How Does Waxing Reduce Hair Growth? The Science Behind Hair Removal

Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated

Waxing is a popular hair removal method that can keep skin smooth for weeks at a time. Some people also believe waxing can reduce hair growth over time. But how exactly does removing hair by waxing lead to slower, finer hair growth?

How Does Waxing Reduce Hair Growth?

Waxing reduces hair growth by damaging the actual hair follicles under the skin. The repetitive stress of waxing causes follicles to become weaker and produce thinner, slower-growing hairs over time.

Waxing Damages Hair Follicles

Wax is applied against the direction of hair growth and then pulled swiftly in the direction of growth. This removes the full hair shaft and follicle from the body. The follicle retains some damage each time this occurs.

Follicles Produce Finer Hairs

When repeatedly stressed from waxing, the follicles start producing finer, vellus hairs rather than full, terminal hairs. Vellus hair is thinner, lighter, and grows less than terminal hair.

Hair Regrows at a Slower Rate

With the follicles in a weakened state, the new hairs that regrow after waxing are not only finer but also grow back at a slower rate. The anagen (growth) phase becomes shorter with repeated waxing.

Repeated Waxing Compounds the Effects

While one wax may cause minimal damage, repeated waxing sessions compound the effects on the follicles over time. The results get better the more consistently a person maintains a waxing regimen.

Factors that Impact Hair Reduction from Waxing

How much waxing reduces hair growth depends on several factors:

  • Hair texture - Coarse hair is more affected than fine hair.
  • Waxing frequency - More sessions mean more cumulative damage to follicles.
  • Consistency - Waxing the same area consistently over years has more impact.
  • Technique - Proper waxing technique causes more follicle trauma.
  • Genetics - Some people’s hair is more resistant to permanent reduction.

Does Waxing Prevent Hair Growth Permanently?

Waxing does not permanently prevent hair regrowth. However, it can significantly slow the rate of growth and make hairs much finer and sparser after repeated treatments. But follicles stem cells remain intact, so hair can still regenerate after waxing.

Myths and Misconceptions

There are some common myths about waxing and permanent hair removal. It's important to understand waxing does not:

  • Destroy the follicle or stem cells
  • Stop hair from ever regrowing
  • Weaken hair that’s already visible above skin
  • Work after 1 or 2 treatments
  • Produce the same results as professional laser treatments

Professional Options for Permanent Reduction

For permanent hair removal, professional laser treatments or electrolysis are required. These technologies damage the actual follicle stem cells, not just the hair shaft. At-home waxing cannot achieve the same long-lasting or permanent results.

Who Is the Best Candidate for Hair Reduction from Waxing?

Those who will see the most hair reduction from regular waxing include:

  • People with coarse, thick body hair
  • Those who want to remove hair from large areas
  • Individuals with darker hair colors
  • People who can withstand routine waxing sessions
  • Those who want hair removal lasting 4-6 weeks

People with fine hair, sensitive skin, or who want permanent removal are better candidates for other hair removal options.

Tips for Maximizing Hair Reduction from Waxing

To encourage thinner, sparser regrowth from waxing, follow these tips:

  • Go once every 3-6 weeks for at least 6 months
  • Exfoliate between sessions
  • Allow hair to grow out slightly between waxes
  • Use a reputable wax and technique
  • Avoid any irritation between waxes

Takeaway

While not a permanent solution, waxing can significantly reduce hair thickness and regrowth rate over time. This is due to the physical damage inflicted on the hair follicles with repeated waxing sessions. Results improve the more consistently waxing is maintained every 3-6 weeks. For those who can withstand the process, waxing can provide long-lasting smooth skin.

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