Chemicals depilatories

A chemical depilatory is a solution of calcium thioglycolate or barium sulfide that ensures painless hair removal.

There are several familiar brands of hair removal creams. Though some people are allergic to depilatories, these are widely used for hair removal from the underarms, the pubic area, the legs and the hands.

A depilatory works by reacting with the protein structure of the hair, causing it to dissolve. The area is then washed and the growth scraped away. The effect of a depilatory can last for up to two weeks.

Chemicals used in depilatories

Calcium thioglycolate is a commonly used active ingredient in a depilatory. It breaks down the disulfide bonds in keratin and weakens the hair, allowing it to be easily scraped off from where it emerges in the hair follicle. Gels, lotions and aerosols are some of the forms in which chemical depilatories or hair removal creams are sold in the market.

How to use chemical depilatories

The safe way of using hair removal creams is to begin with conducting a small test for skin allergy or sensitivity to chemicals. Only then should the cream be applied in larger quantities.

Make sure, then, that you follow the instructions given on the cover of the product. If you test safe the cream should be applied to the hirsute area and allowed to act on the hair for five to 15 minutes. How long it takes will depend on the coarseness or fineness of the hair being removed. The solution is then wiped off the body with a towel or cotton. The area applied upon should be rinsed to remove the chemical traces.


Chemical depilatories are inexpensive, unlike laser hair removal, and available in all drug stores. The preparations that come in several brands can be applied at home, and ensure painless hair removal. There are brands in the market that cause even the coarsest hair to dissolve in a matter of minutes. One must, however, remember to pick the brand carefully because not all hair removal creams are suitable for doing facials. Another major advantage is that they can work on hair of any length and the hair removal is entirely painless. What’s more, a chemical depilatory can be used on large parts of the body, and the hair takes far longer to grow than it does after shaving,


The effect of hair removal creams lasts only for a short period, unlike that of electrolysis or laser hair removal. The hair can start growing after just two to three days of application.

The second disadvantage is that dark-skinned users can be left with a visible “shadow” under the skin.

The third, and by far their biggest, drawback is that depilatories can cause allergies or skin irritation in some users. It is for this reason that they are not used on broken skin or too frequently. They are also smelly and leave a mess behind that one needs to clean up.


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