Female Facial Hair Buzz:
Before the development of lasers for hair removal, both women and men have fruitlessly tried to rid themselves permanently of unwanted hair. They have done so essentially since the discovery that fire provided warmth. Through the ages, to preserve their femininity, women have battled hair on the chin or dark hairs on their upper lip. Unwanted facial hair for a woman is not merely a matter of vanity. For a significant number of women, this hair growth is a symptom of a medical condition needing treatment.
Causes of unwanted facial hair:
For most women with dark or course facial hair, the cause is simply of hereditary origin. However, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of American women – several million – suffer from hirsutism, a hormonal imbalance and symptom of elevated blood levels of male androgens. Produced by the adrenal glands or the ovaries, this elevated level of androgens causes male pattern hair growth on women. In the U.S., hirsutism is common and is estimated to occur in 1 in 20 women of reproductive age.
Darkly-pigmented white individuals of either sex tend to be more hirsute than blond or fair-skinned people. Hirsutism is difficult to evaluate in women who have blond hair or who already have undergone cosmetic treatments.
The onset of hirsutism can begin at any age and is progressive. Most often, symptoms develop during a woman’s childbearing years. Regardless of the cause and age of the woman, the condition needs to be addressed. In addition to treating the cause, the unwanted facial hair can be cleared by use of the appropriate laser, even if the hormonal imbalance is resistant to correction.
The most widespread hormonal problem in women with excessive facial hair is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a common endocrine disorder, which affects approximately 6 percent of women of reproductive age throughout the country. A woman diagnosed with PCOS does not ovulate regularly and, therefore, has irregular periods. These women tend to be obese but not always. The woman may also be considered “infertile,” be insulin resistant, and often is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. In addition, she may suffer from adult facial acne.
For most women with PCOS
The hair on the upper lip, chin hair, and neck hair become heavier and darker. The masculine hair on the arms or legs, and more hair growing in the pubic region, abdomen, chest or back are also possible.
The specific cause or causes of PCOS are still unknown. Treatment is difficult and, as yet, there is no known cure. In spite of the problems associated with the syndrome, facial laser hair removal has been very effective in the long-term facial hair reduction for women with PCOS.
Another common cause for women developing unwanted facial hair is the inevitable process of aging. As women age, production of the female hormone estrogen lessons, and their male hormone production develops a relative predominance. It’s a perfectly normal condition of women’s’ bodies. However, it does often result in darker hair growth on the face. As women age, facial hairs convert from the essentially invisible vellus hairs, which generally covers their faces most of their lives, to the larger, more obtrusive, thick and pigmented terminal hairs.
Dark hair does not discriminate by age. “Mustache” hair and long facial sideburns are usually hereditary and present on the faces of many pre-teen and teenage girls. While laser hair removal is not generally performed on females under the age of 14, special circumstances can sometimes be made after a full consultation with a physician.
No gray hair, no peach fuzz:
Women interested in facial laser hair removal must seek treatment while their hair is still naturally dark. Once the hair turns gray, it cannot be treated by laser, even if it is dyed. The laser works by targeting the melanin in the hair, which gives hair its dark color. The absence of melanin in gray hair prevents the laser from “seeing” that hair. If one dyes the gray hair, the laser may temporarily destroy the hair on only the skin’s surface. Dye does not penetrate the skin and thus the laser energy cannot reach the hair root for permanent destruction.
Light, fine “peach fuzz” hair is common on the faces of many women. This hair is normal and generally, cannot be removed by any laser. Today’s most sophisticated lasers use light that targets the pigment in a hair and its follicle. Consequently gray, white, blonde and some red hairs do not respond to this treatment.