. Saturday, September 20, 2008
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Say farewell to facial fuzz

For most women, it’s well-guarded secret, kept from the most intimate confidants and dealt with behind locked bathroom doors.

No woman want to admit that she is troubled by facial hair, but it’s more common than you probably think: Dark hairs often sprout on the upper lip or chin as women grow older, particularly after menopause. The cause is likely simply heredity or slightly fluctuating hormone levels. Occasionally, excessive hair growth is a sign of some serious underlying disorder involving the ovaries or adrenal glands. If such is the case, other symptoms will send you to your physician.

What Ladies Can Do

That said, it’s comforting to know that women have various option to cope with facial hair.

Bleach it. Bleaching is one of the easiest and most popular approaches. It doesn’t remove hair but makes it lighter and less obvious. It’s more effective on light growths of light-colored hair. The two common hair-bleaching agents are hydroquinones, and hydrogen peroxide, says Jerald Sklar,M.D., a dermatologist at the Dallas Associated Dermatologist at Baylor University Medical Center. Commercial bleaches designed specifically for facial hair are safer than improvising on your own. It’s best to test any preparation on a small area of skin in case you develop a nasty rash. Dab the solution on with a cotton ball, but rinse it away immediately if you feel a burning sensation. Otherwise, apply as directed, and rinse it off after 15 to 30 minutes. Repeat as needed to keep the hair light.

Prune unwanted growth. One of the fastest method to remove unwanted facial hair is clipping it with scissor-or shaving to remove the hair more closely. You can use an electronic or regular razor(but you’ll want a fresh blade to avoid irritating your face- not one you’ve used on your legs). Shaving won’t make the hair darker or thicker, as some people believe, but it will feel stubbly when it growth back. For best result, use a shaving gel and a razor with a pivoting head, says Jhon Romano,M.D., a dermatologist at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.

Wield the tweezers. If you have a few errant hairs on your lip or chin, tweezing will do the job. A possible drawback is that the hair may curl under into the skin as is grows back, causing a pimple. If you’re plagued by this problem, you’ll probably prefer another method of coping with unwanted hair.

Repeated tweezing may eventually destroy the hair follicle, but it may also distort the follicle or cause the hair to grow back thicker. “The tweezing causes blood to rush to the follicle to heal it,” resulting in a stronger hair, says Teresa Petricca, president of the American Electrology Association in Trumbull, Connecticut. The only problem is that these conditions can make electrolysis more difficult if you eventually choose the route.

Wax might work. The waxing part of this easy-melted wax is applied to the skin. The ouch comes when the wax is hardened and pulled off, taking hair with it. One disadvantage: You have to allow your hair to grow long enough for the wax to get a grip on it.

You won’t se new growth again for perhaps several weeks, but waxing like tweezing, may make the hairs grow in thicker. It can also cause skin irritation and rashes, especially on sensitive skin.

Consider a chemical. You can try chemical depilatories specially formulated for the face (those for legs are too harsh). These products remove hair close to the skin and last longer than clipping or shaving. To be safe, it’s best to try a depilatory on a small patch of skin, like your inner forearm, before using it on your face, in case you have a reaction to the product. Anything that dissolves hair is pretty potent stuff, so follow direction carefully. Also be prepared: These product have a strong odor.

Zap it away-permanently. Electrolysis is the only way to permanently get rid of unwanted hair. A needle attached to an electrical source is inserted into the hair follicle, which is then zapped and killed by an electric current. There are two basic technique, galvanic, the use of electricity to convert body salt to lye, which kill the hair root: and thermolysis, which convert electricity to heart and in turn kills the hair root. There are variations on these procedures, and some electrologists combine the two.

Multiple visit are necessary, partly because hair grows in stages. Even if all your existing hair were successfully eliminated on the first visit, “resting” follicles in their dormant phase would later produce hair. Also, if hair is particularly thick or has a distorted follicle that is difficult to accurately aim the needle into, it may require several treatment to kill the root.

You’ll experience some pain, which varies according to the current used, the area being treaded, your own pain threshold and the skill of the electrologist. Costs generally range from $30 to $50 a half hour.


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