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Dealing With Unwanted Facial Hair

unwanted facial hair

Of all the things that PCOS has caused in my body, I think I have cried the most over the unwanted facial hair. I’m pretty sure that nothing makes me feel ugly and unfeminine as quickly as spotting those prickly dark hairs on my jawline.

And, unfortunately, the easiest “fixes” for unwanted facial hair are the most temporary.

I’ve tried most everything through the years… waxes, creams, electrology, tweezers, tiny razors, herbs, and the most recent, a concoction of honey and lemon juice.

I actually picked up the recipe for the honey mask from a group of friends who write an adorable fashion/beauty blog called Adornabelle. As far as I know, I am the only person on the writing team who has been diagnosed with PCOS, yet, I was amazed to find out that almost every single one of these women had to deal with unwanted facial hair.  It made me feel so much better to know that even if this issue is more pronounced in women who have PCOS, it is not an “unfeminine” problem but rather one that the majority of us have to deal with. 

Waxing:

One of the most efficient (albeit, slightly painful) ways to remove unwanted facial hair is with a wax kit. It removes hair from the root, which slows regrowth, and leaves your skin smooth afterward. There are many options available and dozens of all-natural waxes that do not contain chemicals. The easiest is a simple sugar wax that actually contains no wax at all!

Creams:

There are dozens of cream hair removers on the market. The downside to creams is obvious: chemicals on your skin. As a major organ, applying chemical substances to your skin will allow toxins into your blood stream. On top of that, they don’t work very well. {yes, I’ve tried them. I’ve been that desperate before!} Despite the grand promises of cream removers, many straggly hairs are left behind and if your skin is at all sensitive you can experience burns and irritation. Not fun.

Honey and Lemon Mask:

You can make a hair-lightening mask with 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Mix and apply thickly. Let the mask set for 10-15 minutes then rinse with warm water.

Unfortunately this concoction does not work the best for dark bristly hairs. I have used it for a month now and am pleased with the general state of my skin (honey is a wonderful all natural face wash) but have not seen a huge difference in the stubborn dark hairs. I would, however, suggest this method to those who are just beginning to notice unwanted hair growth. I believe the continued use of honey and lemon will keep the hairs soft and light.

Electrology:

Electrology is another form of hair removal often touted as “permanent”. The basic idea is that the electrologist will use a minuscule needle to slide in beside each individual hair and zap the follicle with a charge of electricity. This will kill the current hair and after extended use may kill the follicle complete, removing the chance of re-growth.  {laser hair removal is similar, but I do not have any personal experience with it}

The pros to electrology:

  •         It lasts for 3-6 weeks
  •         There are no stragglers // all the dark hairs are removed
  •         There is a chance that it may eventually be permanent

The cons :

  •          It may be difficult to find a good electrologist

Since this is a relatively new procedure, there aren’t as many regulations and it’s up to you to establish that your electrologist is safe. The main things to watch for are:   1) they use a new needle for every session 2) they wear gloves 3) the work environment is clean and tidy.

  •        It can be painful.

I have heard stories of some who don’t feel a thing. I, on the other hand, referred to my appointments as “torture sessions” if that tells you anything. It all depends on how many nerve endings you have on your face and where the hairs are located. I have a very sensitive nerve that runs along my jaw line which caused me the most pain.

  •        You are choosing to electrocute yourself, which may raise slight doubts to your mental state.

{Okay, that one was just a joke. We don’t know, however, if there are any side effects to this procedure. I did not observe any in myself but some say that it is not good for you.}

Shaving:

Shaving with a small razor is another way of dealing with excess facial hair. The nice part is that it is quick and painless. The down side is that using this method over an extended period will cause the hairs to toughen and thicken and your face will always feel slightly rough.

Tweezers:

Using tweezers is the cheapest, simplest, and the most time consuming. I would advise this to those who are struggling with just a few dark hairs. For those who have a larger patch of dark hair, this can be used as an “in-between” method to control hair growth.

Herbs:

There are several herbs that can help with the intensity of facial hair growth. Anything that is used to balance hormones is helpful as an excess of dark facial hair is usually directly connected to your body’s production of testosterone. If your hormones are out of balance you will begin to notice more hair growth and a darkening of the hair.

Some options:

Macaalthough Maca is not “technically” a herb, we’ll throw it in this category. Maca is widely known as a “superfood” that helps balance hormones.

Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry: This herb is often used to help with fertility issues because it aides the body to naturally correct hormone imbalances.

Saw Palmetto: This herb is often linked to men but it also can be beneficial in fighting excess testosterone in the body. There is a wonderful article here that explains more of why. 

Do you  have another way of controlling unwanted facial hair? Do leave a comment!

 

Natasha

Natasha

Natasha lives with her husband on a farm in Northern New York. She is the author of "Pain Redeemed: when our deepest sorrows meet God" and auntie to some of the most adorable kids on the planet.
Natasha
Natasha
Natasha
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Comments

  1. I suggest threading as an option!

  2. Electrolysis has actually been around since the late 1800′s/early 1900′s and is perfectly safe. I do second the find a good clean practitioner. Some states (like Georgia) do have licenses though they are not required.

  3. I must admit, I use Nair. I’ve done waxing and had a bit of a breakout a few days later (though I did choose this option for my wedding). Since the hair on my cheeks is also a bit darker, I have to do almost my whole face and find it to be easiest. Anything that didn’t come off I just tweeze. I only need to do it every couple weeks. Like once a month or so. So I suck it up and use it for the 3 minutes I need to use it lol

  4. I began to get facial hair in high school. I started tweezing my unibrow and later my chin. In my mid-twenties, a friend told me about electrolysis. It is effective though stubborn hairs will regrow and require subsequent treatment. I’ve used it for my eyebrows, upper lip, chin, and jawline. Yes, it is painful! But, hey, this is war on unwanted hair. Nobody said war was pleasant. I do use a prescription numbing cream prior to the session, which helps some. For those of us with a lot of hair, it’s important to use a more permanent method. The regrowth process is unsightly, and the hairs have to grow out a bit prior to removal for any method. The biggest drawback to electrolysis is the cost, but laser is way more expensive. And like most things, of course find a licensed electrolysis that comes through the recommendation of another. One other comment, my testosterone levels have been checked twice and they are always fine. Some of this is simply hereditary. God made a lot of us hairy just like Asians are genetically without noticeable body hair.

  5. So, Has anybody here tried the NO NO? Am getting desparate! Getting More hairs, and more ingrown hairs everytime time I use honey mask, shave, pluck, cream etc, Not a candidate for lazer (too many white hairs) tried electralisis many moons ago. Trying to take supplements for lessoning testosterone, but mine is probably hereditary.

  6. Hi I am not sure when this was written however electrolysis is not a new procedure as it has been around for well over 20 years maybe even much longer then that… It is the best solution for stray hairs, yes it can become very painful if using it for a lot of hairs in the same area, and even a full hairs can be uncomfortable however after a few treatments you will notice the hairs not coming back at all. I am a electrologist and have had it done myself. Good luck in which ever direction you choose to go I just wanted to clarify that this is not a “new” procedure at all. Thanks

    • Michelle- thanks for pointing out that electrolysis has been around for quite some time! I apologize for that misinformation. :)

  7. oh and also laser is not a permanent hair removal, it a perm hair reduction – having laser hair removal does not remove hair forever. (Im also a lic laser tech) no place or tech should ever tell you that laser will perm remove your hair – if they do then you should leave that place and find one that actually knows what they are talking about. Again good luck :)

  8. Great article! I personally use a combination for my jaw line, upper lip and chin: a depilator and tweezers. The depilation lasts for about 7-10 days, and it is not as painful as it used to be. It is also quick to do. I have been using lemon and honey to wash my face daily and since then my skin has improved, and my hairs have become thinner. So for me a combination of these methods is working great, that is until I get my hormones completely under control and rebalanced. :)

  9. I too have issues with unwanted hair. I used to use tweezers daily (for about 20 years), which was a hassle, and the hairs never grew in more slowly or thinner (which was my hope). I tried other methods as well. Waxing was extremely painful and caused a major rash. Another cream I used was supposed to stop the hair growth, but this never worked. Finally, about three years ago I decided to start shaving. I was afraid that shaving would cause thicker, more dense growth, but it hasn’t and has been so much faster and easier to deal with. I use my husband’s razors after he finishes with them (he goes only a few days on one razor).

  10. I have SO many hairs on my chin and I have to tweeze daily, it’s such a pain!!!! I’ll wax twice a month to get a nice clean smooth chin, because I feel that tweezing is just a quick fix and that if you look closely you can still see the roots. I love my little in-home wax kit. I love the feeling of waxing, it does not hurt at all! And, I love how it leaves me feeling afterwards, clean and smooth. I know my facial hair is hereditary. My mom deals with it too!

  11. This is likely a helpful article for many. It is really nice to know we’re not alone out there dealing with unwanted facial hair. Yes, my hormones test normal, but I also have to deal with this, and actually shave my face daily at this point. I used laser hair removal many years ago and it has made a lasting improvement on certain areas, but not others (where I had only years, not decades of reprieve versus in the ‘good’ areas). I would need to have many treatments again, but waver at the cost/time/effort/discomfort involved. It will be ‘time’ once I’m sufficiently fed up with this again.

    But I would like to see an error in the article corrected: shaving DOES NOT make your hair thicker or tougher over time. That is an Internet myth that gets erroneously perpetuated, reintroduced, and further enforced. You can refer to this article [http://sciencenordic.com/does-shaving-make-you-hairier] or ask your dermatologist, but the only reality is this: Hair is dead. The living follicle that grows the hair does not register what you do to what it produces, unless you actually damage the follicle in some way (but that is deep in your skin, and hard to damage). If the previous hair fell out naturally or was pulled out, the new growing tip of the hair will be thinner than the main shaft of the hair. This kind of hair feels soft as a result, especially (blunt tip or not) as it gets longer. When you shave, you cut the hair along the shaft and that blunt cut, especially with the short length of the hair, makes it seem thicker and tougher. I understand the mistake. This misunderstanding is the basis for the old wives tale that we were told as young women along the lines of “don’t start shaving your legs or underarms until you really need to”. Again, shaving will not change the nature of your hair; it will merely create a blunt tip and coarse texture of short hairs against your skin vs long ones (if you don’t shave again soon) and force you to contrast your newly clean-shaven legs with the gradually thickening and potentially darkening hair that develops with maturity. Think of the contrast of soft long hair versus the coarse feeling of a somewhat recently shaven head; or of a man’s softer long beard versus the harshness of five-o-clock shadow.

    I hope that the correction will help people not to have unfounded fears regarding shaving, and help mothers not to prevent their daughters from shaving if they feel they need to. Yes, I’d prefer to not have the facial hair in inconvenient places; but no, I am not making my situation worse (nor making the hairs thicker) by shaving.

    • Thanks for this information, Em! It’s great to hear an explanation. I was simply commenting on my own experience, and the roughness and thickness of how the hairs feel compared to the smoothness that I experienced with some of the other procedures. This makes perfect sense though!

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