What is Bleaching?
Bleaching is a cosmetic procedure used to lighten the appearance of hair on the face and body. It does not involve hair removal but rather makes the hair less visible by blending it with the skin. The process involves applying a chemical composition to the desired area, which removes the pigment from the hair, making it lighter. The composition is then washed off with cold water. Bleaching is particularly useful for areas that have thin but dark, noticeable hair, such as on the arms, face, or neck. It is a quick and easy procedure that can be performed at home and is a popular alternative to more painful or expensive hair removal methods.
How Does It Work?
Bleaching works by using a chemical composition, usually hydrogen peroxide, to break down and remove the natural pigment from the hair. The hydrogen peroxide oxidizes the melanin, the pigment that gives hair its color, and breaks it down into smaller molecules that can be washed away.
During the bleaching process, the chemical composition is applied to the desired area, such as the mustache, and left on for about 10 minutes or until the desired level of lightness is achieved. The composition is then removed with cold water.
The effect of bleaching lasts for about two to three weeks, after which the natural hair color will start to grow back. Bleaching is often preferred by dark-haired women over other hair removal methods, such as electrolysis or plucking because it is less painful and less expensive.
Bleaching generally causes little to no irritation to the skin, although some people with sensitive skin may experience redness or itching. It is important to follow the instructions carefully and avoid over-bleaching, which can damage the hair and skin.
What Possible Factors Affect Facial Hair?
- Hereditary Factors
- Hormonal Changes
- Use of Steroids
What are the Advantages of Bleaching?
- Easiest Hair Removal Method: Simple and easy to perform, without requiring any special skills (as in waxing) or finesse (as in shaving or plucking).
- Speed: The process of bleaching typically takes no longer than 15 minutes to complete, including the mixing of the composition, its application, and the subsequent washing off with cold water. Furthermore, since the composition is left to sit on the desired body part, the individual undergoing the procedure has the flexibility to perform other activities during this time.
- Removes Tan: The application of bleaching cream effectively removes tan from the treated area, resulting in clearer, fairer, and cleaner skin. This makes the bleaching process an ideal solution for quickly improving the appearance of a dull or tanned complexion in preparation for special occasions. It is a versatile option suitable for use by both men and women and can be applied to various parts of the body, including the face, arms, legs, chest, and back.
- No Hair Removal Side-Effects: Bleaching as a hair removal method is painless, as the process does not involve plucking or pulling out the hair. Additionally, there are no associated side effects such as razor burns, bruising, or ingrown hairs
- Affordable & Easy Available: Bleaching cream is widely available over the counter at drug stores and does not require a prescription. It is also relatively inexpensive, with a small bottle often lasting for several months depending on usage. As a result, it is a more affordable option compared to many other hair removal methods.
- No Running to Keep Those Appointments: Unlike waxing, threading, and laser hair removal, bleaching can be performed in the comfort of one’s own home without the need for an appointment with a salon or clinic. This provides a level of convenience and flexibility to the user, allowing them to perform the procedure at their own convenience.
What Are the Disadvantages of Bleaching?
- Not a Hair Removal Method: As previously stated, bleaching is not a hair removal technique and does not provide the same level of smoothness as other methods. Despite the hair being color-matched to your skin, it may still be visible in direct sunlight.
- Not Long-Lasting: Bleaching only removes pigmentation from the hair follicle, not the root. Thus, only the hair above the skin is lightened. However, as new hair grows, it will have a natural color and immediately become noticeable. It is not recommended to bleach hair repeatedly as this can have disastrous consequences for the skin, which will be explained in the following sections.
- Skin Damage: Frequent use of bleaching creams can have adverse effects on the skin. It can cause pimples, rashes, and other marks on the skin due to the harsh chemicals present in the cream. The skin can also become thin and fragile, making it more prone to bruising and scarring. Moreover, long-term use of bleaching creams can cause permanent skin damage, leading to uneven skin tone, pigmentation, and premature aging. The chemicals in these creams can disrupt the natural balance of the skin’s protective barrier, leading to inflammation, irritation, and dryness.
- Damages Hair: Repeated use of bleaching agents causes the outer surface of the hair cuticle to rise, allowing the agent to penetrate the hair shaft. Over time, this can lead to a permanent elevation of the hair cuticle surface, resulting in excessive moisture loss and damage to the hair. Dryness, brittleness, split ends, and breakage are common consequences of overusing bleach on hair. It is therefore essential to use these agents with caution and not to overdo it to prevent irreversible hair damage.
- Allergic To Some: When using bleaching creams, it is common to feel a slight tingling sensation as the cream works to remove pigmentation. However, those with sensitive skin may experience a burning sensation, which can indicate an allergy to some of the components in the cream. This can lead to skin rashes and redness, causing irritation and discomfort. Overuse of bleaching cream can also lead to skin diseases like acne, eczema, and dermatitis. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper usage, and discontinue use if the problem persists. Regular use of bleaching creams can impair the skin’s ability to repair or heal from rashes, allergies, and injuries.
- May Cause Skin Cancer: Bleaching creams usually contain hydroquinone, a primary ingredient that can be harmful to the skin, especially when used frequently or in low-quality products. Research has linked hydroquinone to skin cancer. Additionally, some bleaching creams may contain mercury, which can also be harmful to the skin and has been associated with skin cancer. To avoid potential risks, it is advisable to avoid exposing bleached skin to sunlight by covering it with clothing or avoiding direct sunlight altogether.
- Not For Every Hair Type: Bleaching works by breaking down the melanin in the hair shaft, resulting in lighter hair. However, the effectiveness of the bleaching process is limited by the amount of melanin present in the hair. Therefore, the process is more effective on lighter and finer hairs, whereas it may not produce significant results on thicker or darker hair types. This is because thicker hair has more melanin, which makes it harder for the bleaching agent to penetrate and lighten the hair shaft.
- Not For Every Skin Tone: For individuals with medium to dark skin tones, bleached hair may still be visible due to the color contrast. Moreover, bleaching may react with the skin tone, leading to a temporary lightening effect that can last for 2-3 days. This uneven coloring, particularly on the face, can appear unnatural and cause embarrassment when stepping outside.
What is the Cost of the Bleaching Kit?
Bleaching kits are relatively affordable compared to other hair removal methods, and the cost typically ranges from around $5 to $30 or more, depending on the type of product, the brand, and the quantity. It is advisable to check the prices of various brands and compare the features and benefits before purchasing a bleaching kit.
The number of applications that can be obtained from a single kit is dependent on various factors such as the size of the area being bleached and the number of areas to be treated, and therefore, may vary from person to person.
Keeping Safe. Taking Care
It is highly recommended to seek professional consultation and guidance regarding the use of bleaching and related products. Certain inferior products available in the market can cause skin irritation or rashes in some individuals.
To minimize the risk of adverse reactions, it is always advisable to perform a patch test on a small area of skin before using the product on a larger area. If the product causes a burning sensation or rash, it is imperative to discontinue its use immediately. Performing a patch test on the skin can help to determine the safety and suitability of the product for individual use.
Bleaching is a hair removal method that has its advantages and disadvantages. While it is a quick and easy process that does not require any skills or finesse, the results are not long-lasting, and the process can cause skin damage and hair damage if done repeatedly. Before choosing a hair removal method, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons and to consider all the factors that may affect hair growth. Ultimately, the choice of hair removal method will depend on individual preferences, needs, and lifestyles.
Other Hair Removal Options
There are several articles available on various hair removal treatments that can provide comprehensive information on each topic.
- Electrolysis Hair Removal.
- Electric Spring Rotators.
- Depilatory Creams.
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