Unwanted body hair is something that nobody wants to deal with! The problem can make you more self-conscious about your appearance.
In medical terms, abnormal or unwanted hair growth is known as hirsutism. It’s a problem that is more common in women than men.
Causes and Symptoms of Unwanted Body Hair
Hirsutism affects between 5 and 10 percent of women, according to a report by the Indian Journal of Dermatology.
It tends to run in families. Also, women with dark hair are more likely to be hairier than those with a lighter pigmentation or blonde hair.
Plus, it can be caused by an imbalance of hormones in the body or use of certain medications.
For instance, issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or adrenal gland disorders can also cause unwanted hair on the body. In rare cases, the problem can be caused by a tumor or cancer of the adrenal gland or ovaries.
Apart from the face, excess hair may grow on the legs, arms, armpits, back and bikini area, making it one of the main cosmetic problems faced by many women.
The market is flooded with products and services that can help with excess body hair. From depilatory creams, shaving creams, razors, hair trimmers, waxing strips to laser hair reduction services, there are many options. But all these come with their own sets of side effects.
Here are the top 10 home remedies to remove unwanted body hair.
1. Sugar and Honey
For a homemade wax to remove unwanted hair on different areas of the body, nothing works better than sugar and honey.
Sugar works as an excellent exfoliating agent. While removing dead skin cells, it also gets rid of excess hair. Plus, honey keeps the skin well-hydrated and moisturized. It also reduces the risk of any infection or rashes on the skin.
- Put 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon of honey in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Heat it for a few seconds until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Remove it from the microwave, optionally add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
- Allow the mixture to cool down a bit.
- Apply the slightly warm mixture on areas where you have unwanted hair.
- Put a waxing strip over the mixture, press it down and pull it off against the direction of the hair growth.
- Clean the area with cool water, pat your skin dry and apply a light moisturizer.
Like the homemade sugar and honey wax, sugaring is another effective technique for removing unwanted body hair. It can be used to remove fine facial hair, too.
- Put ¼ cup of water in a saucepan and heat it on the stove.
- When the water is hot, add 2 cups of sugar and ¼ cup of lemon juice.
- Using a spatula, mix the ingredients well.
- Let it heat up until bubbling occurs, then turn the heat to low and let the mixture simmer until it has an amber color.
- Remove the pan from the stove and set it aside so the mixture can cool down.
- Apply a little baby powder on the body where you have unwanted hair.
- On top of the baby powder, apply a thick layer of the paste using a butter knife.
- Place a waxing strip over the paste and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
- Finally, pull off the strip in the opposite direction of the hair growth.
- Do it as needed but not very frequently.
You can store any remaining mixture in an airtight container for future use.
3. Egg Whites
You can also use egg whites to remove unwanted body hair, including facial hair.
In fact, egg whites work as a great ingredient in natural peel-off masks to remove unwanted hair as well as impurities from your skin.
- Whisk the egg whites from 1 egg.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and ½ tablespoon of corn flour to it and mix well.
- Apply the mixture on the hairy part of your body.
- Let it dry for 15 to 20 minutes, then peel or simply scrub it off.
- Wash the area with running water.
- Repeat the process as needed.
This remedy does not work on very thick hair.
4. Raw Papaya
Raw papaya is another effective home remedy you can use.
The enzyme papain in raw papaya helps stop unwanted hair growth by breaking down the hair follicles from which the hair grows. It can also improve the texture of the skin and remove the dead skin cells.
A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics reports that a papain cream formula had a significantly higher depilatory effect than a papain gel formula in removing hair on mice.
- Cut peeled raw papaya into little pieces and grind them into a fine paste.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of the paste with ½ teaspoon of turmeric powder.
- Apply this mixture on the areas where you have unwanted hair.
- Massage the skin with this mixture for 5 minutes.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes, then wash it off with water.
- Repeat this remedy at least twice a week to remove the unwanted hair.
5. Spearmint Tea
Drinking a few cups of spearmint tea can also resolve the problem of unwanted body hair. It helps regulate hormone levels and deal with excessive production of androgen in the body that causes excess hair growth.
Preliminary findings of a short study done in 2010 and published in Phytotherapy Research show the potential for use of spearmint tea as a natural treatment for hirsutism in women with PCOS.
- Boil 1 cup of water.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dried spearmint to it.
- Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain it and drink the tea.
- Have it twice daily.
Due to its sticky nature, gelatin works as an effective home remedy for removing fine hair. In fact, many commercial peel-off masks have gelatin as one of the main ingredients.
- Put 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin, 1½ tablespoons of milk and a few drops of lavender essential oil in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Using a non-metallic spoon, mix the ingredients well.
- Microwave the mixture for 10 to 15 seconds, then allow it to cool down a little.
- Apply a thick layer of the mixture on the unwanted hair using a wooden stick like a popsicle stick.
- Allow it to dry, then peel it off against the direction of the hair growth.
- Rinse off the area with cool water.
- Repeat as needed.
This remedy is not very effective for removing thick hair that you find on legs, armpits or the back.
7. Gram Flour
Gram flour can also be used to remove unwanted hair from your face or other areas of the body. Its slightly coarse nature works as an excellent exfoliating agent.
It also absorbs impurities that may be clogging your pores, which helps loosen the hair in their follicles and remove the extra hair.
- Put 1 tablespoon of gram flour and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder in a bowl.
- Mix in a little milk or water to form a thick paste.
- Apply the paste on your upper lip or other areas with unwanted hair and wait for it to dry.
- Scrub off the paste using wet fingers against the direction of the hair growth.
- Finally, rinse your skin with cool water.
- Do this twice a week regularly.
8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Those who have excess hair on unwanted areas of the body due to hormonal changes must include omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in producing hormones, hence they are highly beneficial in balancing them. Also, due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3 fatty acids have a profound effect on your health.
- Some good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soy extracts, winter squash and olive oil.
- You can opt to take omega-3 supplements after consulting your doctor. The general dosage is 500 mg per day.
Coconut oil is also helpful in correcting the hormonal imbalance causing unwanted hair growth. You can eat 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil daily for at least a few months. The best way to have it is to add it to your smoothies, soups and salads. Or, you can use it for cooking.
- HIRSUTISM: EVALUATION AND TREATMENT. Indian Journal of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2856356. Published 2010.
- Histological evaluation of hair follicle due to papain’s depilatory effect. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17314016. Published April 20, 2007.
- Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19585478. Published February 2010.