What are your options for facial hair removal?
What are your options for facial hair removal?
Medically reviewed by Elisabetta Liotta, MD.
Have you looked in the mirror lately and noticed some facial hair you’ve never seen before? Or maybe that recurring chin hair is now five recurring chin hairs? “Most women have some degree of facial hair, and genetics and hormonal fluctuations can play a role in the visibility and density of facial hair,” she said. Maya K.Thosani, MD, FAADa dual-certified dermatologist and owner of Modern dermatology.
As we get older, hormonal changes can cause hair to grow in areas like the upper lip, chin, and jawline. As many as 1 in 10 women will develop hirsutism, a condition that causes excessive growth of dark or coarse hair on a woman’s face, back, or chest. Most of the time, facial hair is just a cosmetic issue, but if you suddenly find yourself with more or darker facial hair, you should see your doctor.
The good news is that unwanted facial hair is easy to remove and there are several safe options for women to choose from. Here’s what you need to know about the different ways to get rid of unwanted facial hair.
How does facial hair waxing work?
Waxing involves applying hard or soft wax to the skin to remove hair from the follicle. With soft wax, a strip is applied over the hair and then stripped away, taking the hair with it. The hard wax adheres to the hair shaft by itself and is applied without a strip and removed directly by hand. Both methods allow an esthetician to dab the wax on the specific areas they want to remove hair from, rather than a larger area. The hair must be between one quarter to three quarters of an inch to remove and grows back in about three to six weeks.
The precision and speed are a boon for many women, and waxing is less painful than threading. You can also wax yourself at home with a DIY kit, which also makes it more convenient. Thasani cautioned that some people may find they are sensitive to the waxy material and may have rare allergic reactions. Waxing is not recommended if you have any sensitive skin or skin that is easily sunburned, has an allergy to any of the ingredients in the wax, or has taken a medication called isotretinoin within the past six months.
How does threading work?
Threading, which is performed by a certified esthetician, involves pulling a cotton thread along unwanted hair and removing it from the follicle. Second Brendan Camp, MD, a double board certified dermatologist with Medical Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery in New York, this is also a precise method to get rid of facial hair. “It’s natural and hygienic because it just involves a strand that’s discarded after use,” she explained. Hair grows back in about four weeks, and this method is ideal for people with dry or sensitive skin who might otherwise be irritated by waxing.
How does laser hair removal work?
Laser hair removal uses a laser to destroy the root of the hair follicle, meaning that specific hairs cannot grow back. Six to eight treatments may be needed to stop facial hair growth, four to six weeks apart from. According to American Academy of Dermatologylaser hair removal tends to work best for patients with light skin and dark hair, because the hair pigment absorbs laser light. When enough sessions are performed, laser hair removal is permanent on most areas of the body. This is not true for the facehowever, because hormones can encourage future hair growth down the line. Laser hair removal is also not cheap. It is one of the most expensive methods of hair removal.
How does sugaring work?
Sugaring is a way to get rid of facial hair using a paste made of lemon, water and sugar. The paste is applied to the hair in the opposite direction of growth. Once it dries, it is removed from short, darting movements which pull the hair in the direction it grows, which removes the hair from the follicle.
The process of sugaring is similar to waxing, but it can remove shorter hairs than waxing (eight to one-quarter inch of hair, rather than one-quarter to three-quarters of an inch) and can be a gentler alternative to waxing . Hair takes four to six weeks to grow back.
How do chemical hair removers (like Nair/Veet) work?
Depilatory creams dissolve the hair on and just below the skin’s surface. They can cause skin irritation and chemical burns if not used exactly as directed. And the results don’t last much longer than shaving. “Although easy, convenient, and inexpensive to use, hair removal creams only last two to five days until hair grows back, depending on the area treated,” Thasani said. If you’re trying a hair removal cream for the first time, be sure to test a small area of your body before applying the cream to larger parts of your body or your face to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.
How does facial hair removal and tweezing work?
You can use tweezers to pluck unwanted facial hair. When you pluck the right way, it removes the entire follicle, and the hair can take anywhere from two to six weeks to grow back. This method it can be painful, Although. And, second at least a studyIf you pull out a lot of hair from the same area, it can cause regrowth. Therefore, it may be best to pluck a hair or two from time to time and leave large areas for other methods.
How does electrolysis work?
With electrolysis, a skilled technician inserts a fine wire into the hair follicle below the skin’s surface. An electric current then travels along the wire to the bottom of the follicle, destroying the hair root. “Follicle damage impedes hair growth and causes existing hair to fall out,” Thasani said. Electrolysis is very precise, time consuming and expensive. The benefit is that it can be done for any hair color and skin combination and is often the only option for permanent hair removal of lighter or whiter facial hair.
Do natural facial hair removal remedies work?
A Google search will bring you face to face with many natural remedies for getting rid of facial hair. “Many of these (natural options) involve creating some sort of grippy material that clings to the hairs enough to pull them out by the root when creatively applied and removed,” Thosani said. “Some natural remedies involve allergenic compounds and can cause a rash, so always be careful when trying a natural home remedy.”
What to know before removing facial hair
- Some hair removal methods can make your skin sensitive to the sun or can cause irritation, redness and inflammation, especially if you have sensitive skin or conditions like eczema, rosacea or psoriasis.
- Some procedures may require the use of sun protection measures such as hats, sunglasses, and SPF afterward, and others, such as laser hair removal, may require you to be out of the sun for at least two weeks.
- People with darker skin tones may be at risk of hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) after facial hair removal. This can be a particular concern for women with certain medical conditions such as melasma or a history of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
- There can be a risk of infection with any hair removal method that breaks down the skin, such as waxing, threading, or electrolysis. Also, consult your doctor before starting any hair removal treatment, especially if:
- Have diabetes
- Have cancer
- Have melasma
- Have a history of long-term steroid use
- I am pregnant/breastfeeding
- Have thin or fragile skin
- Have epilepsy
- Use tretinoin or other topical skin medications
- Have permanent makeup
Check with your dermatologist before any type of hair removal treatment to make sure it’s a good option for you.
Stick to the pros
If you are not having your own facial hair removal, remember to always seek treatments from licensed and trained professionals, such as a licensed esthetician or certified dermatologists.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) ›
- Shaving Your Face: The Truth About Facial Hair ›
- Paving the Way for Puberty: A Guide for Parents of Teenage Girls ›