Is hair-removal safe for kids?

Here's a breakdown of the benefits of hair-removal and it's various methods

As they grow, children begin to compare themselves to their surroundings, and care more strongly about those differences. One such difference is body hair, and there are many children who, unbeknownst to us, are concerned about things such as having leg and arm hair thicker than their friends, or who are embarrassed about having more armpit hair. In some cases, these body hair concerns may even affect their school life. It falls on the parent to pick up on these concerns and take measures to help the child. One method gaining attention is "hair removal for kids." Here we talk about the benefits and downsides of hair removal for kids, as well as explain the treatment methods in detail and mention some precautions.

When do children develop an interest in hair removal?

When, exactly, do children (and their parents) become concerned about unwanted hair in the first place? As early as the later years of kindergarten, more parents start thinking about treating their children's hair "before they are teased by their friends" or "before the child starts worrying about it." Moreover, once they become elementary school students, more children themselves complain of body hair due to shyness or shame. Here we review some of the key turning points when kids may develop an interest in body hair removal.

Physical fitness lessons

Many children develop concerns about body hair when taking lessons that involve wearing training clothes or uniforms that have a lot of exposed skin, such as at swimming schools and in classical ballet.


In particular, in summer, when there is more exposed skin with shorts, sleeveless shirts, swimsuits, and the like, body hair is more visible. Some parents may initially give their children less revealing clothing out of a concern for their body hair, but then want to explore hair removal so that their children can wear items like skirts or more cool clothing to help regulate body temperature.

Prior to events like trips

One moment children develop an interest in body hair removal is prior to trips or stayaway study groups with their friends.

Physical education classes

Gym clothes with short sleeves and shorts make it difficult to hide body hair on the arms and legs, and children tend to compare themselves with their friends. When changing their clothes in the classroom or elsewhere, many children instinctively compare their own bodies to those of others. During swimming classes, since there is more skin exposed, children tend to become self-conscious of their body hair.

Benefits and downsides to hair removal for kids

The biggest advantage of hair removal for kids is that it helps children to better enjoy school and social life without worrying about body hair. With the development of the ego, some children compare themselves with friends and celebrities with smooth skin and fall into self-denial. If the child's confidence can be restored by eliminating their inferiority complex, they should have an easier time with school and family life, be it with their lessons, time with friends, or whatever else. Therefore, parents should be there to assist children who are not experienced yet in treating their own hair.

Children's hair removal can be done from an early stage, keeping in mind the physical circumstances unique to children

While hair removal for kids can be done early on, it is always a question and personal decision of when exactly to go about doing so, be it to address a concern from the child or from the parent. Ultimately, the answer is yes: it is possible to explore hair removal for children at an early age. However, as described in the next section, we must consider the physical circumstances unique to children, who are in the process of growth.

When secondary sexual characteristics develop, body hair tends to become thicker.

The period when children reach puberty and develop more distinct male and female characteristics is referred to as secondary sexual characteristics. Secondary sexual characteristics generally emerge from around 10 to 15 years of age. At this time, the body more actively produces male and female hormones, and body hair such as pubic hair and armpit hair becomes thicker. Cells are actively growing during this period, so hair that falls out is better able to regrow. That means that hair that has been "permanently" removed by the age of 10 may grow again around the time they reach puberty.

The hair cycle in developing children is unstable

Body hair follows the hair growth cycle, repeatedly growing and falling out over the the growth, regression, and rest phases. However, when pursuing medical hair removal or hair removal at aesthetic salons, treatment is most effective during the growth stage. However, the hair cycle is different for each pore, and it is impossible to determine the hair cycle by appearance alone. Therefore, at clinics and beauty salons, hair removal schedules are set according to the general hair cycle for different parts of the body before proceeding to treatment. However, in children, the hair cycle is not precisely as constant as in adults, so there is a high likelihood that they will need more hair removal sessions.

Before you consider hair removal for kids, take a moment to learn the differences between epilation and depilation.

Now that you better understand the characteristics of hair in children, take a moment to consider the different methods of actually treating it. Before we look at how to care for the hair and skin, consider that there are two main treatment methods: depilation and epilation. The differences between the two are as follows.

Epilation to remove hair at the root

Epilation is a method of extracting and removing hair at the root. When using tweezers to pluck out hair at home, this would correspond to epilation. Similarly, the procedures at clinics and aesthetic salons are epilation.
Permanent hair removal is available at clinics, and although permanent hair removal cannot be performed at aesthetic salons, the dramatic changes in hair quality and quantity both methods offer make self-treatment much easier thereafter. However, both of them tend to be less effective and take longer in children than in adults.

Depilation treats the surface of the hair without removing it at the root.

Depilation involves simply cutting or removing the hair protruding from the surface of the skin. Treatment at home with a razor or depilation cream falls into this category.
Depilation is immediate, so is effective if you want to remove some excess hair immediately. On the other hand, the disadvantage is that the hair roots are still alive, so frequent treatment is required, and there is a possibility that pigmentation and dryness may occur.

What are the types of hair removal (and depilation) for kids, and how do they work?

So just what kinds of body hair treatment methods are available, then? Here we explain the types of epilation and depilation that even children can perform, while taking stock of various precautions.

Depilation at home

Some of the at-home depilation methods available are as follows. For children, it is a good idea to work on the thickness and volume of hair with lotion or depilation cream in the long term, and periodically clean it with a razor or electric shaver in the short term.

  • Lotion
  • Lotion is the most recommended body hair treatment for children. Beneficial ingredients penetrate smoothly into the pores, and through continued use, each strand of unwanted hair gradually reduces and thins out. It has minimal impact on the skin and can be used to care for pores and blackheads, making it quite a good choice.

    It does not immediately eliminate hair, and there are some individual differences from person to person, but it produces definite changes in hair quality and hair volume after about six months of use. In the sense that it steadily treats the issue while reducing the impact on the skin, this method comes recommended.

    [Click here for the pineapple and soy milk depilatory lotion from Suzuki Herb Laboratory]

  • Depilation cream
  • Depilation cream treats hair by applying a cream containing ingredients that dissolve it. The cream is left on the skin for a few minutes and then washed off. The advantage is that it is relatively inexpensive, making it easy to try, and it makes hair that has grown in less noticeable.
    If the ingredients do not agree with your skin, it may turn red or itchy, so if you have particularly sensitive skin or are using it on children's skin, choose a depilation cream that contains ingredients are beneficial to skin, or do a patch test before use.

    [Click here for the pineapple and soy milk depilation cream from Suzuki Herb Laboratory]

  • Razors and electric shavers
  • One of the easier at-home hair removal methods is shaving. Although inexpensive and immediately accessible, using a razor on the skin also shaves the skin itself, so doing it daily can cause dryness and pigmentation. Handled by a child, these implements could cause an injury, so they are not generally recommended for hair removal in children.
    Electric shavers are slightly more expensive than razors, but they are just as easy to use. Since the blade does not touch the skin directly, it is safer than a razor. However, care to not shave too deeply is required.

Epilation at home

Some of the at-home epilation methods available are as follows. Since they remove hair at the root, the skin may temporarily look clean, but there are also some points of precaution to be aware of.

  • Plucking
  • Caring for hair with tweezers is the most orthodox method of epilation. This keeps hair away for longer than depilation, but as the pore opening heals after being plucked, it may become blocked, causing hair to spiral inwards and become ingrown. Other risks include the formation of lumps and spots.

  • Waxing and taping
  • Waxing and tape epilation are methods of applying a special wax or tape to places where unwanted hair grows, then peeling it off at once to pull out the hair at the root. While this removes body hair well, it causes considerable damage to the skin and pores.

  • Home epilation implements
  • With a home epilator, you can perform hair removal treatments similar to those offered at aesthetic salons with an implement with reduced output for home use. Key advantages are that you can easily use these devices at home and that you do not have to ask someone else to perform the treatment for you if you feel shy about it, but the equipment can still cost several tens of thousands of yen, and the outcome is still limited compared to treatment at aesthetic salons.

Epilation performed at aesthetic salons

Epilation removal at aesthetic salons works by weakening the hair roots by applying heat with light to the body hair you want to remove. Since light reacts to black substances (melanin pigment), this can cause pain depending on the thickness (color intensity) of the hair while exposed to the light, but the advantage is that it puts less strain on the skin compared to laser treatment.
However, children's hair is more prone to regrowing while they are still developing, so there is a high likelihood that the epilation process will have to continue indefinitely. This makes it an unsuitable choice for hair removal for kids. One other factor that may put undue stress on children is the fact that they must avoid sunburn while undergoing treatment.

Epilation performed at medical institutions

Medical epilation involves a high-powered laser used to irradiate and destroy hair tissue and permanently remove it. In adults, who have a more stable hair cycle, these devices can be worth the high cost and time it takes, but in children, even if the hair is "permanently removed," it may in fact regrow as they develop secondary sexual characteristics, or due to their different hair cycle. In general, this option is suitable for adults, but nevertheless, there are clinics that offer medical hair removal designed for children, so it is worth considering.


Body hair need not necessarily be removed. While we tend to think of hair as "unwanted," it is, after all, part of what makes you an individual. Just as there are people with long hair or short hair and people with long or short nails, there are differences in body hair from person to person, so we need not compare ourselves with each other.
Moreover, body hair does not generally grow indefinitely: it grows to a certain length and then falls out before repeating that process. Therefore, it is not something that generally has to be cared for. If, despite that, you still wish to have less hair, daily use of lotion can surely lead to the results you seek.
The key to successful hair removal for kids comes down to parents working with them. Children's concerns about their own body hair can at times be even more serious than we adults may imagine. Some children may try to explore epilation or depilation themselves, but improper use can in fact damage the skin. It is therefore incumbent on parents to listen to their children's concerns and be proactive in finding a solution together, perhaps suggesting that "having more body hair means your body is more resilient at protecting itself." If you do decide to pursue epilation or depilation at home, make sure you follow up with moisturizing and additional care.
Since children have an unstable hair cycle and are in the midst of developing secondary sexual characteristics, generally speaking, you should focus on depilation, not epilation. One method is to work on long-term hair quality and thickness using lotions and depilatory creams while using an electric shaver or other implement to remove excess hair that you want to trim right away, then following up with moisturizer. You should employ a method that minimizes damage to the skin.