The curse of facial hair

Nov 22, 2011 by

shaving to remove unwanted hair

Is shaving the way to go?

One of the unfortunate consequences of growing older for women is an increase in facial hair. During our reproductive years our levels of oestrogen are high which means any facial hair is of the ‘vellus’ type. This is the soft white almost invisible hair as opposed to the strong coarse dark facial hair that men grow. As our oestrogen levels drop during menopause the production of the coarse hair increases and new hairs begin to sprout typically around the chin and jaw line. Obviously this is unattractive and we search for ways to get rid of it – preferably for good.

So what can we do?

1. Plucking with a tweezer is an effective solution except it does not prevent the hair from growing back and it can lead to spots or minor infections in the hair follicle. When you pluck you must make sure your tweezers and fingers are clean and pluck in the direction the hair grows. Many beauticians will tell you not to pluck because this makes the hair grow back thicker – this is not true. In fact over time regular plucking may eventually damage the follicle and prevent the hair from growing again. However plucking is very time consuming and tedious and only a temporary solution at best. It is useful for those moments when you are getting ready for an evening out and you suddenly spot this enormous black hair in the mirror.

2. Depilatory creams work well but can leave a red inflamed area or rash on sensitive skins. Be sure to test it out carefully first on a very small area of skin. The other problem with depilatory skins is that they remove ALL hair from the area they are applied. This means it removes all the soft, downy, vellus hair as well which can lead to an obvious bald patch under your make up. Creams are also messy and inconvenient as you have to hide yourself away in private whilst the deed is done.

3. Shaving I think we all agree is a big no no. Shaving may be a fast, cheap and very temporary solution but who wants a stubbly chin? Shaving can also be rather tough on your delicate facial skin and damage the surface. One tip I would subscribe to though is a snip with a pair of nail scissors. This can be very effective to get rid of a bunch of annoying fine hairs in a hurry without causing the stubble effect of shaving. It is particularly useful whilst other areas of your face are being treated with electrolysis or laser hair removal.

4. Laser hair removal has become very popular over the past 15 years or so since it was introduced. It uses long pulse laser beam to destroy hair in the follicle and must be carried out by a trained laser specialist or medical practitioner. I would be wary of having this treatment where a qualified doctor was not present. Laser technology works by targeting dark pigment which means, it works best on pale skin and dark coarse hair. The lighter the skin and the darker and more coarse the hair, the better are the results. You will need several treatments, 6-8 for example and several weeks apart as hair growth is cyclical and each hair enters a different growth phase at a different time. You will also need to stay out of the sun as a tan may increase the risk of side effects such as blistering or discolouration. The treatment works better on shaved hairs as the full force of the laser beam is directed at the follicle. Finally laser treatment does hurt. With each pulse, the feeling resembles a rubber band snapping against the skin. Pain is only felt while laser is hitting the skin and doesn’t last. Most people do not require an anaesthetic cream, though one can be prescribed to more sensitive patients. It is an expensive solution and unfortunately not permanent as many people experience re-growth.

5. Electrolysis has been a proven solution for many years now. A very fine needle is inserted into the hair follicle and a small electrical current is sent into the area. Electrolysis is the only method that offers permanent hair removal as long as it is performed precisely and correctly. Electrolysis should only be performed by a trained electrologist and preferably an experienced one who can judge just the right amount of current to destroy the hair follicle without causing too much pain. It is a painful procedure but each ‘zap’ is very quick and the pain does not last. Some people say that laser hair removal is actually the more painful procedure.
As with laser treatment it is important to choose a reputable establishment, personal recommendations are always a good way to decide. Ensure the premises are hygienically clean and that proper sterilisation methods are followed. Incorrectly applied electroylysis can cause permanent damage to your skin and/or lead to skin infections.
Electrolyis, like laser treatment will require several sessions to pick up the new re-growth of hairs and also because it is a tedious procedure as you are destroying each hair one by one. For this reason it is a good choice for facial hair but not suitable for large areas of skin. Usually each session should last no more than 15 minutes as you will find that is long enough! Speaking from personal experience the final results are worth the discomfort.

On a final note it is important to be aware that the body continually generates new hair and even permanent hair removal will not stop new hair follicles appearing. Plan a few hair removal sessions every so often, maybe only once every year or two. In between you can keep wild ones at bay with the occasional pluck and snip with the scissors.

Have you experience of both laser and treatment and electrolysis ? Which method do you think is best?

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2 Comments

  1. Vanita Liverpool

    Some really superb blog posts on this internet site, thanks for contribution.

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