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Depilatory cream

What is depilatory cream?

Temporary removal of body hair by using chemicals to break down the hair.

It's also known as Veet, Immac, Nair, or Thioglycolate.

What does depilatory cream do?

How long does depilatory cream last?

The effects last until the hair regrows (days to weeks).

How do I stay safe?


The chemicals in depilatory cream may cause skin irritation. It is very important to always perform a patch test first by using the chemicals on a small area the day before.

Depilatory creams are not suitable for facial hair removal, as for almost all people they cause so much skin irritation that they are not worthwhile. Depilatory creams also do not normally absorb quickly enough into thicker facial hair to have a useful effect 1.

Some depilatory products designed for use on facial hair are available, usually called “shaving powder” or “cream shave”, marketed at people who are unable to shave without severe skin irritation.

How much will it cost?

Depilatory creams can be bought in supermarkets and chemists and normally cost between £2 and £6.

How does it work?

Depilatory creams contain chemicals (normally thioglycolate) which weaken the proteins in hair, making it weak. Once the cream has been applied and left for a short time, the hair can then be easily scraped off using a plastic scraper.


  1. 1.
    Wanitphakdeedecha, Rungsima and Alster, Tina S (2008) “Physical means of treating unwanted hair.” Dermatologic therapy, 21(5), pp. 392–401. Link

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