It’s not uncommon for women to have to “take care” of the hair on our upper lips or tweeze away stragglers on our chins. But what about when unwanted facial hair becomes too much to handle?
Hirsutism, a medical condition marked by abnormal hair growth on the face and other areas of the body, affects many women and can be rather embarrassing. “If a woman notices a dramatic change in body hair growth or hair growth in an unusual pattern, she should not accept or ignore it,” says Boston, MA, dermatologist Sandy S. Tsao, MD. “Abnormal hair growth could signal an underlying medical condition, so that’s why it’s important to see a dermatologist for a proper diagnosis. Fortunately, there are a number of safe and effective treatment options for excess hair growth, so there is no reason that anyone should just live with this condition.”
There are many non-hormonal remedies like waxing, shaving and topical hair remover that women can use, but for someone looking for more permanent options, these are ones Dr. Tsao suggests:
A chemical or thermal injury is used to destroy the hair follicle and while very effective, each hair follicle is treated individually so it’s a rather tedious and time-consuming procedure. The procedure must be repeated on a weekly basis and the process could take a few years for permanent hair removal.
Office-Based Laser Hair Removal
This treatment works best for patients with fair skin and dark, thick hair, but there are now lasers specifically designed for darker skin, so laser hair removal could be an option. However, Dr. Tsao cautions that the procedure needs to be done very carefully in darker-skinned patients as the melanin in the surrounding skin could absorb the laser and cause dark spots, or a loss of pigment (white spots on the skin). It takes about six to eight treatments to get an 80 percent improvement in permanent hair reduction.
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