Facial hair is included in a long list of hush-hush topics women often feel pressured to ignore. While we openly talk about our awkward encounters during a Hollywood wax, when it comes to the hair on our faces, we avoid any mention of it.
We tend to focus on the aesthetic impact of having facial hair, but it can also have an emotional impact. In fact, research suggests 40% of women with facial hair feel uncomfortable in social settings. And it's understandable, given that we don't talk about it often enough.
Facial hair is also way more prevalent than you might think. While it varies from peach fuzz to hirsutism, many women are looking for solutions. We spoke with Stefanie Williams, MD, dermatologist and founder and medical director at Eudelo, to find out the causes and solutions for facial hair.
What's the cause of unwanted facial hair?
It's tricky knowing where to start if you're looking for a solution to facial hair. There can be quite a few causes of facial hair, so it's always a good idea to seek medical advice if you have concerns. "The two most common reasons for facial hair are genetic reasons, as certain ethnic groups, for example, tend to have more facial hair than others, or sometimes it runs in families," Williams explains. "The other is hormonal imbalances with male hormone levels that are too high, such as free testosterone, compared to female hormones.
This is called hirsutism and can occur together with hair loss on the scalp, acne and ovarian cysts."
What skin treatments are recommended?
Depending on the cause of your facial hair, there are many treatments available to help you. To treat the hair itself, hair removal methods are your best bet.
Williams advises: "Common home and salon methods such as plugging, waxing, hair removal creams or bleaching (so dark hair becomes less visible) can be used. However, these are all temporary and need to be repeated at regular intervals. For more long-lasting results, IPL and laser hair removal are very effective for most skin types. For safety reasons, I wouldn’t recommend this for darker skin because of the risk of post-inflammatory pigmentation. It’s also not an effective method if the hair is red, light blonde or grey (the more colour contrast between hair and skin, the better)."
Head to a clinic for a consultation, as your skin type and other skin concerns might dictate what method will be the most suitable for you." Williams adds. "Laser/IPL hair removal is also recommended if there is a tendency for ingrown hair. They leave the hair follicle empty—when done regularly—which avoids the issue of regrowing hair having to find its way through the horny layer of the skin."
Are there other treatments available?
If your facial hair is endocrine or medication related, then laser and other hair removal methods will probably deal with the hair itself but not the underlying causes. Likewise, if your hair or skin type isn't suitable for lasers, there are still over treatments. Consult a medical professional, as they'll investigate what's going on and prescribe the best treatment plan for you. Oral treatments such as birth control pills and spironolactone—which reduce hormone levels—are usually used. There's also a prescription cream called Vaniqa, which reduces the growth of facial hair.
Looking for an at-home solution? Take a look at these…
Using an IPL at home for the first time can be daunting. Rest assured, this is an industry favourite and for good reason. It has different energy settings and a sensor to check the best one for your skin tone.
With an ergonomic design that removes hair from the root for up to four weeks. It also includes a rather nifty cleansing brush too.
These innovative facial hair removing springs might look a little odd, but you'll be seriously impressed with the results.
Next up, we talk about bum spots.