DermNet provides Google Translate, a free machine translation service. Note that this may not provide an exact translation in all languages



Author: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2005.

Table of contents

What is epilation?

Epilation is the term used to describe removal of body hair, including the hair root, by means of mechanical device, tweezer, or wax. It is the most effective method for temporarily removing hair.


Waxing is the most effective method of epilation because it removes hair completely from the hair shaft in large quantities (see our page on waxing for more information).


Plucking is performed using hand-held or electrical tweezers. Hand-held tweezers are best used for removing the occasional coarse hair or a small group of hairs, such as those found on the eyebrows, chin or nipples. Electrical tweezers including the Epilady® range of products are designed to remove unwanted hair from both small and large areas. Some of these products are dual action epilators and both pluck and shave at the same time.


Threading is an ancient method of hair removal. The technique involves a long loop of cotton thread that is twisted and rolled along the surface of the skin. Hair is caught within the entwined coils and pulled from their roots as the thread rolls along.

It is used to give clean lines and is good for shaping eyebrows and removing hair from the upper lip and other facial areas. It is considered to be less painful than plucking, waxing and sugaring. To women in the Middle East and India it is a basic skill learnt from an early age. It is also available in most Western countries.


These work by physically rubbing away hair form the skin surface. Abrasives used include pumice stones and devices or gloves made from fine sandpaper. This method is irritating to the skin and is seldom used these days.


Sugaring is similar to waxing but instead of using wax a sugar mixture is used. The sugar mixture is made up of sugar, lemon juice and water heated together to form a paste. Like waxing, a thin layer of sugar paste is applied to the skin and a cotton strip placed on top. The strip is then pulled back sharply against the direction of the hair growth. Sugaring is a suitable alternative to waxing for people sensitive to wax.

Side effects of epilation

Side effects from epilation include:



Related information

Sign up to the newsletter