Unwanted Facial Hair: What’s a gal to do?

May 13, 2008 at 9:25 am 32 comments

This is my facial hair dilemma.  

As a younger woman, I dealt with thick eyebrows and upper lip facial hair.  Now, those hairs aren’t as prolific, matter of fact, my eyebrows are thinning and graying.  Come back my thick, dark eyebrows, come back!

Chin hairs are my biggest issue nowadays.  I almost daily pluck these obnoxious stray hairs on my chin.  The amount of hair isn’t enough to warrant waxing or shaving (thank goodness), however, they keep coming back, and sometimes the the plucking causes an irritation or inflammed bump around the hair follicle.  

I looked into a laser hair removal treatment of my chin and upper lip hair, and it isn’t cheap.  The hair removal clinic also informed me if the hairs are light that the laser will not be effective.   And since about 50% of my facial hairs are blond or gray, and I wonder if the cost would still be worth it and would achieve the desired result. 

In general, laser facial hair removal works best in those with dark hair on lighter skin, however newer technologies have made the procedure safe and effective in those with darker skin as well. Blonde, red, or gray hairs are generally less responsive to laser hair removal treatment.  Coarse hair (terminal hair) responds much better to laser hair removal treatment than fine hair or “peach fuzz” (vellus hair). – Vaniqa website

I have also wondered if anyone here has used Vaniqa with any success?  Vaniqa is the prescription strength cream that was developed to remove unwanted facial hair. 

VANIQA (eflornithine HCl) Cream, 13.9% doesn’t remove hair like other products you may be using. Instead it actually reduces the growth, and complements your current method of hair removal, which you should continue to use.

The Vaniqa site also suggests a slight improvement in permanent hair removal if you use this cream in conjunction with the laser hair removal treatments.  Makes sense to me, but between the cost of the cream and the laser treatments, I bet it will end up costing about $500.  Ugh!   I would rather try one, and see if the other is still warranted.  The question is, which one?

I would love to hear about your experiences with facial hair removal.  Any successes or horror stories are welcomed.

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32 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tracy m  |  May 13, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    I read this this morning, and came back this afternoon hoping to have a ton of comments to help me- but alas! So, I will start…

    I hate this horrid little secret that begins to creep in as the dark side of the thirties roll around. Once upon a time, way back when I was in my twenties, I had a roomate in her thirties. She told me once I hit my thirties, sure enough, those random little hairs started sprouting. Dang! She was right!

    Now, at 36, every morning not only do I check my eyebrows, but I have to check my chin, too. I HATE IT!!

    I thought about trying Vaniqa, but the doc said I had to be done reproducing, becauce of a specific birth defect it causes- not really my cup of tea.

    So, instead, I have my little magnifier mirror and my trusty tweezers. I wish I could solve it once and for all, but I’ll probably never shell out $500 for laser removal.

  • 2. tracy m  |  May 13, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    WAIT! I made myself older! I will BE 36- for now, I’m still 35!!!

  • 3. jen38  |  May 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Tracy you are too funny, and I love that “dark side of 30” statement. Hold on to 35 as long as you can!

    I wouldn’t mind the plucking, but it is those nasty ingrown bumps I get sometimes! Grrrr!

  • 4. Critty  |  May 13, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    Ugh, I found a chin hair yesterday and am not very happy about it! Is this what I have to look forward to???

  • 5. Meredith  |  May 13, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    This is one of those little secrets no one tells you about. I would love to have laser hair removal too, but it’s not in the budget this year (laser eye surgery is first!). Not only do I have to check my chin, but suspicious hairs are popping up on my neck too! And the only thing that helps (but doesn’t completely cure) my ingrowns is salicylic acid. I’d love to hear if you find something to resolve your unwanted hair issue, though!

  • 6. Whitney  |  May 28, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Lordy, I’ve had random chin and neck hairs since I was, oh, 16 or so. I’m 27 now, and they’ve gotten a bit more prevalent, but it’s something I’ve always fought with. Then again, I have naturally jet-black hair that is very thick and coarse, so I have unwanted hair pretty much everywhere. If, every two weeks or so, someone could just dip me into a vat of Nair up to my nose, that would be wonderful.

    My husband has become accustomed to our evening routine of sitting on the couch, with me tweezing my chin, neck, and upper lip as we watch “The Daily Show.” Yes, kiddos, the honeymoon is officially over.

  • 7. jen38  |  May 28, 2008 at 7:14 am

    So true! Poor guys have to put up with a lot of weird beauty rituals from us.

  • 8. Cat  |  June 16, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    I had laser hair removal with six sessions which kept the hair away for about a year and a half. It’s all come back and just as bad as ever. Then I tried Nair. My hair laughs at it. So I’ve resorted to shaving, as plucking was doing horrible things to my skin.

    Was reading about a home remedy online I’m going to try next. Here’s the recipe: we’ll see. I’m desperate.

    Home Cure for Hair on Chin and Neck

    For an effective method to remove facial hair especially on the chin, neck and cheeks take a teaspoon of gram flour, one teaspoon of honey, one teaspoon of refined wheat flour, a pinch of freshly ground turmeric powder, and one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Mix this preparation well till it appears gooey and thick. Apply a generous paste on the areas where you notice excessive hair growth. Let it stay for about five minutes. Slowly start rubbing the area with your fingertips in a circular motion. Keep doing so for the next 15 minutes. Wash off first with slightly tepid water and rinse the face with cool water. Use this application on a daily basis for a week. After a week use this preparation only on alternate days during the second week. On the third week, apply it just three times that week, on the fourth week apply it only on two occasions and on the final week use it just once. You will gradually notice the difference in the weeks that you make use of this application. You will notice less and less hair growth and it will eventually reduce to a great extent in the months to follow.

  • 9. jen38  |  June 16, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Hey Mom,
    I love you so much!
    Have a great day!
    Peace, Love, Party!


  • 10. jen38  |  June 16, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Thanks Cat for your home cure recipe. Sounds interesting and please us know how things go. I am wondering how this paste will work, it sounds like it will exfoliate the skin.

    Best wishes and sorry for your hair removal woes.

  • 11. Xina, Nature's Parlour  |  August 8, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Thank goodness!! Someone who openly discusses this rather embarrassing issue. I’ve been tweezing for way too long now. I believed that the repeated tweezing would reduce the growth of the hairs eventually (weren’t we all taught that somewhere along the line?).

    If this is the case then I think waxing is supposed to be the best measure along with some chemical that retards the regrowth of the hair. The only thing is, I’m REALLY suspicious of such chemicals and wonder what (if any) the long term damage might be. I’d really

    If that kind of thing doesn’t worry you too much, it might be something to look into because waxing is fairly cheap and so are the products that are supposed to retard and eventually stop the growth of the hair.

    For me? I think I might one day retire the tweezers and go for either electrolysis (which is risky because it can leave scars on dark skinned people like me) or good ol’ waxing.

  • 12. Jen Hill  |  August 8, 2008 at 7:01 am

    Thank you so much for contributing Xina, and I am so glad we can talk about this too. Aren’t blogs great!?

    I am still plucking, but have noticed less ingrown hairs since using the Baby Quasar LED device. I am hoping this will continue. Electrolysis worries me too, after a session my MIL developed a horrible case of shingles. As much as I would love to get rid of the hairs, I wouldn’t want to risk any scarring either. The chemical route or waxing sound like the best alternatives.

    Best wishes!

  • 13. Latha  |  August 21, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I tried Laser treatment. 5 sittings. I dont see too much of a difference except for the fact that there is a very slight reduction in the thickness of the hair. I am tired of trying all forms of treatment. Did the home made remedy work for anyone??

  • 14. Jen Hill  |  August 21, 2008 at 6:51 am

    Oh wow Latha! That is a lot of money and pain to go through without good results.

    I will write up a follow up question about this post and see what comes up. So nice to hear from you today.

    Best to you!

  • 15. Latha  |  August 21, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    A few more additional points i would like to mention regarding facial hair. The reason most ladies have facial hair is because of higher levels of testosterone. And according to what i have seen, most of these people have some sort of problem related to irregular periods, pain related to periods and in most cases these people will also have PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disorder). I have PCOD as well. The normal course of treatment for PCOD is a contraceptive tablet for about 6 months. But that is not a very healthy thing to do. Homeopathic treatment is supposed to have cured 90% of cases of PCOD. and once PCOD is set right, the facial hair also reduces from 80 to 95%. The only drawback is its a long course of treatment lasting from 6 months to 2 years. I am currently undergoing the same treatment and the doctor has promised me a very gud reduction in facial hair and also adviced me to stop going for further laser treatment sittings. The doctor at the laser clinic told that i would need another 15 sittings atleast… That means about 1800$.

    Another friend of mine has a very fair complexion but she has hair along her cheeks and chin thicker and darker than the hair on her head… It was really embarassing for her cos every 2 days she had to go through tweezing as the hair would be very visible for her fair complexion. She went through laser treatment 6 months back. Now the hair thickness has reduced greatly for now. Not sure if its gonna surface back later.

    Some doctors give a course of hormonal tablets to reduce testosterone levels. If that is taken for 3 to 6 months, a lot of hair growth in the whole body reduces over 50%. Also a natural remedy to reduce testosterone levels is spearmint tea.
    Use one spoon of dried spearmint leaves to one cup of water while making tea. Take this twice daily. It is supposed to help.

    This is all the findings i have done. (That shows how desperate i am to get rid of the stupid facial hair and live a comfortable life.) I have gone to an extent where i dont like ppl looking at my face as it makes me feel very very conscious and irritated. I will keep posting on how well the homeopathic treatment is helping. I plan to start the home made remedy mentioned on this page starting monday. Phew… That was a lot i wrote.. Hope no one gets bored reading it.

  • 16. Latha  |  August 21, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Also can you put up a link to the follow up post. I could not find it through search.

  • 17. Jen Hill  |  August 22, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience Latha. I am sure it will help many individuals who are suffering with the same issues. I hope between treating the PCOD and the home remedy you will have some success.

    Please keep us posted. Best to you!

  • 18. beautybonus  |  August 23, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    After I had my daughter 5 years ago (I’m 37 now) I noticed unwanted facial hair both above and below my lips. I found this thing online called an “epicare” its a little metal coil thing (sorry, not the best description) and its $17 bucks and its sort of like threading. It hurts a teeny bit but results last for about a month. I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and I highly recommend it!

  • 19. JustMe  |  September 23, 2008 at 7:14 am

    I second what Latha said… get your hormones checked. However, it is normal for older women (not sure how old you are) to get some stray hairs.

    I have familiar hirsutism (facial hair runs in the family). My hormone levels are normal but antiandrogens will still help. It’s not terrible but it’s enough to worry me. I’m young by the way, in my early 20s. The hair is mostly on the chin and that part between the chin and neck. I’ve had some laser treatments and the hair just get growing back. I’ve been doing electrolysis and I love it. It’s cheaper for smaller areas of the body (mine charges for example 10 bucks for 15 minutes). Instead of waiting 4-6 weeks with laser, you can go every week or really, as often as you feel necessary. You also don’t have to wait for the hair to fall out, she plucks it out for you and you never see the hair again. I hope that helps.

  • 20. Jen Hill  |  September 23, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences beautybonus and JustMe. I am sure these posts will benefit many others with the same issues.

    I’m still plucking these dang chin hairs of mine. I need to take action asap!

  • 21. Khan  |  September 24, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Hi, I just wanted to add a little to this discussion. Facial hair is typically product of hormonal imbalance. I have PCOS (poly cyctic ovarian syndrome), which puts me at greater risk of Diabetes, and fluctuates my natural Testerone level, hence now I have a lot of facial hair, and adult acne. And it was made worse by waxing, and I just breakout all the time.
    Take my advice and see your doctor, and insist on seeing an Endocrinologist, get a referral. Get yor Glucose (sugar) level and hormone profile done.
    Also if you are over-weight, loose some, because fat cells store extra hormones and throw off you bady’s natural balance. And, don’t eat/drink refined sugars. Eat healthier.

  • 22. Kim  |  October 1, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Anyone have any suggestions on how to get rid of the ingrown hairs? You would think I had acne but it is the ingrown hairs.Please help it is driving me crazy.

  • 23. Jen Hill  |  October 2, 2008 at 7:52 am

    I hear ya Kim, I hear ya! This is a big problem for me too. I have found some success using an AHA or BHA regularly on the areas that tend to get those pesky ingrown hairs.

    I have wanted to try the bliss ingrown hair eliminating peeling pads. These pads contain 2% salicylic acid, 6% glycolic acid, oat extract, green tea extract, witch hazel, glycerin, niacinamide. So they use both an AHA and BHA to help exfoliate the surface of your skin to keep those hairs from getting trapped and becoming inflamed.

    What have you tried already? Anything make it worse?

  • 24. Mo  |  October 2, 2008 at 7:59 am

    I was going to recommend the same thing Jen!
    I really like the Bliss pads. There was no sting(for me) and they have a gentle enough combination of products that it won’t strip your skin. Not an instant fix, but use for a few days and you really start to notice.

  • 25. Jen Hill  |  October 2, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Good minds think alike! 😉

  • 26. Kim  |  October 4, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Thank you Jen and Mo. I have used a product called TEND in the past. Worked well but was very drying of the skin. Where can you purchase these bliss pads?

  • 27. Jen Hill  |  October 4, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Bliss products can be purchased at the Blissworld.com site, or at Sephora. There are 50 pads in a container for $38, and next month Sephora is offering their 20% off friends and family deal, so if you can stand to wait until then, you can save some $$.

    I just received a new product that is a one-step microdermabrasion, hydration, and treatment stick that is supposed to also help with ingrown hairs. I will let you know how it works soon!

    Best wishes Kim.

  • 28. M.  |  October 4, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    I have just finished reading everyone’s post and I must say I definitely do not feel so alone anymore.
    I just turned 23 and I am struggling with Unwanted Facial Hair. I only noticed it in the past couple of years…and it is getting so bad!
    I have no clue what to do, it’s my chin and even my cheeks. I am in University and I have a very hard time talking with classmates. I held a job as a bartender for 3 years and i just recently had to quit because I was so uncomfortable dealing with the public. I used to have high self-esteem, even looking back on pictures from a couple years ago I was glowing. Now, I don’t even want my picture taken.
    I have no idea what route to take for treatment?! i just feel so out of place…I look at other girls’ faces and I do not understand why I have this problem!
    I am so afraid to try laser, or electrolysis, or chemicals in case of a bad reaction, and possibly no results.
    Wish I knew what to do…this is absolutely ruining my life.

  • 29. Jen Hill  |  October 4, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    My heart just aches for you after reading your post today. I hope that some of these comments give you the hope and advice that can help you. You are not alone.

    Because I am not a Doctor, I would follow Khan’s earlier advice, “see your doctor, and insist on seeing an Endocrinologist, get a referral.” To learn more about Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), I would go to http://www.diagnosemefirst.com/PCOS.htm and see if any of your symptoms match up. Since you are fairly young, this site reports that, “Early diagnosis and appropriate intervention can avoid progress to the severe form of PCOS.”

    Best wishes sweet M. I am sending you big hugs to be brave. We all need someone to open up to, especially when it comes to these types of things.

  • 30. Suzd  |  October 11, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    ALERT! BEFORE you try the tumeric paste on your face, realize that tumeric is what I use to make yellow rice because I can’t afford saffron these days. I don’t know if it will stain skin, but I would not try it on my face before trying it on my hand. Don’t do this, like, the day before a big date.

  • 31. Jen Hill  |  October 11, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Thanks for the warning Suzd! I think I would rather have my facial hair than yellow stains on my face. 😉

  • 32. Jen Hill  |  January 31, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Reblogged this on Mythbuster Beauty and commented:

    Such a top beauty topic, I believe this post is worth re-posting. Lots of insights on various methods of facial hair removal, as well as PCOD (Poly Cystic Ovarian Disorder). The comments are worth reading alone.


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