There are two different types of facial hair–vellus hair (peach fuzz) which helps to regulate temperature and evaporate sweat, and terminal hair which is darker and thicker. Many women develop excess facial hair as they get older due to declining oestrogen levels and their own testosterone increasing, particularly pre and post menopause. However, genetics also play a part as does our natural colouring, with darker haired women tending to develop more noticeable hair along their upper and lower lips, sideburns, neck and chin.
Why do we get hair on our face?
What treatments are available?Fortunately, there are a number of options when it comes to facial hair removal, it’s a question of looking at your budget and the amount of time you’re prepared to dedicate to it.
LasersFor excessive facial hair, professional laser removal is often a good solution as it’s permanent. Lasers work by emitting intense beams of light that selectively destroy the root of the hair in the hair follicle, so long-term results are almost guaranteed. However, if hair is blonde, grey or white, lasers won’t work as the beam attaches to pigment in the hair root and lighter hair doesn’t have enough of this.
Pain factor: Lasers often have the reputation of being painful and although there can be some discomfort, it’s more like having an elastic band pinged gently and briefly against your skin. Most lasers also have a cool air system that blows cold air alongside the laser, helping to ease any discomfort. But not all skin types can handle the abrasive power of lasers so if your skin is very sensitive, you’re best to avoid them.
Commitment: Be prepared for the long haul with lasers–at least eight sessions are needed to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in growth. It’s essential to research a reputable clinic with qualified clinicians to minimise the possibility of scarring or damage to the skin.
ElectrolysisElectrolysis is often seen as a little dated since the growth and availability of laser hair removal. However, it is very effective for small areas such as the top of the lip, as it tackles each follicle on an individual basis and can also treat lighter hair colours. The procedure itself will take a little longer than laser as it is a more delicate process. A metal probe with an electrical current is applied to each individual hair follicle, where it emits heat into the root.
Pain factor: It feels like pinpricks and is uncomfortable rather than painful.
Commitment: Most hair follicles will only need one treatment, though sometimes more than one is needed.
DermaplaningDermaplaning is a painless, in-clinic way of removing facial hair using a blade to gently scrape away the peach fuzz, and has the benefit of removing any build up of dead cells which can make skin look dull. As Dr Ross Perry, EV Expert and Medical Director of Cosmedics says, “It’s an incredibly popular in-salon treatment that uses a painless blade and makes skin appear flawless, with makeup going on much smoother.”
Pain factor: Painless when in the hands of a professional. Don’t be tempted to try this at home as “professional dermaplaning uses a specific type of blade, and attempting it at home can cause infections, scars, ingrown hairs and sensitivity’,” says Dr Perry.
Comittment: This is a temporary form of hair removal that also leaves skin glowing. Your practitioner will advise you how often you should have the treatment to keep your skin looking it’s beat.
WaxingWaxing is effective if done regularly–every 2-6 weeks–and some women feel it also reduces growth, however it can also cause redness, irritation and inflammation that can take a few days to go.
Pain factor: Most people find it painful and not only that, it may not pick up all the hairs so you will have to tweeze out any stragglers.
Commitment: You'll need to wax every 2-6 weeks.
ThreadingThreading needs to be done by a beauty professional and involves a skilled practitioner pulling out the hairs in a criss-cross movement using cotton thread.
Pain factor: Depending on your pain threshold it can be painful, particularly in areas such as the upper lip.
Duration: Because the hair is pulled out at the root, it takes a while to return.
ShavingQuick and easy, because shaving blunts the edges of hair it can make it feel coarser when it grows, although shaving doesn’t actually make hair grow any thicker.
Pain factor: It shouldn’t hurt but it's easy to nick yourself, plus shaving can lead to ingrowing hairs which can lead to red and sore bumps.
Commitment: Every day to every other day–if you have terminal hair that's thick and coarse, you may get a five o’clock shadow.
Ross Perry, Medical Director
Dr Ross Perry is a leading aesthetic and dermatology doctor who specialises in botulinum toxins (Botox), fillers and...Book with Ross Perry