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Does Face Hair Removal Cream Work? Is It Safe?

By Viktoria
February 25, 2024
7 minutes
Does Face Hair Removal Cream Work

The safety of depilatory or hair removal creams has been a matter of discussion since these creamy formulations are FDA-cleared but do not offer the most comfortable experience.

While they are used on various body parts, their usage on the face holds a particular importance. Thus, people wonder if hair removal creams are safe for sensitive skin like that of the face.

So, if you are also wondering the same, let us talk about the working principle and safety of face hair removal creams along with some scientific studies in this article.

Table of Contents:

Part 1: What are Hair Removal Creams for Face?

Hair removal creams are chemical formulations that are created in a way that they work on the proteins in the hair strands while breaking their bonds and consequently removing the hair as explained in an informative article by WebMed [1].

Depilatory creams for the face are made of a special formula that pays extra attention to be safe for the sensitive skin of the face. Such creams contain milder concentrations of chemicals and have additional soothing ingredients as compared to body hair removal creams.

The gentle formula makes them suitable for facial skin.

Part 2: How Does Hair Removal Creams Remove Unwanted Hair?How Does Hair Removal Creams Remove Unwanted Hair

The mechanism of hair removal using depilatory creams lies in their chemical ingredients. These ingredients responsible for removing unwanted hair include thioglycolic acid in a calcium or potassium salt form, calcium hydroxide, and lactic acid.

Thioglycolic acid is the most potent of these ingredients. The use of thioglycolic acid in breaking hair strands has been manifested in research [2].

Hair contains keratin and thioglycolic acid acts as an anti-keratin agent. It enters the hair cortex, destroys the proteins, turns hair into a jelly-like mess, and weakens it to the extent that a single swipe will remove it from the skin’s surface.

It is important to note that depilatory creams only act on the surface of the skin removing hair in the center of its shaft and not from the roots. This is exactly the reason why hair grows back within a few days.

Part 3: Where Can I Use Hair Removal Creams?

Hair removal creams can be used anywhere from head to toe. In general, these creams are used on legs, arms, abdomen, and intimate areas to get rid of stubborn and thick hair with ease.

However, some women also use them on the face, especially for upper lips, chin, and sideburns. Furthermore, no matter if you are using a hair removal cream on your body or face, it is mandatory to do a patch test 24 to 48 hours before the actual treatment.

Part 4: Does Hair Removal Creams Work?

Yes, hair removal creams work and most people are satisfied with their results. However, the question arises if they are suitable to be used for years and years to come. Well, we will discuss it in the subsequent sections.

Also, here is a little guide on how to use hair removal creams.

  • Cleanse your face well with a gentle face wash
  • Let your skin dry and apply a thin layer of hair removal cream on unwanted hair
  • Wait for the recommended time
  • Remove the cream with a spatula
  • Wash your face again
  • Moisturize the treatment area

Part 5: What are the Advantages of Hair Removal Creams?What are the Advantages of Hair Removal Creams

Let us talk about what makes hair removal creams so popular.


Getting rid of unwanted hair with hair removal creams is a piece of cake. No need to go to a salon, no need to spend tons of money every week, and no need to go through immense pain as hair removal creams are a pain-free and convenient hair removal method.


A high-quality hair removal cream only costs around $15 to $30. One large pack of the depilatory cream is enough for your full body hair removal. Sounds pretty affordable, right?

Can be Used Anywhere on the Body:

Private areas are one of the parts of the body where everyone thinks twice before using any hair removal method. But it is also the part where people mostly use the hair removal creams. Furthermore, they can be used in every area of the body safely.

Part 6: What are the Side Effects of Hair Removal Creams?

While hair removal creams are a common method for the body, that is not the case when it comes to the face. Let us discuss the reasons why. Also, let us first clarify a myth that hair removal creams do not cause cancer as explained in Does Hair Removal Cream Cause Cancer? (Include Nair & Veet).

Skin Irritation, Redness, and Inflammation:

The most common side effects of hair removal creams are skin redness, irritation, itching, and even inflammation. Although you can hide it on the body, you would not want erythema on your face, right?

This aspect of hair removal creams has been well explained in an animal study [3].

Annoying Odour:

Hair removal creams leave a specific “chemical” odor on the skin. This odor is so strong that it can give you a headache, especially if it lingers on your face close to your nose.

Fast Hair Regrowth:

We try different methods of hair removal to achieve flawless skin. However, hair regrows and they regrow quickly after using hair removal creams making them an inefficient hair removal method for the face. Shaving serves better in this case as it does not give you a bad odor at least.

Increase the Density of Hair:

Many women noticed that their facial hair growth increased after using hair removal creams. Though these creams only work on the skin’s surface, they can fasten up the entry of hair into the anagen phase and increase the density of the hair as determined by an experiment [4].

Can Cause Chemical Burns:

Another side effect of hair removal creams that you would want to avoid on your face in any case is the potential for chemical burns. While they might not burn the skin every time, the risk is always there.

It occurs if you use a body depilatory cream on the face or keep it on your face for a longer time than recommended. These burns can also cause uneven skin tone.

Part 7: Are Hair Removal Creams Safe to Use on the Face?Are Hair Removal Creams Safe to Use on the Face

There is currently no study, experiment, or research that declares hair removal creams unsafe to be used on the face or anywhere else on the body. Most hair removal creams are FDA-cleared as well.

This is because hair removal creams rarely cause irreversible side effects. However, they are not considered a favored method of getting rid of unwanted hair on the face because of the side effects discussed earlier. Thus, depilatory creams are not useful in the long term.

Part 8: What Should I Use Instead?

If you cannot use hair removal creams for a long time, what can you do instead? Well, Hair removal creams Vs. IPL has your answer. Let us see why you should choose IPL hair removal below.

Entirely Safe:

IPL neither has irreversible nor other side effects that you commonly face with hair removal creams. Its safety has been explained by PubMed [5]. Ulike Air3 is a dermatologist-recommended equipment made for safe and convenient hair removal at home.

Cost Effective:

While you have to spend around $20 on hair removal creams every few weeks, you can buy Ulike Air for around $300 at once and use it all your life with its unlimited flashes.

Quick and Long-Lasting Results:

Ulike Air3 only takes 2 weeks to demonstrate its results on your face with a significant reduction in hair regrowth in 4 weeks and almost no hair within 2 months. Also, the best thing about Ulike Air3 IPL hair removal device is that the hair stops growing back completely.

Compatible for Full Body:

In addition to the face, Ulike Air3 can also be used on the body including private areas. And it does not give you any pain, irritation, or burns as given by depilatory creams. Therefore, Ulike Sapphire Air3 IPL hair removal handset can become your ultimate hair removal companion.


Hair removal creams work effectively for hair removal on the face in addition to the body. They are formulated with special care to be safe for the face. However, depilatory creams cannot be the long-lasting hair removal solution.

Therefore, we encourage you to give IPL hair removal a try for a better experience and results.


  1. What to Know About Depilatory Creams. Written by WebMed Contributors and Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD. July 23, 2023. WebMed.
  2. The use of thioglycolic acid in hair-bearing skin inlay urethroplasty. H A Bagshaw, J T Flynn, A N James, S R Johnston, J P Blandy. Br J Urol. 1980 Dec;52(6):546-8. PubMed.
  3. Effects of Depilatory Cream Formulation and Contact Time on Mouse Skin. Michelle N Reichert, Nathan J Koewler, Ann M Hargis, Jessica L Felgenhauer, and Lynn Collura Impelluso. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2023 Mar; 62(2): 153–162. PubMed.
  4. Depilatory creams increase the number of hair follicles, and dermal fibroblasts expressing interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-α, and tumor necrosis factor-β in mouse skin. Pi-Fen Tsai, Fen-Pi Chou, Ting-Shuan Yu, Huei-Jane Lee, and Chun-Tang Chiu. Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2021 Nov 1; 25(6): 497–506.
  5. Low-Energy Intense Pulsed Light for Hair Removal at Home Michael H. Gold, Amy Foster, RN,b and Julie A. Biron. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 48–53. PubMed Central.
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