Facial Hair Removal in Girls & Women

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Hair Removal in Teen Daughter

Nov 2011

My 15 year old daughter waxes her upper lip and brow twice monthly (at roughly $30 each visit, this is adding up!). She has dark hair and very white skin. She would like to go away for the summer, but cannot do so without permanent hair removal (laser or electrolysis). We are interested in the following feedback: 1. Which is better, Laser or Electrolysis 2. Places in the El Cerrito/Albany area Thank you! Hairy Mama, too!

I personally liked laser better then electrolysis. Elec. is slow and painful. Laser covers more hair per ''click'' and depending on the machine is not as painful, or not painful at all. I've gone to the American Laser Center on Tele. and Ashby in Bkly (# on line or in phone book). I found them to be reasonably priced. Over time it kills the roots so you don't have to go back. The down side is the laser recognizes only certain types of hair on skin...dark hair olivey or darker skin is more successful then fair hair, fair skin. Good luck/ no longer hairy

hi, i've had electrolysis for some facial hair (chin and upper lip) for at least 6 years now. There's much less hair than before and much of it is thinner than it used to be, but this is just to say that doing electrolysis helps but your daughter will still grow hair back over the summer. I had this problem as well when we went to Europe in the summers and I could not find electrolysis there so I would just cut my hairs. If she's able to do her own waxing, I guess that's the way to do it. Haven't done laser and can't say much about it although I have heard that it can scar so I didn't want to risk that on my face. Waxing is probably painful enough---electrolysis is extremely painful. just be sure she cuts and doesn't pluck! sympathetic and self conscious

Teenage Girl Concerned About Too Much Facial Hair

Oct 2011

My daughter, 17, is very concerned about the amount of facial hair she has growing on chin and sideburns. Her father is from India (although nor particularly hairy) and I have mostly believed this must be a family trait. I am embarrassed to check in with his sisters about this, and I believe my daughter also feels shy about asking, but I would really like to know what could be the cause of this more than average hair growth on her face. She has beautiful skin and complexion. I secretly fear that this may be the result of a hormonal imbalance caused by my heating up plastic bottles, etc., in the microwave when she was an infant and small child (before we knew any better!) Her doctor did a testosterone test, and it came back normal. If anyone has any idea about what could be the cause and what to test for, as well as a plausible solution, I would be most grateful. Thanks! Concerned mom

Facial hair varies widely from person to person. Some ethnic groups and some people are hairier than others. This does not mean it's your husband's family's ''fault.'' This is not some secret, embarrassing thing that no one mentions. And no, you didn't cause her to be hairy because of things you fed her. I'd gently like to suggest that you're losing a balanced perspective on this. It's just some hair.

I'm glad you had a hormone test done. If your daughter's doctor feels there's no problem there, then there probably isn't. You could always ask for a referral to an endocrinologist if you're really that worried, just to completely put these fears behind you.

Lots of women use laser hair removal for permanent hair removal. There is also waxing. When my (rather hairy Armenian) girlfriend visited Turkey and got a haircut, the women there automatically started waxing her arms as part of the salon treatment. I have a Turkish friend who just had lots of laser hair removal done at Kaiser dermatology (facial hair and other areas). It's commonplace to get unwanted hair removed--it's just a matter of how much you can afford. relax and hit a salon or a dermatologist

One of my daughters has struggled with unwanted facial hair on her chin and cheeks since she reached puberty. For what it is worth, she is half-Asian-American. I am a rather hairy Caucasian myself, but nothing like her. Her sisters have been spared this too, so I don't know how much ethnicity is linked to this condition in our family's case.

For this and other symptoms (early onset of puberty) she was seen by the endocrinologist at Oakland's Children Hospital, who diagnosed PCOS -- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, when she was 14 or so. Hirsutism, the excess of facial hair, is one of its symptoms. So are painful menstrual periods. Over the past 7 years or so, she has gone through that same testosterone test twice. It was never very conclusive but her new endocrinologist still confirmed the PCOS diagnosis. Use of a contraceptive has helped a lot with menstrual pain but has not changed the facial hair problem. For this, she sees a wonderful,understanding esthetician who treats the unwanted hair by waxing it every few weeks. The dermatologist has strongly advised against laser hair-removal because of its possible effect on skin-pigmentation.

I should add that my daughter, now aged 20, has been overweight and that both endocrinologists have mentioned that weight-loss could well lessen correct the facial hair issue. One of them specifically recommended a low-carb diet similar to Phase 2 of the South Beach Diet. At this point she hasn't really felt ready to embark on a focused weight loss effort, so I can't confirm this either way.

This has been a very delicate issue with my daughter as well and I wish there was an easy solution. There is a prescription cream called Vaniqa,which didn't help my daughter's condition, but who knows -- it could be helpful to yours.

Your doctor might consider PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. In this condition, the ovaries may have many cysts, preventing them from making adequate amounts of hormones. The level of testosterone may not be excessive, but if not balanced by adequate estrogen, it can cause various problems including hirsutism (abnormal hairiness in females). Here's one page with good info: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001408/ - Note, your daughter doesn't have to have all symptoms to be affected by the condition. Good luck!

Hair removal for pre-teen girl

Nov 2009

My 11 year old daughter shaved her underarms for the first time tonight. This lead to a discussion about unwanted hair for many different areas. My questions are these? For darkening upper lip hair should we pursue bleaching for a pre-teen? When is electrolysis safe, recommended or reliable (won't keep coming back) for a pre-teen or teen? Waxing? Any thoughts about bikini line hair for younger (11-14) teen that wants to remove it? We are entering new, uncharted territory so all advice and info welcome. Letting it be natural is not what she/we are interested in. Thanks. Mom of a pre-teen

As a formerly mustached girl, I can speak from experience... go for bleaching. Sally Hansen makes a good facial bleach that you can pick up at any drugstore and use every few weeks. I started tweezing and bleaching as a pre-teen. As a teen, I had my upper lip waxed for a while until I learned that waxing of the face can cause premature wrinkles. I had electrolysis done in my early twenties and it worked well and didn't hurt much. Now I just tweeze a few stragglers. I'm not sure at what age you can start electrolysis, I would ask a dermatologist. They also do laser hair removal now. Another idea that's chemical and pain free (although pricey) is threading. There's a booth on Bay St in Emeryville, and I imagine other local places also do it, and perhaps for cheaper. -no longer mustached

Electrolysis for teen girl

Sept 2009

If BPN members can recommend electrologists who are highly competent, provide great customer service, can treat teen girl skin and whose rates are really reasonable I would really appreciate it.

hagar orren is across from monterey market- she would be a great choice- very professional, but also very kind and cool. also, if she hasn't already, she should get her hormone levels checked to explore any possible underlying issues. anon

I would like to recommend Hagar Orren to you. She's in Berkeley. Here is the link to her website: http://www.hagarorren.com/index.html. She's a wonderful practitioner, and I am sure that she'd be great working with a teen. Rosie

Have you considered laser hair removal for your daughter? No one I know even does electrolysis anymore bacause of the hyperpigmentation and scarring it can cause---plus that they have to put a needle into each follicle to kill it. I've had laser hair removal done (the LightSheer laser)and the hair on my legs is pretty much all gone after 7 sessions (sessions were 6 weeks apart and I couldn't pluck or wax during that entire time). There are so many offices having promotions on laser hair removal these days, it's really affordable. I paid 3 times the price people are offering now. But do your research! Call in and see what laser they use, who does the treatments, how long that specific person has been doing treatments, how long they've been in business, etc....Also, I remember them telling me that it was imperative I avoid the sun for 2 weeks before and after each treatment. Good luck! anon

I recommend Hagar Oren. She sees teens and adults all the time, (though I don't have a teen myself), and I know she treats teens with extra care.

She is a great person, wonderful to talk to, and her office is lovely and creates a calm environment. She's located in the Westbrae neighborhood near Berkeley Hort and Monterey Market.

Her rates are $35 for the first 15 min and then for every additional 15 minutes - (only) $10 more... makes it $45 per 1/2 hour, $55 per 45 min and $65 for 1 hour.... Hagar Oren 526-4288. Kira

5-year-old daughter is beiung teased about moustache

June 2008

My 5 year old daughter told me that ''every time she meets a stranger they tell me I have a mustache''. I was shocked only because of the timing - I also had a lot of facial hair, hair on my arms and legs and was teased - but I was able to largely say ''bug off!'' and move on. It did bother me a little, but not too much (no tears, that I recall).

Well, after recovering from initial dismay, I told her that I also was teased, also about my hairy arms and legs but it didn't matter to me - and did she think there was something wrong with my arms or face? Also that her brother was teased about his ears sticking out but didn't she think he was handsome (she did) and a whole list of things that anyone can be teased for if someone decides to pick on them.

I told her that she can't let other people decide what is good or bad about her body and that she has to remember how many times people have stopped and told me/her how beautiful she is and how much they love her/that she's special.

I was proud of myself for figuring out something to say, then pondered how much this will bother her and what to do later. Every time I have mentioned the story to her dad, my mom etc - i get the same reaction - they immediately start considering options to bleach or ''deal'' with the hair! Her hair is darker than i remember mine being, so i think the concern in part is the prominence of it.

I'm very concerned about sending her the signal that because someone teased her - she should change herself.

I figure if it continues to bother her to the point of emotional distress, that I will then consider what to do, but for now she seemed satisfied with our conversation. She seems to have a very strong self esteem. Am I missing something here? Am I trying to force her to be ok when she's not? How young is too young and how do you deal with this with as few mixed messages as possible! (I do wax myself!). only 5 years old

I was teased and told ''You have a mustache'' from as early as I can remember. It plagued my life. My mother would tell me ''ignore them''. When I was in 7th grade I got electrolysis which really hurt. At some point I started bleaching and that solved my problem but I had to do it every 6 or so weeks. Finally at 53 (I'm now 55),I had laser facial hair removal done. Where has that been all my life? For the first time I am ''mustache'' free and LOVING how I look. You can help your daughter without giving her a message that she is not OK. People notice facial hair and kids are not the best always at being appropriate.

I say help your daughter feel better about herself. Bleaching is pretty easy (a little smelly) but pain free. At this point in her little young life laser/electrolysis/waxing would be pointless (and painful) because when she goes through puberty all that might change (or not). Good luck formerly hairy

Same! I also had upper lip hair, and I vividly remember feeling like part of the group, or that people were actually listening to what I said, and then to be totally knocked down by someone commenting on my facial hair. I did bleach in high school, and finally in college, got it taken off completely.

Now I have two daughters, both of whom have hair on their legs, arms, and upper lip. My 10 year old tried bleach on her lip, and finally this year has started waxing at a salon in Albany.

My 7 year old wore long sleeves and long pants all through kindergarten, to hide the hair on her arms and legs. She has even had ADULTS comment to her about her hair on her arms. Some boys at school call her ''bush.''

Why should ANY child have to turn the other cheek? Why should they always have to rise above it? I know that you and I believe that we are beautiful anyway, and we love our daughters, but it s PAINFUL.

My 8 year old has not done anything about the hair on her lip, but has started using Nair on her arms and legs and is much happier. She wears shorts without worry now, and I can see her interacting in stronger ways now that she does not feel worried that at a moments notice, someone will comment on her hair.

It's not fair. But, if children have acne, parents seek medicine to improve it. Why is this any different? It's not fair, but why should our daughters suffer just to prove a point that we should embrace who we are? I say bleach, bleach, bleach. It is harmless and will help her feel better about herself. Those comments stayed with me a lifetime!

I am deeply touched and impressed by your caring words to your daughter. I think you are doing just the right thing and I will remember your words for my own kids too. She is going to be just fine. While it hurts to be teased, and it's good to allow her to acknowledge that, you are giving her a deeper and lasting gift by letting her know she is fine just the way she is. You are also giving her the gift of knowing that other people who are different for whatever reason are fine just the way they are too. Tearing up

I am a Mediterranean woman with lots of hair. I was often called a monkey by other kids. (The jab wasn't at my facial hair but the abundant hair on my arms.) Of course the other side is that while many other kids had such fine hair on their heads that they couldn't even keep a barrette in it, I always had gorgeous hair and I bet your daughter does too. (My mom told me the hair on my arms and the hair on my head go together. If I get rid of one I'd have to get rid of the other.) I think your instinct is absolutely right - no bleaching at age 5. The chemicals can't be good for such tender skin and, while I understand your husband's instinct to protect his little girl-it is so hard to see your baby hurting- you are right to point out that to her that we are all different and our bodies look different and they are all beautiful. One day someone might tease her about something that just can't be changed and she'll have learned how to brush those comments off at age 5. I'll admit that I started bleaching my facial hair in college. When your daughter is a young adult, she can decide if that's something she wants to do - or not. Italian Babe

Just because it didn't bother you very much, doesn't mean that it doesn't bother your daughter...a lot.

Ask her what she wants to do. Tell her she can get it waxed if she wants, though it will be painful. Tell her you don't think it is a big deal (you already gave her the good ''love thyself'' talk) but let her know that if it *does* bug her, there are things she can do about the mustache. -Girl who hated having a 'stach growing up

I appreciate very much the heartfelt concern you have for protecting your daughter's self-esteem and for nurturing it as well. Sometimes these forces compete, and it is indeed very hard to find a middle path that works.

In the end I would come down on the side of what seems to be the more pressing issue: that your daughter has a prominent mustache, and that is, unfortunately, the first thing that other children notice about her. We live in the 21st century, when there are many treatment options for problems like obesity, buck teeth, even cleft palates. In your place I think I'd be consulting a professional who can help treat a simple problem like a mustache.

Ultimately we want our children to relate to others for who they are inside; and yet their outsides can, in the rough-and-tumble of life, sometimes forbid people (especially immature 5 year-olds) from getting to know the person they are inside. This would be my worry for your daughter - that if you leave her prominent mustache untreated, other kids will relate to her as the girl with the mustache, and she'll come to relate to herself that way before she is really old enough to have a solid self inside.

I hope this doesn't seem presumptuous, but I am imagining that there are two things at the front of your mind as you experience your daughter's struggle:

1. Your own childhood history, when there may not have been a simple treatment for a mustache, and in which you learned to put up with the social effects of your mustache (and you mention that your daughter's is much darker than yours)

2. Your present adulthood, in which, at whatever age you are, you have learned that you need not be defined by your physical appearance.

But in the long run I think that age five is too young to be presented with such a lesson. Personally, I'd get the mustache treated now, and then later if she wants to let it all hang out she can, with the light of experience and of all the other lessons she'll learn along the way about the unfairness of experience (particularly women's experiences) in the material world.

That's my thought, anyway. I hope it is of help. pK

Can you be my mom too??

I am in my 30s, and apparently I have a moustache. I am of the opinion that the apropriate thing is to completely accept myself as is, and that I'm not 'wrong' for growing hair. Apparently it's biologically appropriate, on my face at least.

But my last two boyfriends complained about it (really I don't think it's that noticeable, but then again I don't kiss myself).

I have grappled with this, not sure what to do. I really don't want the expense and hassle of waxing, plus like I said, I'm philosophically opposed.

I think we should be more loving and accepting as a society. If we cave to these ideals of perfection (which as you know, are way more focused toward women being perfect than men), then perhaps we are just part of the problem.

I hear where you are coming from, and my parents had a similar attitude. However, I was teased a lot about various aspects of my appearance and looking back on it there are many things my parents could have done to help me out which they did not do because they didn't think looks were important. Small things become more important the more you are teased about them, and you may not hear about the full extent of the teasing until serious damage has been done. I like the way you handled it but you could have also asked her what SHE wanted to do. Would she rather the dark hairs not be so noticeable? You could tell her what can be done and then let her decide how important it is to her. That way you are still acknowledging her beauty and right to be different while also validating her natural desires for conformity. Unlike ears that stick out, your daughter's hair situation can be easily and painlessly managed as a matter of grooming. As long as the parents don't place more importance on it than the child does, and it's at the child's request, I can see only benefits. Teased as a child

Your daughter is learning about the values that our society holds. I agree that she should feel comfortable ''as is.'' However, girls don't usually have ''mustaches'' and it sounds like she does. If it continues to be an issue, you could say something like this ''honey, I think you look fine. However, if this is really bothering you, we could do something such as put some cream on it that would lighten the hair. What do you think?''

I grew up with a very large and visible birthmark and was teased endlessly. My mom told me I was beautiful inside and out. However, when I got a bit older she supported my decision to look into getting it removed. I appreciated her being kind yet realistic about my situation. (p.s. the ''removal'' process did not work and I am no longer bothered by the birthmark) anon

12-year-old daughter wants facial hair gone - suggestions?

Jan 2008

My 12-year old has dark facial hair above her upper lip and she wants it gone. I understand that laser treatment or electrolysis are the only permanent solutions, but both are painful (she's not that stoic). Bleaching is an option, but I'm wondering how involved it is and how often it has to be done. Would be grateful, on my daughter's behalf, for suggestions of what's worked for other young girls. And if there are specific professionals (if we go the electrolysis or laser route) you can recommend, please do.

Oh, the facial hair. I'm very hairy and was teased starting in 2nd grade? My girlfriends and I bleached our upper lips - it's not that complicated - you mix the powder and the cream and put on top - it does sting and you have to be careful.

But you end up w/ a blond upper lip - which if you are not that hairy is not noticable - but if she has thick, dark hair, is noticable.

I never tried the hair removers (i'm not sure they are safe for the face) but that might be a second option - but will also likely sting a bit. Veet is much less offensive smelling than Nair products.

I'm just waiting for the day I have to figure this out for my little 5 yr old who has a very dark upper lip...as an adult, I wax, but might take advantage of a friend who works at a laser center! hairy too

Hi: Laser and electrolysis both have pros and cons.

Electrolysis is cheaper, works for all skin and hair types and hurts more.

Laser is faster, less painful and a lot more expensive and only works for hair that is darker than the background skin.

Most laser is associated with a doctor's office and so they have access to topical anesthetics which help a lot with the pain. Also, one laser blast hits an area so depending on the density of hair many follicles are killed with one jolt of pain. But this does not work if the hairs are very light or the skin very dark as the laser needs to see a contrast in the pigment in order to target hair rather than skin. Electrolysis is readily available and much cheaper but it really hurts. The upper lip is especially sensitive. Ice and a prescription topical anesthetic from your doctor can help some.

Both can leave residual redness for a few hours (more so electrolysis) so it's not something to do before a social event. anon

I have three daughters, 12, 15, 17. Bleaching works,is painless and lasts about 4/5 weeks. I usually mix the bleach for them and they do it at the same time.

For myself, I have had laser treatments for the chin area, 100 times more effective than electrolysis. I go to the Laser center in Pinole, phone number is 724-8282. Wouldn't recommend it for a twelve year old though. The hair may diminish by itself after puberty is over.

I also use hair removing cream, but wouldn't recommend it for such young face skin. Good Luck

My youngest daughter is also hairy and we found a good solution after trying waxing and electrolysis (which was painful, expensive and gave not-very- satisfactory results). The woman who waxed her upper lip (who also had dark upper lip hair) told us to buy those little blunt-tipped nail scissors (invest in a high quality pair) and trim the upper lip hair closely. It is effective, cheap, can be done often and by oneself. Highly recommended!! My daughter still has waxing for 'special occasions' but overall is much less self-conscious and happy with the scissors technique. another mom

Hair removal for pre-teen girl

June 2007

Our middle school daughter has been receiving multiple comments about her body hair, particularly the hair above her upper lip. It is blonde, but much more than ''peach fuzz.'' We are dealing with the comments, talking to her, trying to empower her, and so on. BUT, she does want the hair OFF! Question: Where can she go to get the hair removed? We would like recommendations about waxing and other methods of removal. Also, which business will deal with a girl (rather than a woman)? Albany/El Cerrito/Berkeley area preferred.

You might try electrolysis. You could at least get a consultation - there's a wonderful woman I go to across the street from the Monterey Market. Her name is Hagar Orren and her number is 510 526 4288.

After years of arguing with my daughter about her upper lip hair (which is brown), she is now waxing it off herself. I didn't think it was a big deal but it was for her. I don't think people where saying anything to her about it, she just looks at herself under a microscope at every hair and blemish. I suggested bleaching, which she does too sometimes (not an issue in your daughter's case). Then we bought some wax product at elephant (I can't remember the brand name). It's a little pot of green wax that you carefully heat over the stove (first few times it was all over and was really hard to get off the stove). We discoverd you don't have to melt the whole thing just a little on the sides will do. Then you take what looks like a wooden ice cream stick and smear it over the hair, wait a few minutes and rip it off! I do it too sometimes. It does a good job but it's painful. Waxing is painful, no way around it. Good luck. hairy family of women

I don't know if she works with pre-teens or not, but I have worked with a wonderful electrologist in North Berkeley (across the street from the Monterey Market). Her name is Hagar Orren & her phone # is 526-4285. She has a website, if you want to check it out: www.hagarorren.com. She's very gentle and kind. My mom brought me to an electrologist when I was a young teen because I had dark hair on my upper lip and a ''mono-brow.'' And I was really grateful - it made me feel much more comfortable.

A good referral for hair removal is Esther Torres at Au Natural 339-1152. Karen

In my late 30s, too much peach fuzz on my face

March 2007

I am a late 30s woman and have more peach fuzz on my face than I would like to have. It's not long, but there is just a lot of it, and because I have a little layer on my whole face, I rarely get that glow of nice healthy skin, and instead my skin looks dull and flat even when it's at it's best- because of the hair. I am not interested in laser- doesn't work on blonde hair- or electrolysis I don't think though I am interested in hearing what's worked for any others with this condition. I have also heard of a hormone that you can take in low dose to shed the hair. I'd love feedback of any kind. Thanks! Peachy

Have you considered waxing? It doesn't work for me b/c my skin reacts badly to it, but several of my friends do it in certain parts of their face (eyebrows, moustache, etc.) and it they are happy with the results. anon

10-year-old daughter is upset about moustache

June 2006

Our ten year old daughter has very light skin and dark hair. She has been increasingly upset that her peers have been telling her (daily, in one context or another) that she has a moustache. She is self conscious and self aware, and would like to get rid of it. We tried Nair, which worked, but burned and left blotches. Now it has grown back.

While I know that removing it or bleaching it may not be the PC thing to do, I also know, having also endured the same sorts of remarks all through my teen years, how damaging it can be and how it eats away at you. Yes, she can rise above it, and does so beautifully. But my question is: What products or procedures are out there for her, should she care to pursue them? Been there, in another era

As another hairy gal, my heart goes out to your daughter. I think it's terrible that her peers are teasing her, and would hope that if this is happening at school, you could ask the teacher to give the kids a refresher lesson on respecting differences. At some point you might want to take your daughter to see (or rent) some Indian and Iranian films, where she can see some absolutely gorgeous women with dark facial hair. On a practical level: Jolen bleach (available at any drugstore) is specifically designed for lightening facial hair. After a ten-minute application, her mustache will be blonde and much less visible. To use it you mix together a bleach powder and an activating cream. If she experiences an uncomfortable stinging sensation, cut down on the amount of powder and use more cream. How often she'll need to re-apply depends; probably at least monthly if she wants to keep it up. Another movie tip: my mom and I (who both have been using this stuff for years) were delighted by a scene in ''A Fish Called Wanda'' where Jamie Lee Curtis is shown with bleach over her lip before a big date. The movie may be a little too racy for your daughter now, but in a few years she can get a good giggle out of it Been There

Hi there, If you want long term effective hair removal I would suggest calling Susan Parks Electrologist in Alameda. She is wonderful and professional and works on men, women and children. She is in the phone book. her website is www.hair-be-gone.com Good Luck Ursula

Sounds like my childhood. I feel for your daughter. Kids can be really cruel. I recently had laser hair removal and have been THRILLED with the results. For the first time in my life I have NO HAIR on my chin or upper lip. It's permanent (for the most part...I may have to have a touch up done in a few months). It hurts, but it's quick. As a teenager I had electrolysis. Hurts too and takes a long time, but works. Mostly in my adult life I''ve bleached. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have done the laser treatments. Your daughters complexion sounds just right for laser. Light skin, dark hair. I went o Aura Skin Care on San Pablo avenue in El Cerrito. It's in the medical bldg across from the plaza. It's great that you're tackling this now. /good luck no longer hairy

At 10 years old, your daughter can be treated with laser hair removal. The treatment with the Candela Gentlelase laser is safe and will permanently remove the unwanted hair. Each treatment will decrease the hair in the treated areas, and it will take 3-5 treatments to get near complete hair elimination. The treatment is uncomfortable, like a rubber band snapping on the skin repeatedly, but topical anesthetic cream can be used to make the process less irritating. It is also quick and much less painful than electolysis or waxing. Our young patients tolerate this very well, particularly when they are prepared and motivated. I have written about the specifics of the laser on the BPN and have included the link in the archives http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/beauty/hairremoval.html Elizabeth

Home electrolysis kit for chin and lip hair?

May 2006

I have a problem with chin and lip hair. I searched the archives and found some advice- but it was back in 2002. I'm specifically interested in learning about a home electrolysis kit- if anyone can recommend one. I know the professional is the way to go, but it's not something that I can do. Also, oddly, it seems this problem started when I started taking the pill. I've been off the pill for a couple of years, yet the problem continues. Has anyone experienced that? Suggestions? I'm really tired of this problem, so I appreciate input. thanks anon

At home kits DO NOT WORK. I also developed dark facial hair and excessive body hair after using the pill for 6 months. I finally went to see an electrologist after watching an episode of Oprah that dealt with hirsuitism (tons of body hair). I learned that (a) I didn't have hirsuitism and (b) hair can be permanently removed. The wonderful electrologist treated my hairs once every two weeks for about 2 years and now I only go in every few months for a dozen or so hairs. I can travel, be in direct light, have close conversations all without worrying that my hairs are visible. It takes so much of the mental stress away. If you explain your hesitation and/or financial hardship to the electrologist I'm sure they will help you through this. former hairy-scary

Home kits don't work, they are a waste of time and money. I tried a bunch before I started to see a professional electrolysis for the same areas(and more).

You said that you ''couldn't'' go to a professional, but didn't say why. If its the expense, for your chin/upper lip you probably only need 15-20 min. per session which will run you between $20-30. You have to go at least 6 times to get the area free of hair, but you won't need to go very often, to start probably once every 2 weeks.

The upper lip and chin are very painful areas to have treated. I have a pretty high pain threshhold but I was glad that I used a topical anestetic prior to my first visit- when we did my upper lip. Lately I have been using Emla cream, which is available by perscription in the US, but not in Canada, so I order it online from a Canadian pharmacy. You put it on an hour before treatment(follow the directions explicitly-this means putting plastic wrap over the area-so you will look funny so you cannot plan to run errands before your treatmant).This numbs the area, but you will still feel a little pain just not nearly at the level that you do without the cream.

My electrolysist will let people come and get a couple hairs removed for free so that they try it out before committing to a set amount of time. She is Marcie Davis (510)432-4179, located on W. Grand Ave in Oakland across from Fairy land in a very private setting. Tell her Lisa sent you :) Lisa

I've treated myself and my 18 year old daughter to facial hair removal treatments in San Francisco at the Epi Center Clinic on 450 Sutter Street (415) 362-4754. I say ''treated'' because it's been a real blessing not to have to tweeze, bleach or feel embarrassed about having a 5:00 shadow anymore. And it's relatively inexpensive and painless compared to electrolysis and laser hair removal offices I contacted. (Be sure to arrive early to use the numbing gel they give you 1/2 hour before) Cost: $99 per chin and upper lip treatment, which only took a few, plus a 1/year follow-up. Couldn't be happier! Stubble-free in the E. Bay

My 3 daughters all have dark hair on their bodies

Feb. 2004

I have three girls, ages eight, five, and three. All three have ample hair on their heads--nothing outrageous, though. But, soon after their second birthdays, all three began to grow body hair on their arms, legs, and especially on their backs! I don't mean the light, goose-down hair that most people have. I mean dark hair, and a lot of it (it is long, too. It is not 'peach fuzz'). They have more than the usual amount of hair on their arms and legs, too. The eight (almost nine) year old is getting some light brown hair on her upper lip (though it is still slight). She is in the third grade, and is getting very self conscious about it, asks why she is so hairy, and says she does not want to wear shorts because of the hair on her legs. She has a lot of hair on her arms, and kids are starting to say that she is hairy and so on. The fact is, she IS hairy. I try to shrug it off for her, but I am wondering at what age can she do something about it (what can she do?), and if it is going to get worse (it seems that the older the girls get, the more hairy they become). The pediatrician thinks that it is simply their genes (I am not hairy, by the way), and they may get less hairy at puberty (or more, if possible). Does any one else have ''hairy girls,'' and if so, what happened at puberty? When can children bleach/wax/do whatever? My shrugging it off has worked up until now, but as my eldest daughter gets older, she is more and more wounded by the comments of others, and more aware that she is ''different'' in this way. Mama to Fuzzy Babies!

I was really hairy as a kid. I had a lot of hair on my arms(I'm female) and dark hair on my upper lip. I remember as early as 2nd grade kids (especially the boys) teasing me. Kids would say ''ooh, you have a mustache''....and they'd call me ''Hairy Harry'' and ''Hairy Banana'' (these were 9 and 10 year old boys) It never stopped untill I became a teen and started bleaching my upper lip and getting electrolysis. By then I didn't care so much about my arms and I started shaving my legs. I didn't have hair on my back.... My mother would tell me to ignore it....it was hard to ignore and my self esteem was pretty low. When I was in 7th grade my mother took me for electrolysis...I still continued to bleach my lip and even to this day. I don't know much about laser hair removal...don't know if it's perm! anent or not, but electrolysis, though it's a little painful is permanent if you do it consistantly till the hair is under control. Or you can help your daughter at least bleach her lip hair. SHe'll feel and look so much better. Good luck. I feel for her. same amount of hair, just bigger arms

I was hairy as a little girl, and by 5th grade I was very aware of it and embarrassed by it. I stole my dad's razor to shave my legs... You might check in with an electrologist to find out whether it's a good idea to treat somebody young. An electrologist I saw told me that she had treated girls. I think it's very unlikely that somebody will get less hairy w/ adolescence. My experience and that of others I know is that things get worse with adolescence, and that's a long time to hope for a problem to go away and a difficult time of life). Unfortunately, our society doesn't value hairy bodies, and this is difficult for hairy kids--especially girls. I'd suggest taking some action that is both healthy for the kid and supportive of their desire to manage the problem. And continue to let your ! kids know that they are beautiful, handsome, unique, etc., so they can love themselves the way they are and not feel like they are inadequate for what they're born with (or you move to Thailand, where people find hairy bodies to be beautiful!). anon

Tired of shaving - what are my options?

Oct 2002

I'm a 36 year old woman who has battled chin and upper lip hair for years. I started shaving when I was a teenager and have kept up the practice. But, the downside is that it seems to make the dark hair come in darker and coarser and I get very self-conscious near the end of the day. I feel like it is always somewhat visible and I also often end up with a razor rash.

I heard there was a new drug (pill or cream, I'm not sure) that can be taken to get rid of the hair and I've also heard of the laser light zapping treatment to remove (although a recent expose on that practice on some night-time news show made me doubt the practice) - but I'm wondering what others' experiences have been with either of these (or a different method).

I don't have money right now for the laser and I'm not sure I can afford the prescription. I'm also hesitant to try a new drug that hasn't been on the market that long - but I'm so sick of dealing with this hair thing. I feel like it gets in the way of my being confident and it really messes up my skin. I dream of a smooth, blemish and hair free face!

Do you have any experience/opinions with these or other methods? FYI - waxing is not an option as I would have to let the hair get long enough and I wouldn't feel that I could go out in public in the meantime. Thanks much.

I had the same problem for many years. I was very insecure about it, though I bleached and plucked instead of shaved. I finally decided to try electrolysis, even though it was not cheap and was a year-long process. It was also painful depending on the area and the sensitivity that day. In the long run it was cheaper than therapy for dealing with the emotional side of feeling unattractive. Maybe that's shallow of me, but if a simple superficial change can be transformative in a deep way, then why not!?! It does depend though on how much hair we're talking about. I would not do it for my legs for instance, because it takes too long. anon

Have you considered electrolysis? I did it and it really changed my life (as you know, it is really draining and depressing to have to deal with the whole facial hair thing). I went to Petra Stine, in Berkeley. She charged by the length of each appointment and would schedule appointments for anywhere from 15 minutes to one and a half hours. Initially, I just went for 30 minutes each time because I had very little money, but I finally figured out that it was actually more economical to spring for an hour at a time, because Petra could do much more at each appointment, so she made progress much more quickly. I'd really recommend looking into eclectrolysis as an option -- it takes a long time if you're doing a lot of work, but you see results immediately and the hair removal is permanent. anonymous

I use ''Surgi-Cream'' depilatory. The product has been around since 1957 (according to the box) and seems to do the trick. It is available at Longs, etc. (I have heard that shaving makes hair grow back more thickly.) Anon

In the past I've used electrolysis for facial hair removal. I believe it's the only system that really works permanently. A hair follicle has a 9 month cycle, so when a hair is removed by the root through electrolysis the root will either die or be weakened. In 9 months that hair may grow back but much lighter. Meanwhile it seems like the same hairs are growing back quickly because we have millions of pores and new hairs are growing all the time. When I went for electrolysis I went once a week for eithre 15 or 30 minutes. It's a bit painful so it's not a lot of fun but it really works. Some people will make a stop at the dentist first for a shot of numbing anesthetic and then the practitioner can work for a longer time and get more done. I noticed that if I had an apt. closer to my menstrual cycle, the treatment was more painful. That might have had to do with PMS stress, extra fluid in the body,...who knows, so I'd try to schedule apts. before and after but not as my cycle is starting. A few years ago I bought a ''laser hair removal'' kit to use at home. It cost $100.00 and supposedly was good quality. I got it from a catalogue. It had a case that you plug in to electricity and then a cord you wrap around your finger with a tweezer type thing at the end. You grab a hair with the tweezer, press the on button and hold for 45 seconds, then pluck the hair out. It seemed to work but was incredibly slow. I would sometimes do it while watching TV or a movie (in front of a magnifying cosmetic mirror). I did it for a while and then stopped cause it wasn't very convenient. I still do it occasionally for short phases.

I keep thinking I'll do electrolysis again. As I get near 50 yrs I notice a lot more chin hair, which I tweeze. I also bleach my upper lip hair....what a hassle. I hate having to deal with this.

The electrologist I used to go to was Lisa Bruce on Marin Ave in Albany. I know there are a lot of others around, but she's the one that comes to mind. The problem with the creams, waxing, etc. is that the hair comes back. Good luck with this. I really sympathize with you. Dark haired and anonymous

Do not despair! There is hope. I've been there I know. Laser is the way to go. I've tried everything else! Although electryolosis worked very well it was painful and you had to let the hair grow out. If you can spare $99(a small fee considering how annoying/depressing this problem can be) go to Aesthetic Laser Center (www.aestheticlasercenters.com) in SF near bart. It takes only about 10 minutes to zap your face, then you can use the other 20 min. elsewhere on your body (you must book a min. of 1/2 hour) After maybe 3 or 4 treatments, a couple mos. apart (the hair does not need to be long to be treated) the hair grows back so fine, you might not want to come back. Just do it. The risks are minimal. Anon

even though the laser hair removal is expensive (and you may need multiple treatments) it is extrememly effective and permanent. you sound like you just want to get it taken care of. i don't know how much money and time is involved with doing the cream treatments, but laser works! i don't know anyone (and there are quite a few in my office) who regrets having the laser hair removal. suzie

The creme you referred to that supposedly inhibits hair growth is called Vaniqua. I am not sure how well it works but it is applied to the affected areas twice a day (only on the face). I researched it out at one point and found that most health insurance plans don't cover it. However, the cheapest place to get a tube would be Costco Pharmacy at about $41--. I would check with your doctor and maybe try it out. Wish I could tell you how well it works. Heather

i have been using Vaniqua for about a year now and it really works. You need a prescription for it. First you have to get rid of the hair either by shaving or by using hair removal cream and then you apply a very light layer of vaniqua twice a day. That's it! I use so little that I barely squeeze a drop from the tube but that's enough to stop regrowth. Anon

12-year-old daughter is bothered by her facial hair


My 12 year old daughter is bothered by the hair on her face. She is at the age where she is examining herself and comparing herself to others. She has some hair between her eyebrows and in the past year very faint mustache hair has appeared. Her hair is dark so it stands out more than it would if fair haired. She also has sideburns which bother her so she won't wear her hair in a pony tail or behind her ears. Being extremely unhairy, I have no experience with this. It seems to be effecting her self image so I would like to offer her some remedies (especially for the mustache): shaving, plucking, bleaching? Does anyone have experience with this?

Facial hair can be waxed quickly, easily, and relatively inexpensively. The area will be red for a few hours but the waxing can last for up to 6-8 weeks. With dark hair, it might be sooner.

I write as a parent, someone with abundant, dark hair, and as the daughter of same. I do not recommend facial shaving, as it encourages hair growth, feels stubbly as it regrows, and is a typically male grooming activity. Bleach and other chemical depilatories work, but smell unpleasant (especially under the nose area), and may irritate delicate skin. My mother favored wax, which she would warm on a little hot plate in a small pan dedicated to this activity, and apply with a tongue depressor, in the privacy of her bathroom. Once cooled, the hot wax is peeled off quickly, bringing the unwanted hairs with it. Initially, I think she had this done at a salon, until she learned well enough how to do it at home. It's not as unpleasant as it sounds. I've used the technique on my legs, and had my brows done at a salon. (Supplies are available at Long's.)

I opted for electrolysis (for the upper lip), which is not a magic-one-time cure, but which, over time, discourages hair growth, until a satisfactory balance between nature and artifice is attained. Appointments are made about 6 weeks apart, and the hairs return each time finer and fewer. Mole hairs can be treated in the same way, but are somewhat more persistant. (When I plucked them they became ingrown, which was unpleasant and unsightly.) I pluck my brows. You can get electrolysis recommendations from a dermatologist or a salon. Plucked, waxed, and electrolyisized hairs grow back slowly, with no stubble.

re facial hair...Having reached that lovely stage of menopausal facial hair, I can recommend Andrea Gentle Cream facial bleach. Available at Longs. It is easy to mix and you leave it on ten minutes. Works for most facial hair and you could dab it on the side burns as well. Any hairs not bleached are obvious and can be plucked. It would be good to try a small patch first to make sure there are no sensitivties. Also, I am not sure how it interacts with acne, should that be an issue. I would supervise the first couple times and get a procedure down with a timer. It is best to lie down while it is bleaching cause it kind of clumps as it dries and falls off if you walk around. If this doesnt work, I would go the salon route for waxes. It is uncomfortable, but is quick and gets less painful over time. Sign me anonymous but sympathetic!

I'm like your daughter in this regard: I have pale skin and dark hair, and a lot of hair everywhere I have it. I also have quite a bit of hair between my eyebrows, and a light mustache. I've tried just about every option other than professional electrolysis (I never felt it was worth the expense and time): shaving, waxing, bleaching, plucking, depiliatories, home electrolysis. I've just learned to live with it most of the time. My husband actually says he likes it. But the teen years can be especially challenging. Here's my thoughts on the options:

Shaving: a bad option. Grows out immediately, and every hair is the same length and blunt, so it's prickly, and appears darker as it regrows than it did before you shaved. Resist the temptation.

Waxing: painful, but effective for longer than shaving. The hairs grow out at different times and lengths, so you don't have that 5 o clock shadow effect. Waxing around the eyes should be done by a professional (hot wax, and delicate skin), but you can do your own lip at home. Some people say it grows in darker and heavier after you do this a few times; I'm not sure I buy that, but then I only did it a couple times. Others say that if you keep doing it you will eventually destroy the roots and the hairs won't grow back at all. This works to some extent, but it takes a long time. I do have a couple of bald patches near my knees from professionally waxing my legs twice as a teen, so it could happen.

Depiliatories: Like waxing, but not quite as long-lasting, and without the possibility that some hairs won't grow back. Test the cream on a less noticable spot, like the ankle or back of the knee, because some people are sensitive to the chemicals and can break out. Not cheap, of course.

Bleaching: I found this good for my upper lip, but bad for the eyebrows. The hair between the brows is quite thick (at least on me), and the bleach does NOT make it disappear--just calls attention to it being blonde (or worse yet, some hairs only get as far as red...) when the rest of my hair is dark. If you start, you have to keep up with it, because you'll have roots.

Plucking: Good for brows, but not for upper lip. It's cheap of course, but takes a lot of time. Like waxing, they grow in a different rates. Also like waxing, there's a point where it's growing back in where you can't do anything about it for a while: the hairs are too short to catch in the wax or the tweezers. With plucking I found it works OK if I keep up with it: spend a few minutes every day--that way, the hairs are all growing out a different rates, and there aren't very many that are long at any given moment. Supposedly this would have the same effect as waxing of making the hairs thicker and darker over time, or of killing the roots. I haven't noticed either effect.

Home electrolysis: I never found any of the kits to work well, but it's been many years since I tried. They might be better now. My experience was that it was kind of like plucking, but slower and more painful--and it didn't do what they promised, and actually kill the hair roots.

Professional Electrolysis: supposed to kill the hair roots to keep it from growing back. It's pretty expensive, and people I know who have done it said they had to keep going back for a long time (they only do a little bit at a time, usually). But it does eventually work on most people.

FWIW, For my wedding, when I wanted the pictures to be perfect, I waxed both my upper lip and eyebrows.

Other than that, I've mostly just learned to live with it. There's a famous Latino artist who had such thick brows she looks like she only has one. She did a lot of self portraits. Maybe you can find one of her paintings to give a bit of perspective (she also had plenty of self-esteem, I'd say!). And there are men who like hairy women--maybe she should take a trip to Europe! Good luck. I wish her well.


My daughter too has had a problem with facial hair. Her hair is very dark and her skin is light. I had this problem myself at her age and it can cause a serious self-esteem problem, especially if kids make fun of her (they will!). I took my daughter to the salon (we went to Festoon in Berkeley) and they shaped her eyebrows and waxed her lip. It made a very big difference to her & she loved the experience of being in a salon. It cost about $25 for both and is very worth it! She also got a hair style which she loved.


In regard to the post about unwanted facial hair, from experience with friends and relatives, go to a good electrologist, who can remove the hair follicles safely and forever. I can recommend Lisa Bruce in Albany.

re facial hair: http://www.loop.com/~mars1/waxing.htm

Includes One-Touch Inverness home electrolysis system for $29.38

I bought a different one from a TV ad and although the hairs come back after a while, they are finer each time.

A co-worker of mine recommends laser hair removal. She said had this been available when she was a teenager, she would have found her life to be a lot easier. If you have Kaiser, you can get it done at the dermatology dept. for a base price of $150 plus a set price per zap of the laser -- something like $1 per zap. She says it is somewhat painful (similar to waxing), can take more than one visit, but is permanent.