How can I get rid of my facial hair?

Dear Alice,

I am a 24 year old female and for the past few years I have had facial hair. I tend to get it on my chin and the side of my face. It is usually light but you can feel it, and I will never let my boyfriend touch my face unless I have just shaved it.

I don't want to go for laser treatment, is their anything else you could suggest? I feel disgusting and very unwomanly.

Dear Reader,

This may seem like a hairy situation you're in, but don't worry, you are not alone. One study found that 20 million people assigned female at birth in the United States remove facial hair at least once a week — so, you're in good company. For these folks and for you, there are options to manage excess facial hair growth.

Plenty of non-medical hair removal options exist with varying prices and effectiveness. Each method has its pros and cons, but here are a few you may want to consider if you haven't already:

  • Shaving: Shaving is the safest and least expensive solution, though, as you know, it's short-lived.
  • Depilatory creams: These will remove hair but may irritate sensitive skin, so it's a good idea to test it out on your wrist a day prior to applying it to your face.
  • Plucking: If it's just a few stray hairs you're concerned about, try plucking them. This may be done at home or professionally using techniques such as threading (where fine thread is used in place of tweezers).
  • Waxing: If it's more than just a few strays, waxing may be an option, though people with sensitive skin might steer clear.
  • Bleaching creams: These mask hairs and may be a good option for those with sensitive skin.
  • Electrolysis: This procedure sends electric currents into the hair follicles one by one, effectively killing them and preventing hair from growing. Although this procedure results in permanent hair removal, it may be painful and requires quite a bit of time and money. To ensure safety, technicians need to be licensed. As such, it's wise to check their qualifications before undergoing any procedure.

List adapted from Family Doctor.

While it isn't clear how much facial hair you have or if you're experiencing any other symptoms, you may want to check in with your health care provider to make sure there are no underlying issues. For example, some folks who have excess hair growth have a condition known as hirsutism. This condition is characterized by dark, thick hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen, and back and is often accompanied with other symptoms. These include a sudden increase in hair growth, irregular menstrual periods, or deepening of your voice. Mayo Clinic has even more information on the condition.

Last updated Apr 30, 2015
Originally published Nov 10, 2011

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