Today’s women are now much more open when it comes to talking about personal problems with even the most intimate of matters receiving airing without embarrassment. However unwanted facial hair remains an area to which most women are still quite sensitive.
Every woman has facial hair but in our image sensitive society, excessive facial hair can be a cause of great distress with sufferers losing their self-confidence and feeling of femininity. Throughout history different methods of facial hair removal for women have been employed. Now there is a wide array of different systems including many high-tech methods some of which are permanent. It is now simply a matter of choosing the best facial hair removal method for any given skin & hair type after considering your lifestyle and budget.
Before deciding on the best facial hair removal method, it is worth looking at some of the reasons for this hair growth. Some medical conditions can cause excessive facial hair so treating these conditions can naturally reduce facial hair. Facial hair growth is associated with some medical conditions which cause hormonal imbalance such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or any of the adrenal gland disorders. Some types of medication can also give rise to facial hair growth. Some medications to control high blood pressure and certain types of birth control products may present hair growth as a side effect. Natural periods of hormone imbalance can also stimulate hair growth; puberty and menopause being the main ones.
The usual trigger for such hair growth is when the delicate balance between the levels of male and female hormones is upset. Excessive levels of androgens can result in male-pattern facial hair growth hence the appearance of sideburns, “lady-taches” and chin hairs. There is also a genetic factor and facial hair simply seems to run in certain families. Race can also play a part with those originating from the Indian sub-continent often showing more of a tendency to grow facial hair than some other races and those from Eastern Asia, Native Americans and the Inuit people having very little facial hair, including the men.
DIY Facial Hair Removal
There are many different methods of removing facial hair some being suitable for home use and others requiring the services of highly skilled technicians.
For those preferring to carry out their own treatment at home, there are several choices. The most basic methods simply involve the physical removal of the growing hairs. This usually involves shaving, plucking or waxing. For shaving, the most popular method is to use one of the many electric “lady-shave” tools. Some of these can be used in either wet or dry mode and they are normally small enough to provide a very accurate shave. They can produce excellent results leaving skin smooth, soft and hair-free but of course have the disadvantage of not providing a permanent hair removal solution and shaving needs to be carried out on a regular basis. As the hair is only removed at the level of the skin surface, it soon grows back and, as it does so, can present a rough stubbly skin texture. Plucking requires no explanation but is usually used to remove thick hairs rather than to treat large areas of downy hair growth. Some people report that, after plucking, hairs sometimes regrow thicker and
Plucking requires no explanation but is usually used to remove thick hairs rather than to treat large areas of downy hair growth. Some people report that, after plucking, hairs sometimes regrow thicker and more wiry or can even cause an ingrowing hair. Waxing is again a well known technique where warm wax is applied using a spatula and fabric strips added which, when pulled off, remove the hairs. Apart from being painful, this method is best used for fine rather than coarse hairs. The treatment can cause discolouration on dark skin and a temporary rash. Regrowth normally occurs in 2 to 6 weeks. It can be carried out in a salon or at home.
Facial Hair Removal Cream
Another alternative is the use of a depilatory (hair removing) cream. The cream is simply applied to the area being treated, left for a few minutes and then removed along with the hairs.
In many ways this is similar to shaving but the keratin which forms the hairs is simply dissolved rather than cut. As with shaving, regrowth is fairly rapid and often stubbly. Many users also find these products to have an unpleasant smell.
Permanent Facial Hair Removal
Various technologies exist with the potential to offer permanent facial hair removal. In most cases, equipment manufacturers and practitioners do not guarantee 100% success but tend to describe their products and services as providing “hair reduction” but in practice, many of these techniques can be extremely successful but for best results many treatment sessions may be required.
Laser Facial Hair Removal
This is one of the best known treatments for the removal of facial hair. The application of a laser results in the destruction of the hair follicles thus preventing any possibility of regrowth. It is a highly skilled procedure which should only be carried out by someone with the required level of expertise. For best results, a course of treatment (usually 6 to 8 sessions) is required.
There is some danger of skin damage and burning and the subsequent possibility of hyperpigmentation (dark blotches) when exposed to the sun. Such risks will be minimised when highly competent technicians perform the procedure. This treatment can provide a long term solution to the problem but is not cheap. It also is a long drawn out process normally needing a period of 4 weeks between sessions. It is not a pleasant experience. A stinging pain is experienced along with the smell of burning. Laser treatment works best with dark well-pigmented hair and contrasting pale skin. It is therefore not effective for blonde, white or grey hair or dark skin. Luckily for the dark thick growth associated with PCOS it is usually highly effective and treatements for women with these conditions can be life changing.
Electrolysis Facial Hair Removal
Electrolysis is another well known treatment but in this case the hair follicle is destroyed by the application of an electric current via a sterilised needle. This again results in a stinging sensation but each hair follicle is completely disabled. One downside is that each follicle has to be addressed individually meaning that for complete success many sessions, maybe a dozen or more, may be needed. Electolysis is suitable for all hair and skin types.
IPL Facial Hair Removal
The use of Intense Pulsed Light is, in many ways, similar to Laser treatment but is considered to be gentler with less risk of burning or hyperpigmentation.
Light of various wavelengths is employed rather than the single wavelength laser. It is most effective in the case of light skin/dark hair but other skin and hair types can also be accommodated.
Threading Face Hair Removal
Threading is an ancient technique used for removing facial hair. A cotton thread is tied around the hairs in a series of knots and the hairs are then pulled out by the roots. Despite the low tech nature of this technique, repeated treatments are said to eventually destroy the hair follicles. It must of course be carried out by someone with the suitable knowledge and expertise. Multiple sessions are required for a completely successful outcome.
Other Facial Hair Removal Products and Tools
Although Laser use is restricted to Salon treatment, there is an increasing tendency to use high tech facial hair removal tools at home with new products constantly appearing on the market. Epilators operate as powered hair pluckers often plucking at a rate of around 200 hairs per second. Other popular tools employ IPL technology sometimes along with RF (radio frequency) pulses to effectively destroy hair follicles. There are also many home remedies for facial hair removal which may or may not actually work. Most of these use harmless ingredients and are cheap and simple use so may be worth a try.
With so many different treatments available, unwanted facial hair really does not have to be a problem any more.