Nair is one of the most commonly used depilatory products on the market. Depilatory products are alternative hair removal methods that use chemicals to dissolve the protein (kinetin) structures of hair. This allows the hair to be easily wiped off of the body. Although generally safe for most people to use, there are potentially dangerous side effects that vary in severity depending on your specific skin type.
The active ingredients in Nair, such as calcium thioglycolate, can cause varying amounts of skin irritation, depending on how sensitive your skin is and what part of your body you are using the product on. Skin irritation can vary from a mild tingling or burning sensation to the appearance of a rash (chemical dermatitis).
To avoid skin irritation, avoid using Nair on more sensitive areas of the body (such as the face, armpits or genitals). The application of a soothing lotion, such as those containing aloe vera, may also lessen skin irritation.
The combination of the two main active ingredients, potassium thiogycolate and calcium hydroxide, creates a potent chemical mixture that can burn if left too long on the skin. According to the Nair directions, the recommended time for application is three minutes, with ten minutes being the absolute maximum. The amount of time needed to cause a chemical burn varies depending on how sensitive your skin is.
Experiencing an allergic reaction is also a dangerous risk you take when using Nair products. To avoid a severe reaction, always test the product on a small area of skin first to test how your skin reacts. Allergic reactions to Nair may include swelling, welt formation, rash, hives, difficulty breathing and dizziness. If you experience an allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately.
Chris Sherwood is a professional journalist who after years in the health administration field and writing health and wellness articles turned towards organic sustainable gardening and food education. He now owns and operates an organic-method small farm focusing his research and writing on both organic gardening methods and hydroponics.