Facial Hair Removal (Hirsutism)

Facial Hair Removal (Hirsutism)

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Facial Hair Removal (Hirsutism)

Female facial hair can be a distressing, embarrassing and uncomfortable condition to live with for many women who have it. Often a symptom of Hirsutism (her-sa-tism), female facial hair is caused by an excess production of androgens (often called male hormones), meaning that hair on the face follows a male hair growth pattern. Women who struggle with the condition may notice thick, dark hair growing on the sides of their face, neck, chin, and upper lip.

Many women who wish to get rid of their unwanted facial hair turn to traditional methods of treatment, such as waxing, plucking, threading, shaving, bleaching, or more recently, laser hair removal. However, these methods can be painful or cause problems of their own in addition to dealing with excess hair growth. Luckily, effective medication that inhibits facial hair growth is now easily available to buy online.

Birth control pills may be an option for women who also don’t want to become pregnant, whilst Eflornithine (Vaniqa) cream could be preferable for women that are avoiding contraception for any reason. Through both treatments require a prescription from a doctor, they are more suitable for women who have grown tired of traditional hair removal methods, and with a reputable online doctor, you could receive your prescription within a day of requesting it.

Below are some common medicines often used to treat female facial hair. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other non-medical methods may be more suitable. If you would like to learn more about these options, then please click here. Before receiving medication you must answer a number of questions to asses your suitability. All questions are reviewed by a GMC registered doctor before a final decision is made. All medication is dispensed via a full regulated and registered UK pharmacy. All prices displayed on our site include the price of the medication and our doctors consultation fee.

D4U Doctor

Dr. Diana Gall

GMC No. 7685129

Our Health Care Team

"Female facial hair, or Hirsutism, can cause embarrassment for many women who struggle with the condition. It is normally caused by a hormone imbalance where the body produces an elevated amount of “male” hormones. Whilst all women produce a low level of these, an increased amount can lead to thick, dark facial hair similar to that of a male. It is most commonly a symptom of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or an adrenal gland disorder. Treatments include Vaniqa cream, oral contraceptives, and home hair removal methods such as waxing or shaving."

Female Facial Hair

What is Female Facial Hair?

Regardless of sex, all humans have hair follicles all over the body and face, many of which produce barely noticeable vellus hairs from an early age. However, female facial hair, often a symptom of Hirsutism, refers specifically to a different type of hair growth that is more commonly seen in adult males. Women with this type of hair growth may notice thick, dark hair on the sides of their face, upper lip, neck, and chin in line with male pattern hair growth. Whilst many females who suffer with excessive facial hair feel embarrassed or self-conscious, hirsutism is surprisingly common, affecting around 5-10% of women. In addition to facial hair, women struggling with hirsutism may also have similar hair growth on other areas of the body, such as:

  • Stomach
  • Chest
  • Arms
  • Back
  • Buttocks
  • Thighs

Female facial hair or hirsutism may be an indicator of another condition, especially if you present with any of the following symptoms in addition to excess hair growth:

  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Infertility

What causes Female Facial Hair?

his type of facial hair growth in females is usually down to a hormone imbalance, specifically, the excess production of androgens, commonly known as male hormones. The term “male hormones” can be misleading as all females produce a low amount of androgens anyway, but elevated levels closer to those found in males can cause symptoms of hirsutism which can be embarrassing for many women. The main cause of female facial hair is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which is responsible for over 70% of hirsutism cases due to how the condition affects hormones.

Whilst distressing, female facial hair itself poses no major health issues, although it can also be a warning sign of the following conditions:

  • Obesity
  • Adrenal gland disorders
  • Cushing’s Syndrome
  • Medication side effects (especially with anabolic steroids or medications that promote hair growth).

All of the above factors may cause a hormonal imbalance, ultimately leading to female facial hair or hirsutism. Whilst hirsutism can be easily treated, it is also important that you contact a GP if you think you may be suffering with any of the conditions mentioned above as many of these require blood tests, scans and regular monitoring.

Medicinal options for facial hair removal for women:

Many women turn to traditional methods of hair removal such as waxing, shaving, plucking, or more recently, IPL treatment. However, some of these methods have their drawbacks and can often be painful or cause other problems of their own. Luckily, female facial hair treatment is readily available to buy online. There are currently two options that are available on Doctor-4-U:

  • Eflornithine (Vaniqa) cream
  • Birth control pills

Whilst both treatments essentially reduce the appearance of unwanted facial hair, they work in different ways.

Eflornithine (Vaniqa)

Eflornithine comes in the form of a cream which is applied topically to the affected areas twice a day, at least 8 hours apart. It works by inhibiting a specific enzyme that is needed for hair growth, ultimately slowing it down on the areas where it is applied. However, as it is not being ingested, any side effects are usually localised to the area where it has been applied. Common side effects are:

  • Temporary skin redness
  • Itchy or tingling skin
  • Dry skin
  • Acne/red bumps on the skin

Unlike other treatments such as bleaching and IPL, you are still able to use your preferred method of hair removal whilst using Eflornithine until you notice that hair growth has slowed down.

Oral Contraceptives

Another effective way of reducing the appearance of female facial hair is the use of contraceptive pills, commonly known as birth control. This medication works by lowering androgen levels in your body and regulates your menstrual cycle. This is especially helpful for those who are struggling with excess facial hair due to PCOS. However, if you’re trying for a baby or already pregnant, oral contraceptives should not be used.

Like most medications, oral contraception can cause side effects, the most common ones being:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Mood swings
  • Breast tenderness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Breakthrough bleeding/spotting

The good news is that there are many different options for oral contraception, so there’s plenty of opportunity to switch to a pill that works for you.

How long will it be until I see results?

Where female facial hair is concerned, patience is a virtue and an essential part of treatment. Hair follicles tend to have a life cycle of around 6-9 months, meaning that it could be a while before you start seeing any noticeable improvement. The effects of Eflornithine generally start to show around 2 months into treatment, though it is advised that you should stop using the product after 4 months if there has been no improvement.

With oral contraceptives, it can take approximately 6 months for women to notice a reduction in facial hair, but with both treatments mentioned, you can still continue using your preferred method of hair removal until you start seeing results from the medication.

Hirsutism and Obesity

Treating female facial hair and reducing the appearance of it unfortunately won’t treat any underlying causes of it. For example, if your excess facial hair is caused by obesity (also linked with PCOS), the best course of action would be to combat the symptom by losing weight. Anti-obesity medications are also available to buy online with the most popular choices being Saxenda, Mysimba, and Orlistat. These treatments are also only available on prescription, but if you think this may be the best route for you to take, file a prescription request, complete a patient questionnaire and one of our doctors will review your case. If you decide to take this course of action, you’ll be reducing your risk of heart problems, diabetes and other potentially fatal illnesses as well as reducing the appearance of excess facial hair.

Reduce facial hair growth and increase your confidence

Many women feel as though they need to remove any kind of body hair due to pressure from the media. Typically, female facial hair isn’t seen as “the norm”, despite 5-10% of women living with it. Women living with hirsutism can often feel embarrassed, distressed and self-conscious because of it, so by treating the condition with prescription medication, you can also increase your self-esteem and confidence levels without having to think about waxing or shaving.

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