Depilatory Cream – Effect, Application & Risks


Smooth skin free from any hair can be achieved in a variety of ways. In addition to shaving or epilation, hair can also be removed using a special cream, the depilatory cream .

Was ist Enthaarungscreme?

Depilatory cream is a product that, depending on the version, has a different consistency that can be similar to that of ointment or shaving foam.

The cream can basically be used on any part of the skin to be depilated and is suitable for hair removal on legs, arms, back and almost all other parts of the body. There it is simply applied, removed after an exposure time, which can vary depending on the product, and leaves the skin depilated.

However, some caution is necessary, especially on sensitive skin, since depilatory cream works with very aggressive substances that are not easily tolerated by every user. In particular, allergy sufferers or people with known previous skin diseases should use depilatory creams with extreme caution and first seek advice from a pharmacist or even a dermatologist.

Medical & cosmetic use & effect

Unlike shaving or epilation, depilatory cream hairs are neither cut nor pulled out. Rather, the part of the hair lying over the skin is completely decomposed or dissolved.This happens by breaking down the keratin, the “backbone” of the hair, which is responsible for its stability. The active ingredient that causes the hair to decompose during the exposure time is thioglycolic acid, an aggressive chemical substance. Although depilatory cream dissolves the hair under the skin, the hair root is not destroyed but remains intact. Therefore, the effect lasts only about 7 to 12 days, depending on the strength of the hair growth.

The application of depilatory cream is simple and uncomplicated. The skin area that is to be depilated is evenly covered with the cream. Depending on the type of depilatory cream, you have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for the ingredients to take effect. The depilatory cream is then showered off together with the rest of the dissolved hair or removed with a spatula, which is often included in the pack.

The long exposure time does not apply to special depilatory creams that are intended for use in the shower. This often only requires a very short exposure time of 2 to 3 minutes – the cream can then be rinsed off again immediately.

Herbal, natural & pharmaceutical depilatory creams

Commercial hair removal creams are available at any drug store and are often specific to a single area of ​​skin. There are depilatory creams for arms, legs, intimate areas, face, etc. Apart from the pack size and different fragrances, these do not differ significantly.

Special depilatory creams for allergy sufferers or people with sensitive skin can be found in pharmacies. However, the main active ingredient thioglycolic acid is also contained in each of these skin-friendly products, since the hair does not dissolve without it. However, depilatory creams from the pharmacy often do without additional chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide , which can be found in drugstore products.

Nevertheless, depilatory creams that are advertised as being gentle on the skin remain a chemical product. Although there are depilatory creams based on herbal active ingredients, these are designed to reduce hair growth or weaken the hair structure through regular use over several weeks. The complete dissolution of hair through the exclusive use of herbal or homeopathic substances is not possible.

Risks & side effects

Before using depilatory cream , every manufacturer recommends a tolerance test to ensure that there is no allergy to any of the ingredients.Nevertheless, not all risks are excluded by such a tolerance test. Long-term use of depilatory cream can have long-term effects. In the long run, the affected skin becomes more susceptible to allergies and itching . Depilatory cream should be used with extreme caution, especially in areas with sensitive skin, such as the face or intimate areas.

Discontinue use as soon as irritation occurs. In addition to the direct irritation of the skin to be depilated, the occurrence of stinging vapors when using depilatory cream can also lead to irritation of the mucous membranes or irritated eyes.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.