Does using an epilator reduce/increase hair?

I’ve often read online that using an epilator reduces hair over time because it damages the hair follicle causing hair to grow back thinner and some to not grow back at all.

However, my electrologist told me that the exact opposite occurs. Because epilating damages the follicle it causes blood flow to increase to the area, making hair grow back thicker and some inactive hair follicles to become active.

Which is correct?

It depends.

Sometimes hairs will become larger in diameter with mechanical epilation…sometimes hair will disappear with mechanical epilation. The factors are hormonal influence/enzyme in the area that results in hormones turning on hair follicles or not. It’s all a crap shoot. Know that electrolysis will destroy the follicles hair growing ability. The only crap shoot there is selecting a good electrologist!

[color:#006600]I used rotary epilators for a while. Actually, anyone can go back on my posts and dig the posts up if they wanted. Anyway, I found that rotary epilators did not make my hair get gradually thinner. Not at all. In fact, it made fine hairs grow back a bit coarser.
What I found, was that hairs that were whispy, tapered, and had natural curve to them, when rotary epilated, would grow back straighter, darker, and no longer had the natural contour whispiness. They were like “Frankenhairs” , they grew out very unnatural looking. The direction and shape of the hair no longer matched the contour of the skin. I hated the look. And this is first hand experience I’m talking from.

Now, you didn’t say whether you , yourself, was thinking of using a rotary epilator. If you are, DON’T. They are terrible. They are more accurately “ingrown hair machines”, I got tons of ingrowns from using them, and I followed all the precautions and aftercare. It still didn’t help. If you’re going to do anything similar to that, instead, learn to wax. For some reason, it’s much better at effectively pulling out the hairs uniformly and gently.

Rotary epilators will give you “oatmeal” skin :o. It’s this lumpy appearance that results from all the harsh breakage and trauma the skin undergoes with rotary epilation. I can always spot someone who rotary epilates, even to this day.

Anyway, hope it answered your question, and then some.[/color]

My hair grows back to it’s full force if I give it enough time. Not thinner or thicker. It’s mostly back in about a week and completely back in a couple of months. I’m a guy and I use it only on my arms/legs. I had to give up on chest/stomach because I was getting too many ingrown hairs there. My hair is already unnaturally coarse/thick even for a guy though.

My mother who at one point used epilators mentioned to me that her hair forever grew back thinner, but I have a hard time believing it.

I’ve used an epilator on and off for probably the past five years or so (usually just during the summer on my legs). I’ve got to say that I think it may well have led to some thinner areas of hair on my legs. The hair generally grows quite thickly there, but I have noticed certain patches where there now seems to be far less hair, some small almost bare areas in fact (and they don’t seem to be where there would just naturally be less hair growing).

I know it’s impossible for me to say that it’s definitely the epilating that caused it, but I’m happy about it anyway!

Ya i used one for a couple years in the 90’s and it also made mine worse: coarser, deeper and very “frankenhair” too lol. The rotary would actually jam up and tangle the hair but couldnt pull out my freakish hairs in the end. Thank good for laser. wish i had pics of my old hairs.

Barbara is correct. Sometimes mechanical epilation reduces hair growth and at other times it makes it worse. Anecdotal reports of specific cases have no bearing on how a given individual will respond.

I have to disagree from personal experience, but this IS PERSONAL expereance, epilation of my (male) legs has resulted in a huge reduction of re-growth, so much so I only need to use the device once a week to keep fully smooth, maybe I am just a lucky chappy with few hairs to remove, but I have been shaving my legs for over 20 years! And that was a daily chore! Oh, if only braun had had the new Tech back then… Hey ho got it now!! WooHoo!!!

You are a single, isolated case, however it is true that mechanical hair removal on the extremities (arms, legs) will more often than not result in a reduction in hair growth. This is not always the case with the face, especially in male patterned (lip, chin) areas. My original comment was based on 32 years in the hair removal business and observing thousands of cases where client had tweezed, waxed, shaved and used chemical depilatories.

lucky me then

I have used a mechanical epilation in the past, it caused ingrown hairs for me. I frequently was pinched by the thing, on the inside of my thighs, OUCH! The pinch left me bruised. I’m glad I don’t use it any more.

Have you ever tried stopping and not doing anything for a year to see whether it actually has made any difference to your hair growth?

Epilating is supposed to remove the whole hair from the follicle, not just cut it like shaving, so of course follicles will remain without a hair for a while. You can’t compare those two. I’d say if you left the hair alone for 2 months and went for a professional wax at a good salon, the results would last longer than what you experience with your epilator.

I love my rotary epilator! I use it on my upper legs which aren’t coarse and dark enough to laser, too expensive to electrolysis, too coarse to wax at home, and I hate shaving. I have noticed a reduction in growth on my upper legs. Hair is lighter, thinner and sparser, but doesn’t grow back and slower. I get some ingrown hairs around my bikini line, but not that bad, and not enough to bother me.

I would not use it on my face - when I tried, I had increased hair growth.

Those who have read lots of the forum here know that we have said for years, eyebrows and legs hairs can actually reduce from repeated plucking, tweezing, and waxing, because those follicles are shallow enough in the skin to fill up with scar tissue. Any type of ripping hairs out of the follicle practiced on the rest of the body tends to cause hairs to grow back, thicker, darker and maybe even distorted. It is often the case that all three will happen when facial hairs are ripped out repeatedly.

still being lucky, no pain, no gain, and no regrowth on my legs. WooHooo!!!

Have to say there must be something in the hair retardant moisturiser that assists my predilection?

I am glad that I am an isolated case, that means there are more of us than you are aware of , Thank you!!!

in my case, using an epilator reduced the number of hairs but I’ve been using an epilator for 7 years now
of course, if I’d go on without epilaton for months in a row then I think that I would end up having to remove a great number of hairs but I never let more than a month pass without using my epilator

I find that if you use it on your legs and under arms as I do the hair does reduce like waxing however if you used it on any traditional male area’s which I haven’t done and never would but from what I have read on the upper lip or chin it will make the hair darker or thicker better to stick with dipilator creams or snipping with scissors only if your seeking electrolysis which I’m hoping will be my permanent solution to chin hair.

There is no way to predict what will happen. There are genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors that can affect the regrowth. Sometimes it can thicken hair growth and sometimes it will lessen it. There are some legitimate concerns that plucking or tweezing hair can make it difficult to use more permanent forms of hair removal.