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Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body & Soul > Beauty Channel > Skin Care

What You Need To Know About Facial Hair Removal
By Bridget Mwape

What is the best way to remove unwanted facial hair? Shaving is by far the most common method of hair removal for both men and women. Men have been shaving their beards and mustaches for thousands of years. One need only take a look at the huge selection of razors available today to support this. Shaving creams, gels, foams and other products facilitate the shaving process and help reduce skin irritation. But for women suffering with unwanted facial hair, their choices are not so obvious. Many men too are looking for alternatives.

Women with excessive facial hair usually see it along the upper lip, down the sides of the face, and on the chin. Unlike with men, shaving isn't the best removal option. So what's a woman to do? Because facial hair is typically much more than a few wayward hair follicles, plucking these areas isn't an effective method. It's time-consuming and painful! What's needed instead is a method designed for more widespread removal like depilatories and waxing or even electrolysis or laser treatment.

1. Depilatories
Depilatories are an inexpensive, short-term facial hair removal option. Available in gel, cream, lotion, aerosol, and roll-on forms, they contain a highly alkaline chemical - usually calcium thioglycolate - that dissolves the protein structure of the hair, causing it to separate easily from the skin surface. Extreme care must be taken when using on the face as these products can irritate and even burn facial skin. And because depilatories only dissolve visible hair, this method must be repeated frequently as new hair growth appears. The upside is, this process is inexpensive and can be done in the privacy of your own home.

2. Electrolysis
Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal technique that works by destroying individual hair follicles so that hair can no longer grow. Electrolysis and laser are better options. They're permanent facial hair removal methods and they work by damaging the base of the hair follicle so that hair growth no longer occurs. Both of these are expensive options and repeated sessions are generally necessary to remove all hair. But considering that relatively small surface areas are involved, many people are able to justify the costs, the risks and the discomfort involved.

3. Tweezing and Waxing
While depilatories remove hair at the skin's surface, "epilatories," such as tweezers and waxes, pluck hairs from below the surface. Waxing offers many benefits and is the facial hair removal choice of men and women alike. Like with tweezers, when waxing the hair is 'plucked' from its root. This method doesn't damage the actual hair follicle, so new hair growth will continue to occur, but unlike depilatories, new hair growth won't appear on the skin surface as quickly. In fact, it usually isn't visible for several weeks. And, if you're brave enough, waxing facial hair can be done by you at home, however many opt to have someone else perform this procedure. Waxing and tweezing may be more painful than using a depilatory, but the results are longer lasting. Because the hair is plucked at the root, new growth is not visible for several weeks after treatment.

The cost, safety, effectiveness, and ease of use of the various methods, as well as the area and amount of hair growth to be treated, are some factors to weigh in choosing a method and deciding whether to go to a professional. Often, different methods are better suited for different areas.

Copyright 2005 Bridget Mwape
Bridget Mwape writes for the Male Grooming Website at: http://www.male-grooming.org.uk/ and she's also a regular contributor to the Discount Cosmetics Website at http://www.discount-cosmetics.org.uk/

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