Help Me!
Facial Hair Removal Advice Needed!

And those facial hair removal pads on TV don’t work!

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Does this beauty crisis sound familiar?

Woman Waxing

I am a 27 year old female who suffers from excessive facial hair and ingrown hairs on my chin. I have dark skin but the hair, bumps and discoloration are still very noticeable. It's been a problem for the past 4 or 5 years and I really need help. Please give me some tips in the "Help Me!" section. Thanks CBSG!

So what in the world should you do about it?

A woman in need of facial hair removal may be embarrassed or experiencing anxiety on an almost daily basis. Please be assured that feeling this way is normal and that there are many other people suffering from the same condition. The good news is that there are many facial hair removal methods and even ways to prevent facial hair! These range from cheap and minimally effective to expensive and very effective. If you read this article you should definitely be able to find the solution for you. However, suffering from ingrown hairs, as well, complicates the facial hair removal problem because it makes facial hair removal difficult and it adds bumps and discoloration to the mix. This article will attempt to address both of these issues. If you do not suffer from ingrown hairs you can skip ahead to the “Facial Hair Removal Methods” section.

Ingrown Hairs on the Face

Ingrown hairs are a pain in the neck (and sometimes literally!) The hair gets trapped on its way out of the skin which results in a bump and discoloration. If you have ingrown hairs, and the bumps and discoloration that come with them, there are three key things you need to do:

1. Prevent the ingrown hairs.
2. Visit your dermatologist.
3. Choose a facial hair removal method.

Prevent Ingrown Hairs. If you are prone to ingrown hairs, exfoliation is a great habit to cultivate. It sloughs off the dead skin cells that cause the hairs to become trapped below the skin. This way the hair can come through to the surface without getting trapped and creating a bump and discoloration. Be sure to exfoliate the area daily with a wash cloth. Using creams or gels with salicylic acid will also help to prevent ingrown hairs by exfoliating the skin. Be sure to only use products labeled “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic”.

Visit Your Dermatologist. You can find a dermatologist in your Yellow Pages. Your insurance may cover all or some of the cost of your visits and medications. A dermatologist will decide if you should be prescribed medications such as antibiotics, or medications that reduce the production of androgen which often contributes to the problem. Birth control pills used to prevent acne may also be helpful. They also may decide to prescribe you Vaniqa. This is a prescription medication that inhibits facial hair growth, so you will have less of a chance of ingrown hairs and less hair to remove. It is FDA approved and clinically proven for this use.

Choose a Facial Hair Removal Method. The following facial hair removal methods are listed in the order that we recommend them. The most effective methods of facial hair removal are of course the most expensive. The method we recommend the most for facial hair removal combined with ingrown hairs is the laser facial hair removal method. But you would be best served to read every single option and choose the one that’s right for you.

Facial Hair Removal Methods

Lasers: If you have a lot or also have ingrown hairs on your face, you will have to pay more money to really resolve the problem, to be perfectly blunt. Dr. Alan Rockoff, M.D. advises the following. “For problem cases, laser is an excellent option if your skin is brown or black or you have fair untanned skin. Laser is fine even for sensitive skin. The risk of permanent scarring is minuscule, when treatment is done properly.” Laser facial hair removal will get rid of the hairs and therefore the bumps and discoloration as well. Per the American Academy of Dermatology, “The intense pulsed light (IPL) (lasers)…work best on light-skinned, dark-haired individuals because dark pigments in the surrounding skin cannot absorb the light they emit. Lasers with longer wavelengths, such as the Nd:YAG lasers, have the ability to treat darker skin types including African-American skin.” People with blonde, red, or gray hair used to not have any laser options that worked because their hair was too light to absorb the laser. However, light haired people may now have success with the Epilight or ELOS lasers, or may choose a pre-laser pigmenting (hair dyeing) treatment known as Meladine (FDA approved) which will make the lasers more effective. Regular hair dyes do not work for this purpose. Laser facial hair removal is more affordable than many think because the treatments are spaced several months apart, so you often don’t need to pay for the entire treatment cycle in one large lump sum, just one treatment at a time. Some insurance companies will even pay for these treatments. Laser facial hair removal is not permanent, however the results last for a long time and after a series of these treatments every few months, you should only require an annual touchup. Laser facial hair removal should only be done in a facility supervised by a board-certified physician. Usually, because hair grows in cycles, you will require several sessions before you see results. On average, you will pay anywhere from $200 to $500 per session and will require between 3 to 6 sessions spaced several months apart and then an annual touch up session. You can find a laser hair removal clinic in your Yellow Pages. As far as pain, this method is far less painful than electrolysis, although some people report that it feels like they are being snapped by rubber bands. People who can afford laser facial hair removal are often very happy with the results.

Electrolysis: Electrolysis is a way to permanently get rid of the hair on the face. If there is no hair, then there will be no ingrown hairs and the bumps that come with them. This method of facial hair removal is very expensive, time-consuming and painful, however. A needle delivers an electrical shock to the root of a hair follicle which kills it and thus prevents the hair from growing back. However, this process must be done to every single hair follicle so prepare to spend lots of time with your electrologist. And each time this happens you will feel the pain again. Like laser hair removal there is a minimal risk of irritation and scarring. However, if you can withstand the pain and spend one or two thousand dollars, you will be hair free for the rest of your life, which may make it all worth it in the end!

Shaving: This is the most affordable facial hair removal method and it is extremely easy to do. Yes, many women do shave their facial hair, they just don’t admit it. The drawback to this type of facial hair removal is that the hair often grows back in less than a day and if you do not remember to do it everyday, the “whiskers” will poke out very prominently. Also, if you have a lot of facial hair this may result in the “five o’clock shadow” look and feel. Some people report that shaving irritates their skin and others report that the hair appears to grow in thicker once shaved. The hair does not grow back thicker, that is a myth. It just feels that way when the hairs are short and poking out. If you choose to shave your facial hair, you should invest in a great razor, one containing three or more blades. This will give your skin a smoother feel. These razors are usually less than ten dollars at the drug store and you can buy refill cartridges to save money. Our favorite razor designed for women is Gillette Venus. As far as shaving cream, you may wish to forgo this if it causes your skin to break out. The above is only true if you do not suffer from ingrown hairs. If you do suffer from ingrown hairs, shaving may further exacerbate the problem. However, it may work if you use a one blade razor (less irritating) and a shaving cream containing benzoyl peroxide, such as Benzashave. You should also shave in the direction of the hair growth. Everyones' skin and amount of hair is different so you need to experiment. You will often forget to shave the hair everyday so it’s a good idea to carry a razor in your purse for emergency touch-ups. For those who break out in razor bumps when shaving, Tend Skin, sold at is the solution for many.

Tweezing: The most common method of removing ingrown hairs is to gently lift them (not pluck them) out with needle nose tweezers. This method of facial hair removal is affordable and easy to do. However it can be painful or irritating. Most of us use tweezers only on our eyebrows, although they can be used on other areas of the face. Many people do not tweeze because there is a major ouch factor, but if it’s just a few hairs this may be the method for you. You can reduce the ouch factor by holding an ice cube to the skin for about ten seconds to numb it somewhat first.

Waxing: This method of facial hair removal removes the hair for longer than shaving but can be extremely painful. A wax is spread over the hair, a gauze is applied over that and then is ripped off after a certain period of time. This facial hair remover is not for the faint of heart. To reduce pain, do not get waxed during your period, and take a warm shower before you go to your appointment. Take aspirin or ibuprofen about half an hour before your wax. We do not recommend any at-home waxing kits, so you would want to have this done by a professional. This can get expensive.

Bleaching: Some people choose to forgo facial hair removal and bleach their facial hair instead to make it less noticeable. The most commonly used brand of facial hair bleach is Jolen Crème Bleach. You can find this at almost any drug store. CVS pharmacy sells a generic brand of this which usually works just as well. You simply mix a cream with a powder, apply to your facial hair, wait several minutes and then wash it off. This is also an affordable and easy-to-do option. The drawback is that this only really hides the hair if you have very little of it. If you have a lot of hair you may just go from a dark mustache to a blonde one. Also some people may experience irritation of the skin.

Depilatory creams: This method of facial hair removal is affordable and easy to do. These creams are available at drugstores and can remove the hair for several days. However, often times they will remove some of the hair but not all of it which can be very frustrating. You have to apply the cream and then wait several minutes before washing it off. When some of the hair remains this may feel like a waste of time and money. These creams have a tendency to smell bad and may cause your skin to breakout. However, if you choose to experiment with this method, which does work for some, you may want to try Nair Depilatory Cream for Face.

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