hair removal creams - safety? mechanism? long term effects?
I've been trying to figure out how safe hair removal creams really are. They can be very effective, but I don't understand how something so potent that it can dissolve my body hair can be safe to slather all over my skin on a weekly basis. But naturally there's very little info out there (i've even tried searching research papers and individual chemical Material Safety Data Sheets, and still nothing useful).
Apparently the main active ingredients are potassium (or calcium or sodium) thioglycolate, and potassium (or sodium) hydroxide. The only thing I can find on the mechanism of action is that they break down keratins in the hair follicle to loosen it, and then the hairs can be pulled painlessly right out. It just seems too good to be true, and what worries me is that keratin is a key structural protein in skin as well as in hair. So here's what I'm wondering:
- are there any long term side effects of using hair removal creams?
- what's the chance that they will cause skin to sag and wrinkle and age prematurely or more severely?
- is there something that specifically targets hair follicle keratin and not skin keratin? do these chemicals penetrate the dead skin layer into the living skin cells?
I'd really appreciate any help or direction to other resources. Thanks guys!