- Excessive back hair is usually genetic, but can also be caused by hormonal imbalances and other health conditions.
- There are many back hair removal methods, each with its own pros and cons, but laser electrolysis offer the most long-lasting results.
Not only does a smooth, hair-free back look great, it can also improve the tactile sensation of clothes rubbing against the back, especially when sweating during exercise.
In the past, hair removal options were fairly limited. Today, there is a wide range of solutions that can effectively remove hair quickly, safely and often with long-lasting results.
Not sure which option is right for you? We’ve rounded up the reviews to help you make an informed decision about which type of back hair removal method is best suited to your specific needs.
The Dynamics of Excessive Hair Growth
Hair grows just about everywhere on the human body – with a few notable exceptions, such as the lips, bottoms of the feet, palms of the hands and scar tissue.
The hair on your body grows in much the same way as the hair on top of your head. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, this cycle lasts about a month. New hair starts growing from the root of a hair follicle, where blood vessels deliver nutrients to it. By the time the new hair has emerged from the skin, it’s already dead.
The density and growth rate of back hair is usually dictated by genetics. A higher level of testosterone is known to promote body hair growth and, as a result, men will typically have more hair on their backs than women.
A variety of other factors can promote the growth of back hair, including:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Adrenal gland issues
- Recent weight gain
- Certain medications, including prednisone and danazol
Top 5 Back Hair Removal Methods
Millions of people around the world regularly remove their body hair, either on their own or with the help of a professional esthetician.
Having unwanted back hair can be frustrating, but the good news is that there are a variety of short- and long-term solutions that can be used to successfully remove it. These treatments are usually safe for everyone, although those with particularly sensitive skin will need to weigh their options carefully.
The cost, time involved and duration of results can vary significantly between treatments, so be sure to review the pros and cons of each method before committing to a solution. It’s worth noting that all of the treatments listed here can be used by women and men alike.
Waxing is a popular method of back hair removal and can be used effectively on both large and small areas of skin. It involves adhering strips of wax to the hair on your back and pulling them away to remove hair from the root. Waxing can cost anywhere from $40 to $80 USD or more per visit.
Waxing is great for keeping large areas such as your back free of hair for up to six weeks, making it a longer-lasting option than other manual techniques like shaving. It’s thought that waxing damages the bulb of the hair which, over time, can make the hair grow back thinner. There’s also nothing sharp involved in this treatment, thereby reducing the risk of infection.
Given that this method involves ripping hair out of the body, waxing your back can be a painful process – particularly if it’s your first time. Waxing can also irritate the skin around the treated area and cause ingrown hairs, so be sure to use an aftercare product as recommended by your dermatologist to calm redness and keep your skin feeling smooth.
2. Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal has grown immensely in popularity over the last couple of decades.
According to Dr. Lela Lankerani, a board-certified dermatologist with Westlake Dermatology in Austin, Texas, this method of hair removal involves using a laser to destroy the hair follicle with heat. “Laser hair removal works by targeting the melanin found in hair bulbs/shafts. The laser ultimately damages the hair follicle, which prevents future hair growth.”
Although it isn’t quite considered a permanent hair removal solution, laser treatment reduces hair density to the point that long-term hair growth becomes virtually unnoticeable.
“Laser hair removal is the best way to remove unwanted hair on the back,” says Dr. Lankerani. “If done properly and with the suggested series of treatments (usually 6-8 sessions required), one can achieve an 80% reduction in hair density.”
For best results, most doctors recommend annual or biannual maintenance treatments to keep your back free of hair.
Laser treatment is quite expensive, costing about $400-$500 USD per session. However, over the course of your life, laser hair removal could work out to be a more cost-effective option than many other treatments.
Another downside to this solution is the pain factor. Although it’s not as painful as waxing, you will certainly feel a twinge as the laser destroys the hair follicles. Applying numbing cream prior to the procedure can help those with sensitive skin.
Shaving is the most primitive method of hair reduction listed here, but it is also the most simple and affordable. With little more than a razor and some shaving cream, you can eliminate back hair in a matter of minutes — although you will likely need help to perform this task, as hair on the back is not easy to access on your own.
The advantages of shaving revolve around its simplicity and cost. Shaving your back is a fast, easy, inexpensive and – provided you don’t accidentally cut yourself – pain-free method of removing back hair.
The key downside to shaving your back is that it doesn’t last for very long. You will probably start to see hair regrowth in just a few days, which means that maintaining a hair-free back can be a very time-consuming process. Shaving can also lead to ingrown hairs, which may increase the risk of infection.
4. Hair Removal Cream
Depilatory creams are effective at removing hair due to their active chemical compounds (e.g. strontium sulfide, calcium thioglycolate and sodium thioglycolate) that break down hair protein beneath the skin. The chemicals loosen the hair from the root, allowing it to fall out easily when the cream is rubbed off.
Hair removal creams are an affordable option as the cost is about $20 USD for a home kit or around $30 – $50 USD for a salon treatment. This solution will keep your back hair-free for about a week, making it longer lasting than shaving but less so than waxing. There is also little risk of ingrown hairs when using depilatory creams.
For most people, using a depilatory cream is entirely painless. However, as Dr. Lankerani explains, there are some risks involved with this option for those with sensitive skin. “Hair removal creams contain chemicals that dissolve the hairs. These chemicals can be very harsh and irritating to the skin and cause rashes.” Applying hair removal cream can also be messy, which makes it difficult to apply evenly and can result in a patchy finish.
Electrolysis is a method of removing individual hairs from your body using chemicals or heat. Electrolysis is unique in that it’s the only permanent hair removal method recognized by the FDA.
Electrolysis is the most permanent method of hair removal on the market. After you have received the series of treatments as recommended by your electrologist, you can enjoy a smooth, hair-free back for the rest of your life. In addition, unlike laser hair removal, electrolysis is equally effective on both light and darker skin tones, as well as all hair types.
The cost of electrolysis varies from person-to-person, depending on hair thickness and density. You can expect to pay upwards of $50 – $100 USD per hour for this treatment.
Given that you may need 15-30 sessions to completely eliminate unwanted hair, it can be more time consuming and expensive than other options. Those with sensitive skin should also note that electrolysis can be quite painful. Topical anesthetics can be used to reduce sensitivity.
Talk to a Hair Removal Expert
There are many short- and long-term solutions for removing back hair. For more information about which option is right for you, be sure to consult your doctor or dermatologist beforehand.
» Zwivel has compiled an extensive list of cosmetic doctors across the United States. Use it to find a competent dermatologist in your area.