You’re looking in the mirror one day, and you see it. It could be a few stray, coarse hairs dotting your chin. Or your jawline. Or your upper lip. And sometimes, it’s more than a few stray hairs.
It’s unwanted facial hair.
Horrified? Don’t be. Facial hair growth is an incredibly common occurrence. In fact, about 40 percent of women have some sort of facial hair.
Whether or not you experience facial hair growth can depend on:
- Hormonal imbalances3
- Time of life – for example, you’re more likely to experience facial hair growth during and after menopause4
So, How Can I Get Rid Of It?
Obviously, if it’s just a few stray hairs here and there, you can use tweezers to pluck them out. You can even invest in a magnifying mirror to make sure you’re really getting at them.
But, if you’re looking for solutions for more widespread hair growth, you can try the following options:
1. Depilatory Creams
Depilatory creams are a simple, inexpensive way to remove unwanted hair. And you can do it in the comfort of your own home.
Depilatory creams use chemicals to break down hair proteins just beneath the surface of the skin. When these hair proteins break down, they easily dissolve and can be rinsed away with water.5
The process is fairly simple: You just apply the cream to clean dry skin and let it absorb for the suggested amount of time. Then you rinse product off, along with the unwanted hair. You repeat the process about once every two weeks.
Of course, these creams do have their drawbacks. Some people may experience skin irritation, so it’s best to do a spot test before doing a whole treatment.
And always make sure you choose a depilatory cream specifically for the face – body formulas may be too harsh on delicate facial skin.
Waxing is usually done in a salon. It involves the application of hot wax to the treatment area, which is then pulled off after it hardens – taking hair along with it. The process can be somewhat painful, but results usually last about a good four weeks.
Side effects are usually minimal, although you may also experience some irritation or skin hyperpigmentation after repeated treatments.6
Waxing is a relatively affordable way to remove unwanted facial hair, with treatments priced at about $10 to $40.
Dermaplaning is a great option if you’re looking to get rid of fine facial hair – otherwise known as “peach fuzz”.
Dermaplaning is usually done by an esthetician, either at a spa or in a dermatologist’s office.
The process involves the use of a curved, 10-inch scalpel or blade – but it’s not as scary as it sounds! The blade is gently run over the surface of the skin in gentle, upward motions. This removes the top layer of dead skin cells, along with “vellus hairs” – aka peach fuzz.
Dermaplaning hits two birds with one stone: it removes facial hair, but also resurfaces the skin — resulting in a brighter, smoother complexion.
The results of dermaplaning last about 3 to 4 weeks, and treatments run about $100.
4. Laser Hair Removal
Laser treatments are for when you’re ready to do some serious – and more long-term – hair removal.
When considering laser hair removal, it’s important to keep skin type in mind. The ideal candidate will have pale skin with dark, coarse hair. Those with lighter hair or peach fuzz may see less effective results.7
Laser hair removal works by aiming a powerful beam of light at hair follicles. This light converts to heat under the skin and this heat – in turn – damages the hair follicle. This damage inhibits future hair growth. Treatments are repeated every four to six weeks, until hair growth is permanently eradicated. It may take as many as as ten treatments to permanently stop hair growth, but many people see results after three to four treatments. 8
The process is somewhat painful – it can feel like the snap of a rubber band. It’s also necessary to avoid sun exposure for six weeks before and after treatments. And laser hair removal treatments do come at a price: Each treatment costs about $200 to $700. Of course, it does mean eventually never having to pluck or wax again …
A laser treatment is a more serious procedure than other forms of hair removal. With that in mind, be sure to use an experienced doctor or technician to ensure safety.
Electrolysis is a great option for all hair types.
Electrolysis is performed by an esthetician who will insert a small electric device with a needle (an epilator) into the skin. The epilator emits an electric current to each individual hair follicle. This electric current damages the follicle and prevents future hair growth.9
Electrolysis can be slightly painful, and you might experience skin reddening and a little irritation after the procedure is performed.
Electrolysis is cheaper than laser treatments – about $50 per session – but you’re more likely to need additional follow-up visits than you normally would with laser treatments.
Unwanted Facial Hair? See Ya Later!
Don’t fret if you’re spotting some whiskers on your face. Not only is it a common problem, it’s also a solvable one. You can try a depilatory cream at home, or visit an esthetician for waxing or dermaplaning. And, if you’re ready to commit, you can try more permanent solutions, like laser hair removal or electrolysis.