There are a number of causes of unwanted facial hair in women. The common denominator is the presence of higher-than-normal levels of androgens (male hormones), including testosterone. All women produce some androgens; however, in a healthy woman these typically remain very low. Is there a treatment for this problem?
Certain medical conditions can cause a woman to overproduce androgens. The most common is called hirsutism. With hirsutism, the excess hair typically grows in the same areas as men’s facial hair, such as around the chin, sideburns, cheeks and neck area. Indian Journal of Dermatology reports that hirsutism affects between 5 and 10 percent of women and tends to be prevalent in women of Mediterranean, South Asian, and Middle Eastern descent.
Hypertrichosis is another condition characterised by unwanted facial hair. Although with this concern excessive or abnormal hair growth can occur simultaneously on other areas of the body. This genetic disorder can affect both women and fortunately it’s extremely rare.
Excessive facial hair growth can result from exposure to any of the following medications:
- Minoxidil, which is used to stimulate hair growth in people with hair loss
- Anabolic steroids, which are synthetic versions of testosterone
- Testosterone, which is prescribed in cases of testosterone deficiency
- Cyclosporine, an immunosuppressant drug that’s often used in organ transplants
Other Reasons for Unwanted Facial Hair
Sometimes unwanted facial hair is not attributed to any hormone imbalance or disorder. It’s simply a matter of genetics or preference to have a smooth face. Most women have some peach fuzz on their faces and some simply don’t like the way it looks. The facial hair may get in the way of smooth makeup application or it may be too dark. Interestingly, more and more men these days want to remove their facial hair simply because they hate shaving or have a problem with ingrown hairs.
How to Get Rid of Unwanted Facial Hair
If you’re in the market for ‘Laser Hair Removal’ then you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of devices and technologies that promise to smoothen your skin. You have the laser diode system, Nd: Yag (Neodymium-Yttrium Aluminum: Garnet) and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). All have a different mechanism of action and varying degrees of comfort and efficacy, depending on skin type, hair thickness and level of pigmentation in the skin.
IPL Hair Removal is Different From Laser
Intense Pulsed Light or IPL hair removal works by delivering intense bursts of broad spectrum light to the skin’s surface. The IPL light targets and destroys pigmented cells inside the hair follicle which produces hair growth. Over the course of several treatments (and months) the hair becomes thinner and sparser.
There’s a major difference between IPL and laser devices such as the diode or Nd: Yag. IPL scatters light across the treatment area instead of delivering a concentrated laser beam which can potentially burn the skin. The diffused wavelengths of light leave the surrounding tissue intact. The treatment settings can be adjusted to accommodate many skin types for a comfortable treatment experience.
IPL Delivers Great Results for Patients with Excess Facial Hair
IPL hair removal technology favours darker and coarser hair. This means patients with thicker hair (or with disorders such as hirsutism) can achieve better hair reduction with IPL than other devices. Another big plus is that IPL is the first photoepilation technology that treats unwanted facial hair effectively on persons of any skin type and ethnicity.
What to Expect with IPL Hair Removal
Before you arrive for your IPL Hair Removal session you must trim the hair that’s visible above the skin. You will be asked to wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from the bright light. Next, a gel will be spread over the treatment area to facilitate the handpiece in gliding along your skin. Once the treatment begins, each pulse may feel like a rubber band or slight sting on the skin. Several weeks after each IPL session, the hair in the treated zone will fall out or become thinner.
Most patients find their IPL hair removal treatment very comfortable. No anaesthetic is required. Unlike laser hair removal which can potentially result in bruising, swelling and irritation, IPL can leave the skin looking slightly pink and feeling warm, and this completely resolves after 20-30 minutes. Since the IPL device emits such a low level of energy it reduces the chances of burning and serious damage to the skin’s surface and surrounding tissue.
How Many IPL Hair Removal Sessions Are Necessary?
Most IPL packages come with 6-8 sessions as a starting point. Removal of unwanted facial hair can be a journey that can last several months to several years. That’s because hormone-related facial hair tends to be more difficult to treat than hair on other parts of the body. The exact number of sessions is not always easy to determine at the start. But if you’re patient and diligent with your IPL treatments, you should see results within 6-8 months.
Contact us now at Restoration Clinic in Mt. Hawthorn, Perth to learn more about IPL Hair Removal: (08) 9025 3218