A depilatory is a chemical that removes hair. Brands you may be familiar with include Nair or Veet, which also have products designed for facial hair removal. The common active ingredients are calcium thioglycolate or potassium thioglycolate, which weaken the hair, so it will fall off from the point where the hair emerges from the follicle. Typically, the hair needs to be scrubbed off with a towel or a washcloth in order to break the hairs.

While many depilatory products are advertised as easy to use and low maintenance, the following disadvantages tend to outweigh the advantages:

  • A burning and itching sensation
  • Skin irritation and redness
  • Chemical burns that lead to peeling and scarring
  • A strong, pungent odor
  • Stubble
  • Cost
  • Short-term effects

Depilatory products are available in many forms, such as gels, lotions, and even powders, but they have a bad reputation in the hair removal industry. Often, depilatory products leave users with unwanted hair and severe skin damage if used incorrectly.