Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Getting Rid of Unwanted Facial Hair

BY Nicole Wilcox IN , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 3 comments

Getting Rid of Unwanted Facial Hair

Especially if you are prone to scarring, hyper pigmentation and razor bumps

Having excess facial hair for women can be mildly embarrassing to downright ugly.  Trying to rid your self of facial hair can be costly or painful and/or both.  Furthermore, if you have dark hair, course/curly hair, have a darker complexion, hair and hair removal can lead to a host of other problems, like scarring, hyper pigmentation, razor bumps and other forms of irritation.

Take a deep breath ladies...and exhale.  You are not alone.  It is estimated that over 40% of all women have excess facial hair.  Aside from hereditary factors, it can also be caused by an excess of certain testosterone-related hormones or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).  Whatever the cause, most of us want it gone, IMMEDIATELY.

We tweeze, pluck, wax, shave, thread, chemically burn it off, get laser treatments and electrolysis.  But what happens if the treatments leave permanent reminders on your face?

First, go see a doctor to be sure your hairiness is not a symptom of a deeper issue.  Secondly, research your options and do what's best for your skin.  Questions you need to answer are:

  • Is your facial hair a symptom of a medical issue?
  • How much facial hair do you have?  Is it excessive or a few strays that can be controlled easily?
  • Are you prone to scarring, razor bumps, or hyper pigmentation?
  • What is your budget for hair removal?  (Because let us be honest, hair removal is a lifelong process this will be a recurring event no matter if you get electrolysis or laser hair removal treatments.)
After you have answered these questions, now you can research some solutions.

Natural ways:

Spearmint Tea.  If your facial hair is a symptom of hormonal imbalance, spearmint tea may be an option for you.  Recent research has been spotlighting spearmint tea as a possible means to treat hirsutism, a condition that results in excess female body and facial hair.  Conventional medicine promotes treatments for hirsutism such as antiandrogens and oral contraceptives. The birth control pill is used to increase estrogen levels that will battle androgen production. Antiandrogens like spironolactone can prevent the body from reacting to certain androgens.  Spearmint tea is thought to have an antiandrogenetic effect in the body and this suppression of androgens is a key factor in treating hirsutism. Turkish studies have determined this effect to be true and now many post-menopausal women are drinking between two to five cups of spearmint tea daily in order to reduce their mild symptoms of excess hair.

Remember this isn't an instant solution, but repeated use on a daily basis can help you combat excessive facial hair.  Also remember, you can not get spearmint "flavored tea"!  It has to be real spearmint leaves in your tea bag.  You can also steep fresh spearmint leaves in a boiling cup of water for 3-5 minutes and drink that.  I personally use Mighty Leaf Tea

Calming Moon Calming Moon
Calming Moon herbal tea is a full-bodied infusion
offering a redolent blending of licorice, fennel, 
mints and citrus. Rich with vitamins C and B 
as well as zinc, this herbal tea counteracts stress, 
soothes the digestion and bathes the inner body
 in a calming elixir. Loose tea in 4 oz. bag

Calming Moon Tea has other herbs as well Spearmint and has a great taste!

Another great choice is Traditional Medicinals.  They are certified organic so you can be sure of the quality of the tea.

 Turmeric and Besan Powder: paste made of chickpea flour and turmeric will remove facial hair gently and discourage hair growth, especially on the chin and cheeks. At the same time, the mixture will cleanse the skin and leave a healthy glow. Use high quality turmeric, otherwise the spice may leave a temporary yellowish tint on the skin, especially for fairer complexions. Turmeric and chickpea flour, which is also known as besan flour or gram flour, can be found in Indian markets, Asian specialty markets or health food stores. 

How to Use It:
  • Place 1 tbsp. chickpea flour in a cup. Add enough milk or water to form a thick paste. 
  •  Stir in 1 tsp. cream or yogurt and a pinch of powdered turmeric. The mixture should be thick but spreadable. 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water so that any bacteria on your hands won't be transferred to your face. Cleanse your face, using a cleanser formulated for your skin type. Allow your face to air dry. 
  • Apply the chickpea flour paste over the facial area where you wish to remove hair. Smooth the mixture over the area in the direction of hair growth. 
  • Allow the mixture to dry completely, and then use a dry washcloth to scrub the area, working opposite the direction of hair growth.  This is important!  Do not wash use a dry wash cloth to scrub the mixture off!  After you get most of the paste off then you can use a wet washcloth to get off remaining residue.
  • Pat your face dry with a soft towel, and then apply sweet almond oil or olive oil to the area to sooth the skin and replenish lost moisture. 
Again, not a quick fix but it may help reduce facial hair and discourage new growth.  Remember this is a slow process and needs to be used regularly to see result.  Furthermore, the first time you use it, not all the hair will be removed.


 Sugar Wax 

What you need:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

How to make it:
  • Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Watch over this pan until it bubbles and start to have the color of ginger ale.
  • In a separate pan, boil some water.
  • To test the readiness of the wax mixture, use a metal spoon and scoop a spoonful of mixture. If it bubbles in the spoon for at least two seconds, the mixture is ready.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and add 1 tablespoon of boiling water from the second pan and stir thoroughly. Allow the mixture to cool slightly before storing in a plastic or glass container.
  • To make cleaning the pan easier, pour the remaining hot water from the second pan to the first one (the one used to boil the wax) before cleaning it.

How to sugar wax

Other things you’ll need
  • Cornstarch
  • Cotton muslin strips or strips of paper bag cutouts
  • Wooden Popsicle sticks or a smooth butter knife with no serration
  • Two old, washable towels
Before using this sugar mixture you just made, let it cool down totally. To use it, just heat it in the microwave for a few minutes until it get to the honey-like consistency. I’d like to have a warm water pot nearby to put the wax in so I don’t have to hobble back and forth between the bathroom and the microwave.

Then coat the part you want to wax generously with cornstarch. For example, if you want to wax your leg, just coat it until it looks snow white. Coating it with powder makes your skin less tolerable to the abrasion caused by waxing.

Next, coat your hands with cornstarch as well and you’re ready to apply the sugar wax to your skin.

Important step: apply the wax to the direction of hair growth! Then apply the strip on top of the wax, gently rub it two or three times in downward strokes. Take a deep breath and quickly pull the strip out of your leg.

You can reuse the same strip over and over again until it’s thick with wax.

To remove the leftover wax on your skin, use the old towel. (from My Makeup Beauty Blog)

There are other waxes on the market as well.  Find what works for you.

Tweeze: Self explanatory. If you only suffer from a few stray hairs, pluck those suckers out!

Shave:  Now I personally don't condone shaving, ESPECIALLY, if you are prone to ingrown hairs, hyper pigmentation or scarringBut, if you feel that is the best way for you, get a skin care regimen that will help you avoid common problems with shaving like ingrown hairs and hyper pigmentation.

This is what I learned from a drag queen (and oh the things you can learn from a drag queen!):

Before shaving, get your skin ready.  A light splash of water will not do.  He (She?) suggested steaming the face first for about 10-15 minutes to open pores.  I personally have a facial steamer which cost me $2 at the local Goodwill and it has lasted for years.  However, if you don't plan on purchasing a steamer a pot of boiling water and a towel will do the trick.  Remember, do not put your face so close to the steam it burns you!  I think that is common sense, however, common sense isn't so common!

Next, invest in a high quality shave cream.  This is important.  You want one that will protect and moisturize the skin.  I've heard some women use hair conditioner for sensitive areas (like the face) but I can't confirm nor deny if this works.

Immediately after steaming, wet the face with warm water and slather on the shave cream.  Remember to shave against the direction of your hair growth, carefully.  When you are finished, wash the remaining lather off.  Now, aftershave.  Yes ladies, there is a reason your man uses aftershave.  First it soothes the skin, secondly a good aftershave will help prevent razor bumps.  I am unaware of a female aftershave but some natural alternatives are witch hazel, aloe or rubbing alcohol.  Yes the latter will sting, but, you need it.

Other advice, after shaving you still need to take care of your skin.  For women of color or those prone to ingrown hair I suggest investing in Bump Stopper

Bump Stopper is cheap ($5 or less) and non abrasive.  I have not used it on my face, however, times I shaved my bikini line I had no ingrown hairs with repeated use after the shave, and I am prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps!  I love this product for after shaving care and it has worked wonders for quite a few men I know who suffered from embarrassing razor bumps and ingrown hairs on their face.  

Other Ways 

Depilatories:  A depilatory is a strong, alkaline based product is placed on hair and slowly breaks down the hair follicle, until it turns jelly-like. The depilatory hair removal process takes about 5- 10 minutes for it to be easily wiped off with a warm towel at, or somewhat below skin level.  

I have personally used depilatories in the past, like Nair and Veet.  I like those brands for my legs more so than my face.  Even the sensitive skin or aloe infused products they offered never did the job fully and/or burnt my face.  I mean burnt my face.  As much as I want to be hair free, I do not want major burns on my face either!  However, you must choose what works best for you.  I personally think depilatories work better on those with fine hairs, who do not have sensitive skin.

However, one depilatory I truly like is Soft Sheen Carson Magic Fragrant Shaving Powder.  It:
  • Removes hair easily
  • Does not require a razor
  • Prevents razor burn and in-grown hair
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Made in the USA

Magic Shaving Powder is a depilatory powder that removes your beard without the use of a razor. Helps eliminate and prevent razor bumps. Recommended by the National Medical Association as an effective shaving method for the relief of razor bumps in African American men. Leaves skin hair-free and smooth. 

I still use this!  It does not irritate my skin, is easy to use and I do not get ingrown hairs with this product.  I recently visited a PCOS forum (to research this post) and they sing the praises of Soft Sheen Carson Magic Shaving Powder as well. Again it's cheap (less than $5), effective, and doesn't irritate.  Furthermore, it combats the side effects of hair removal like ingrown hair and razor bumps.

Laser Hair Removal: From Web MD

What It Does: One of the more popular ways to remove hair is via laser or pulsed light - energy that goes through the hair shaft down to the follicle, where it destroys the hair's root.
"The hair does not immediately come out during a laser treatment. Instead, it weakens and falls out over time because we've blown away the root," says dermatologist David Goldberg, MD, director of Skin and Laser Surgery of New York and New Jersey and the author of a medical textbook on laser hair removal.
Goldberg says the newest laser, called DUET, combines laser with a little bit of suction for even better results.
"It pulls the hair into the follicle, allowing the beam to penetrate deeper," says Goldberg.
This means doctors can safely treat larger areas at one time and more comfortably for the patient, he says.
Best For : Laser hair removal can be done anywhere on the body. The best candidates are women with dark hair and light skin. Lasers won't work on white hair, and they are much less effective on blond hair, which Goldberg says usually responds best to electrolysis.
While most lasers work on the skin of Hispanics, only one, called the Nd:YAG, is safe for black skin. All other hair removal lasers increase the risk of hyperpigmentation (dark spots), as well as burning and scarring, which can lead to the creation of keloids (scar tissue).
How Long It Takes : It usually requires 5-7 sessions, with a touch-up about once a year thereafter.
Cost : The cost runs between $150 and $500, or sometimes more depending on how many treatments are needed.

I can only suggest that women of color (Hispanics included) do your research!  Do not just go anywhere to get laser treatments.  There are horror stories of 3rd degree burns, hyper and hypo pigmentation, etc.

Electrolysis: From Web MD

What It Is : The only method of hair removal that is permitted to be called "permanent," electrolysis uses a tiny needle that slides down into the hair follicle until it reaches the cells responsible for hair growth.
"Electrolysis destroys the cells that cause the hair to grow. The hair will release and slide right out and it won't grow back there again -- it's permanent removal," says Patsy Kirby, executive director of the American Electrology Association in Bodega Bay, Calif.
The process can be uncomfortable, but local anesthetic creams can help.
Best For : Like other forms of hair removal, it is safe to do electrolysis anywhere on the body, though Kirby says the most popular place for women is the face.
How Long It Takes : Though the system requires that the removal be done hair-by-hair, Kirby says it's not as daunting a task as it might seem. "It can take up to 25 sessions, depending on how much you need removed, but each session may only be 5 or 10 minutes long," says Kirby.
Cost: Costs run between $40 and $90 per treatment, with 10 to 25 treatments (or more) sometimes necessary for permanent, lasting results.
Potential Drawback : Electrolysis can cause tiny scars where the needle is inserted. Though for most people they heal unnoticed, for blacks it means an increased risk of hyperpigmentation and formation of keloids. Thus, it's not recommended for this skin type.

Again, do your research!  These treatments are expensive in the long run!

acne scar treatment  

Vaniqua: From Web MD

What It Is: This topical prescription cream, also known as eflornithine 13.9%, works by blocking an enzyme that would otherwise stimulate hair growth. Without the enzyme, hair growth is retarded in that area, and eventually may stop.
Joel Schlessinger, MD, president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, says Vaniqa is not a hair remover, so it is best used in conjunction with other methods, particularly lasers.
"If you apply it after laser treatments as an adjunct, it can help retard and then stop hair growth," says Schlessinger.
Other experts say treatment can also work on its own, but requires a patient commitment of 8 weeks to 6 months before full results are seen. Studies show that the longer the cream is used, the better results will be. Vaniqa is applied twice daily.
Best For : Vaniqa works best for facial hair growth on the upper lip, chin, and cheeks.
"Because of the cost, and difficulty and feasibility of applying it to large areas, it's not recommended for hair removal in large areas of the body, such as the legs or arms," says Schlessinger.
Schlessinger says it is, however, an effective way to remove white or non-pigmented hair, which does not respond to laser treatment.
Studies show Vaniqa is safe to use in combination with birth control pills and other hormone treatments when the cause of unwanted hair stems from reproductive problems such as polycystic ovaries. It is also safe for all ethnic groups and skin types.
Cost : Vaniqa costs between $80 and $225 per tube.

Other Tips for Battling Scarring, Hyper Pigmentation, and Ingrown Hairs:
DERMAdoctor.com, Inc.

A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  That old adage is true!  No matter which hair removal method you use, it is important to prep your skin and constantly keep your skin as healthy as possible.

  • Do not touch your face!  Besides the obvious, you hands spread dirt and bacteria.  Most hair removal treatments irritate the skin some how, so do not further promote blemishes and acne by touching your face.
  • Tend Skin!  Such a simple product and it works wonders to battle ingrown hairs, acne and razor bumps.

Here is a homemade Tend Skin recipe you can try at home:

What you need:
Uncoated Aspirin 
70% Alcohol
Witch Hazel or Hydrogen Peroxide
2 bottles used to shake mixtures
1 8oz or more bottle/container to keep finished product
What you do:
  1. Pour 5.5oz of 70% alcohol into one bottle.
  2. Drop 18 uncoated aspirins into the alcohol. Cap bottle and shake.
  3. Pour 2.5oz of witch hazel into the second bottle.
  4. Drop 8 uncoated aspirins into the witch hazel. Cap bottle and shake.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
  6. Wait awhile (30 minutes to a whole day) for the aspirins to dissolve in the liquids. Shake occasionally to help dissolve aspirin and mix. NOTE: not all of the aspirin will dissolve. That’s OK, some of it never will.
  7. Now combine both the alcohol and witch hazel mixtures together into one bottle. Make sure you shake it up before you pour them out so you also get the aspirin residue into the new bottle.
This last bottle is your Tendskin! Use 1-2x's a day. Reduce usage if you experience dryness or flaking or irritation. DO NOT USE IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO ASPIRIN. Make sure you shake it well before each use.

  • Bump Stopper.  I can not sing it's praises enough!
  • Exfoliate!  Exfoliation is extremely helpful in keeping ingrown hairs at bay.  By sloughing off the dead skin it allows the hair to come to the surface without being trapped under the skin causing more ingrown hairs
  • If you already have scarring due to acne, shaving irritation and ingrown hairs, immediately purchase Nadinola Skin Discoloration Fade Cream Extra Strength.  Unlike Ambi or other blemish faders, you will see results with in a week.  I can attest to this! Google Nadinola and a host of Youtube videos and reviews will reiterate exactly what I said.

With that said, I bet you are wondering what I use.  I use a combination of things.  I do the spearmint tea regularly and have noticed a reduction in facial hair over a two month period.  Occasionally I do the besan and turmeric mask.  I really use it for it's brightening aspect more so than the hair removal, but I do use it often.  Lastly, I use Soft Sheen Carson Magic Shave Powder.  It gives me great results with minor irritation.  (Oh and tweezers for the strays!)

To keep my skin bump and blemish free, I use bump stopper and Nadinola.  I was just introduced to these products within the past year so I am actively using them to reduce scarring and hyper pigmentation I have due to years of skin neglect!  I can proudly say, my skin is in the best shape it has ever been in!

So what do you use?!  If you have any questions or would like more information, feel free to comment or send me an email [at] info@iheartretailtherapy.com

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  1. Stopping by from SITS girls http://queenofsavings.com

  2. I love the recipe for home made sugar wax :) I just found your lovely blog in my IFB group and started following .

  3. Thanks for stopping by Dora! Your blog is amazing!!


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