Get Rid of Arm Hair

Woman who is removing arm hair
Q: I want to get rid of arm hair but I'm worried that it'll grow back darker and thicker which will be a problem in the future. Are there any products or methods (that aren't outrageously priced) that can prevent this?
A: First of all, the idea that cutting, shaving off, or otherwise removing areas of body hair will cause them to grow back thicker and darker is merely a myth – an old wives’ tale, if you will. It belongs in the same category as the idea that plucking a gray hair causes two to grow in its place. These things just aren’t true.
Now, the reason people often believe they are true is simply a matter of timing. For example, a young woman decides to shave her legs for the first time because the vellus hair of your childhood has been getting darker and thicker after she hit puberty. It is now just becoming noticeable and she is concerned that it will only get worse.
So she shaves, and when the hair grows back it is much darker and thicker. And worse still, there seems to be more hair there. This has nothing to do with the shaving, but rather that her leg hair was changing anyway from vellus to terminal hair and by shaving the legs the hair is growing in from the same point in its new state.
There is also the possibility (in this and other examples) that the hair which is present is worn down partially by clothing and friction from other body parts, in these cases, when you shave the area, the new growth will seem thicker and heavier because the newly growing hair will not have been worn down by the same stresses and circumstances.
At present, there aren’t any over-the-counter products that can prevent hair regrowth – these are called growth inhibitors. Or, I should say, there are products out there, but most of these don’t give credible results. The products promise to “slow or prevent new hair growth” or to “make the new growth finer and less noticeable”. The actual use doesn’t support the claims. There have been recent news reports of “prescription” formulas of growth inhibitors for prevention of facial hair in women, but this is something you will need to speak to a physician about before you can get access to these types of products.
You have a few options for removing the arm hair inexpensively: There is always shaving, or using a depillatory cream (such as Nair). Many women prefer using a product like Nair because the regrowth tends to come in feeling “softer” because the ends are finer from the exposure to the depilatory. You can also use waxing as a removal method, which offers long lasting results, as well as softer-feeling regrowth.
I will mention the techniques of electrolysis and laser hair removal in passing, since they are the only “permanent” hair removal techniques. They usually require several sessions of repeated treatments and can be cost prohibitive in many cases. Since you specified that you wanted solutions that weren’t outrageously priced, you may not be interested in these two techniques.
Photo: Style-photo/Shutterstock
See also:
What should I keep in mind when buying an epilator?
Do you have any tips on how to shave my armpits and get a close shave?