Here’s the truth: You’re a land mammal. And that means you’re going to have at least some hair on your face, since it grows everywhere except for the palms of your hand and the soles of your feet.
Styles and attitudes are changing all the time, but many women like the look of a smooth, hairless face. If you choose to remove some of your facial hair, there are all sorts of methods available — including a few that you can try in the comfort of your own bathroom.
We asked dermatologists what at-home methods for facial hair remove that they most often recommend to their patients.
Shaving is surprisingly OK
One hair removal method that often gets a bad rap — shaving — turns out to be perfectly acceptable for women’s faces, according to many experts.
“It’s a myth that shaving makes hair grow in thicker,” said Joshua Zeichner, an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. “When the hair is removed at the root, a new hair grows, which starts off narrow, but eventually thickens as it grows back. When you shave, you are transecting the hair at its thickest part, so it just appears to grow in thicker.”
However, experts advised against one of the more common at-home methods to remove facial hair: tweezing.
“I don’t recommend plucking hairs on the face,” dermatologist Courtney Rubin said. “The trauma to the hair follicle and subsequent ingrown hairs can lead to scarring and lasting hyperpigmentation.”
Facial hair dermaplaning gets a thumbs up
Dermaplaning — the removal of fine vellus hairs (aka peach fuzz) on the face with a razor blade-like device — has grown in popularity, mostly for its ability to give you smooth, exfoliated skin that makeup glides over. And experts are cool with it.
Jeannette Graf, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said dermaplaning can be done safely at home, but she suggested talking to a dermatologist or watching reliable education videos before giving it a try.
“It’s a myth that shaving makes hair grow in thicker.”
A prescription may help
Some of the dermatologists mentioned a prescription medication called eflornithine, a topical product that slows the growth of hair on the face and under the chin in women. (It’s not recommended for treating other parts of the body.)
Eflornithine works by inhibiting an enzyme that’s needed for hair to grow, explained Janiene Luke, an associate professor of dermatology and residency program director at Loma Linda University.
“This can be helpful because it can extend the times needed to have hair removed,” she said.
In general, how — and whether — you decide to remove facial hair is up to you.
“Facial hair in women can be normal and not a cause for alarm,” said dermatologist Nkem Ugonabo, although she added that there may be times to talk to you doctor.
“Sometimes, however, it may be related to increased levels of male hormones, called androgens, and your doctor may want to evaluate you further to determine why,” Ugonabo said. “For example, patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome can have excess facial hair along with acne and irregular menstrual cycles.”
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