, or does not contain enough pigment. The color of the hair is an essential part of light and laser based treatments. The IPL or laser device will distinguish the darker hair from the skin, and when the hair is dark it will absorb the light or laser better. These devices produce heat when they are in use and the ability to absorb the heat will make the hair burn down, which is the essentially the whole point.

While gray and white hair probably cannot be removed with IPL and laser hair removal treatments, there are other options to consider. One method to consider is electrolysis, and is the only hair removal method recognized as permanent. Electrolysis uses a handheld device that sends electricity down the hair follicle. The electricity burns the hair follicle at the root and makes it hard for it to grow back, but many sessions can still be needed to treat all hairs. This also means that electrolysis is time consuming and expensive and is therefore usually only recommended for the face.

If the unwanted white or gray hair is located on the face, it can also be waxed, plucked with a tweezer, removed by a hair removal cream or by threading. Shaving is one of few hair removal methods that are not recommended for a woman’s face. When it comes to removing white and gray hair on the rest of the body, pretty much all hair removal methods can be used, but plucking and tweezing hair on larger body areas is considered time consuming. Shaving of body hair is cheap, easy and straightforward but can easily irritate the skin if done too frequently or if not being careful. Waxing will most likely hurt but the outcome is delightful, as the skin will stay smooth for several weeks afterwards. Depilatories, or hair removal creams, sprays and lotions, can also be used, as the hair is broken down and the skin should stay smooth for weeks afterwards.

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