What effects does it have?

What is it?

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

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

How long does it last?

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

More information


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 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.

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.

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


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

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Page last updated: June 2017