All women have some facial hair, but this is usually fine and light in colour. If the hair is thick, dark and coarse, however, it may become a problem. Women who suffer from excess facial hair may wish to look for ways to remove it or make it less visible.
There are many methods of facial hair removal, and which one suits you will depend on your preferences and how your body reacts to the various methods.
Why do I have excess facial hair?
Some women who suffer from excessive facial hair do so because of a hormone imbalance. The menopause, or conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), may cause women to have higher than usual levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone. Excess facial hair may also be more common in obese women, and women from certain ethnic groups may be more prone than others. For more information, please visit our article on Causes of Excess Facial Hair in Women.
What are the available methods of facial hair removal?
This is usually quick and easy. However, you may have to shave every day, and you may find you have unpleasant stubble in between shaves.
This is effective if done regularly (around every 2-6 weeks), and may reduce regrowth. However, it may be painful and can cause redness.
This can make dark hair less noticeable in the short term but it may irritate your skin. It also does not remove the hair, but merely lightens it so that it is less visible.
Facial threading practitioners pull hair out by a thread in a criss-cross movement. This will need to be repeated every 2-6 weeks. Levels of pain vary between women, but it is generally believed to be less painful than waxing.
Hair removal creams
Vaniqa, which we offer through our online service, is a cream which reduces hair growth by acting on enzymes in hair follicles. It is applied in a thin layer twice a day, and can provide a long-term solution to excess facial hair growth. You will have to continue to use it, as your facial hair will grow back in around eight weeks if you stop treatment.
A small electric charge is used to destroy hair cells and thereby remove hair permanently. This may take multiple treatment sessions over a long time, but the result is permanent. Treatment can be painful and change your skin colour.
Laser hair removal
Focused beams of light are used to destroy hair. A course of 6-8 sessions is usually needed, but, once completed, this treatment is permanent. This method is most effective on women with pale skin but dark hair. There is a small risk that your skin may burn or change colour.
Intense Pulsed Light is similar to laser treatment, but uses various light wavelengths (as opposed to laser removal, which uses a single wavelength). This is aimed at reducing the risk of burning. This treatment is not suitable for women with darker skin tones.
The contraceptive pill
This is only suitable for women who have not yet started the menopause. Several types of the combined contraceptive pill contain a synthetic hormone which suppresses male sex hormones in your body. The oral contraceptive pill is often the most effective method of treatment in premenopausal women as it can provide a long-term solution. However, it can take up to six months to work.
Co-cyprindiol (known as Dianette in the UK) is another contraceptive pill which can be used to treat excess facial hair as it prevents male sex hormones from working. You must stop taking co-cyprindiol soon after it has treated your excess facial hair, as it increases your risk of blood clots.