Use of abrasives as a hair removal method.

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Use of abrasives
Forms of abrasives
Among the different methods of hair removal abrasives occupy a special place. This method of body hair removal uses pumice stones or special hair removal gloves to remove fine hair from the body. The gloves have a lining similar to sandpaper. Discs, belts, blast machines and sandblasters, as well as sheets, rolls, and handpads, also have abrasives implanted in them. Abrasives are materials that are used to smoothen or roughen surfaces through rubbing. These are used to scrape off metal, ceramics, glass, plastic and paint granules from a surface.

Types of abrasives
Abrasives are of several types. Aluminium oxide, zirconia alumina, silicon carbide, ceramic, borazon, grinding wheel, powdered glass, pumice dust, sand and sandpaper are some common abrasives. Some are used on bench or back stand grinders, while others on portable or hand-held grinders or sanders. Fine-grained graphite papers are used in metal and woodworking. Pumice stones made from powdered pumice rock are then pressed into solid "stone" shapes. These are available in shops, and their rough texture is ideal for removing dead skin from the feet.

The use of abrasives for hair removal was popular among the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, who were familiar with pumice stones, volcanic glass and other such hair removing substances.

Application tips
Application is simple. The gloves with abrasive linings, also called abrasive stones, are moved around the skin surface in a circular motion. The pressure applied should be light, and only the skilled practitioner knows just how much will suffice and not harm the skin. Abrasives are generally used on the scalp and the legs, and almost never on the face or wherever the skin is soft. When abrasives are rubbed over the skin the mechanical friction thus generated wears down the hair to the skin surface. It is advisable to trim the body hair before applying abrasives. Stubble is easier to wear down than long hair. The use of abrasives for hair removal is most popular in the African-American community.

The biggest advantage of using abrasives is that it is long lasting. It can take as long as three weeks for new hair to appear. Abrasives are also cheaper, easy to use and cause less irritation than do chemical depilatories or waxing.

It is not an entirely painless method, though the irritation caused is minimal and mostly endurable. But the biggest drawback of abrasives is the time they take to work. Itís a long, slow and tedious process that, most definitely, is not for the impatient city-bred sophisticate. S/he would rather shave than submit to the monotony that this method invariably involves. Then also, abrasives provide only temporary relief, making them quite unlike the laser beam or electrolysis. Be warned moreover that overuse of abrasives can cause serious harm to the skin. So keep a moisturizer or lotion handy at all times. As they do not remove the hair below the skin surface abrasives need to be applied frequently, which surely canít do much good to the skin even if it doesnít do perceptible harm.

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