If you're in a hurry to remove unwanted hair, depilatory creams are a good bet. They're easy to apply and effective in the short run by removing hair just below the skin's surface. Their disadvantage is that the chemicals that "burn" off hair can also cause skin irritation. Those with very sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate depilatory creams. (Never use depilatory creams around the eye area.)
For best results, first apply a warm washcloth to the area; this will soften the hair and open the follicles so the depilatory can be better absorbed. Never exceed the recommended time for leaving the cream on the skin. When removing the cream, use a washcloth to wipe it off instead of simply rinsing (additional pressure can help remove more of the hair shaft). This type of hair removal lasts several days.
Depilatory creams contain sodium thioglycolate and calcium thioglycolate to dissolve the keratin that makes up the hair. When these chemicals mix with the hair there's often a mildly unpleasant sulphur like odor that goes away when the cream is rinsed.
Test depilatory cream on your forearm before using it to determine whether your skin reacts to it adversely (some cause skin discoloration or staining; others provoke allergies). If your skin breaks out when using a depilatory cream, wash the area with an anti-bacterial solution (like Betadine) and apply an antibiotic (such as Neosporin) or cortisone cream to reduce the inflammation. And never apply a depilatory to an area that has any cuts, scratches or other wounds.