Facial hair: unwanted facial hair
If you're one of many women suffering from unsightly facial hair, you don't have to live with it. Here are some options for removing it.
Women often have unwanted facial hair that appears on the upper lip, chin and sides of the face. Before deciding on the proper removal method, however, you should first determine that the cause of the hair growth is not down to hormones.
If you are experiencing abnormal hair growth on these specific areas of the face or if the hair is very thick, you might have a hormonal imbalance. Also, during pregnancy and while taking hormone replacement therapy, unwanted facial hair often crops up or growth is accelerated.
Most doctors advise waiting until your hormones settle down to begin treatment. Otherwise, the hair continues to be stimulated by the hormones and treatment isn't as effective.
Once you see your physician, he or she can recommend a removal regimen. There are several different options available.
Some women choose to tweeze unwanted hairs, but this isn't an ideal solution because repeated plucking can cause irritation of the hair follicle and, on darker-skinned women, may result in scarring. Also, hair will grow back thicker and stiffer once it's plucked. Unless you have just a few stray hairs that occasionally pop up, avoid tweezing unwanted hair.
These creams dissolve hair at the base of the follicle. They are ideal for widespread areas like the legs, but can be problematic when used on the face because they irritate the skin and often don't remove all of the hair. On the plus side, depilatory creams are relatively inexpensive. On average, results will last for one to two weeks before you'll need a top-up.
This is one of the most popular solutions for hair removal. Generally, it's an effective method to remove hair on the upper lip and fine hair on the sides of the face, but it's not recommended for the chin area where hair tends to be more coarse. Waxing may also be problematic for darker-skinned women, who sometimes experience discoloration due to irritation and inflammation. Depending on the type of hair you have, waxing results should last from two to six weeks.
This procedure uses low-level electricity to kill, or render inactive, the hair follicles. On the upside, results last longer than with waxing and depilatories, but the process can be time consuming and costly. Finding a reputable practitioner is key because electrolysis performed incorrectly can cause scarring.
Before you begin treatment, ask for referrals from former clients, and make sure that your practitioner uses a new needle for each session. Electrolysis has the best results on women with white or very blonde hair and for women who have isolated areas of unwanted hair.
Laser hair removal
This is the newest weapon for hair removal. The ideal candidate for laser work has fair skin and dark hair, but darker-skinned women can have good results with an experienced laser practitioner. Overall, laser hair removal is not very effective on light blonde or white hair.
Before you begin laser treatment, you should consult a dermatologist to determine if you are a good candidate. You also want to make sure that the person treating you (whether it's a doctor, registered nurse or qualified beauty consultant) is experienced. The three most important questions to ask during a consultation are:
How many patients have you treated?
You'll want to find a doctor who offers this treatment regularly, and not just as a one-off.
What kind of results can I expect?
Make sure your doctor gives you a knowledgeable, thorough, yet realistic explanation of what's to come.
Do you own the laser or rent it?
If the doctor owns the laser, this indicates he or she has committed a significant amount financially and is more likely to use the laser as a regular part of his or her practice.
Although laser hair removal is often billed as permanent, a more realistic expectation is that you'll see a 50 to 70 per cent reduction of hair after three treatments, performed six weeks apart. On facial areas, maintenance treatments are usually necessary for complete removal.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, charges for laser hair removal range. Most UK salons recommend four or five sessions, and almost all offer a discount for a course of, say, five or six treatments.
Finally, because laser rays can penetrate deeply, you should avoid this treatment on your eyebrows and in between your eyes. Instead, try tweezing, waxing or electrolysis for better results.