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UNWANTED HAIR

At one time or another, most of us have had to deal with unwanted hair. Unwanted hair may be on the face or on the body.

Areas of unwanted hair include:

  • Hair on the top of the lip and/or chin
  • Hair on the surface of the cheeks
  • Underarm hair
  • Forearm hair
  • Leg hair
  • Back hair
  • Areola (nipple hair)
  • Chest hair
  • Excessive eyebrow hair (e.g. unibrow)
  • Dark hair in an area without hair or with only fine, light-colored hair

Many women rely on a number of home remedies like homemade pastes containing everything from papaya to turmeric, sugar, lemon, and honey mixtures to remove unwanted facial and body hair. Some home remedies can be quite harsh on the skin and cause irritation such as redness or rash. For people with sensitive skin, these ingredients may cause painful allergic reactions.

Men also experience issues with body hair. The most common complaint about unwanted hair among men is excessive hair growing on the back, shoulders, and torso.


IS UNWANTED HAIR THE SIGN OF A MEDICAL PROBLEM?

Some hair growth is more than just a nuisance. Excessive hair growth can be an indication of a hormonal imbalance. Bodybuilders and athletes using anabolic androgenic steroids may find themselves dealing with excessive hair growth. For women, this results in a condition known as virilism or unnatural growth of hair on the face or body. While most unwanted hair is not the sign of a medical condition, it could be.

If you have any doubt the cause of unwanted hair, the prudent decision is have a physician examine you and determine if abnormal hair growth is simply a cosmetic issue or represents a more serious health condition.


HAIR REMOVAL TREATMENT OPTIONS

Options for temporary, semi-permanent, and permanent hair removal include

  • Shaving and plucking – These are temporarily effective means of removing unwanted hair. Plucking should be limited to stray hair; plucking a large area increases the risk of ingrown hair and potential infection of hair follicles, and scarring.
  • Waxing – This is also effective, but hot waxing runs the risk of burns. Moreover, it is often quite painful.
  • Topical creams – Painless way to temporarily remove hair, but can irritate sensitive skin.
  • Threading – A professional uses threads to remove unwanted hair. It can be precise, but it is temporary and uncomfortable.
  • Electrolysis – Hair follicles are destroyed with an electric current. Good for permanent hair removal, but can be painful.
  • Laser hair removal – Intense light energy is used to destroy to hair root. It offers permanent hair removal with little or no discomfort.

THINK SAFETY FIRST

It may be tempting to opt for one or all of these options to get rid of unwanted hair, but always consider safety first. Not all hair removal options are appropriate for all people. People with chronic circulatory or metabolic conditions may be at risk for skin infection with shaving, waxing, or plucking. People with sensitive skin should carefully consider the risk of skin irritation when using a depilatory (hair removing cream).

There are specific and important advantages to contacting a medical professional for hair removal. A medical professional is able to provide permanent forms of hair removal such as laser hair removal. Moreover, a physician is legally permitted to provide anesthesia and prescription pain-relieving medications if appropriate.