Whether you are seeking help for PCOS related hair growth for the first time or struggling to manage your hair at home or in between professional treatments.
The first thing to remember is that there are different rules for different hair types.
Body hair differs from facial hair and there is a difference between fine down hair (which should always be left alone) and that that grows in ‘abnormal’ areas or that has become thicker or coarser due to hormone influence. Body hair is generally easier to deal with, although there can be large areas to be treated, shaving, waxing and hair removal creams are relatively easy to use and generally the norm for most women, with or without PCOS. Whilst these methods are only temporary and hair will grow back it will provide some days or weeks between regrowth.
For many women, excessive hair growth can be one of the most distressing symptoms of PCOS. Not least because it is a very physical, visible symptom and often the most taboo. Facial hair for women can be particularly difficult to live with – especially in this world of unrealistic Instagram type perfection that we are constantly under pressure from, but also because it is a symptom that can steal away the feeling of femininity. So it’s totally understandable that there is a need and desire to remove facial hair.
However, it’s really important to know – the more you remove that hair the more you will encourage it to grow and the worse it will become unless you are having a professional permanent treatment such as electrolysis, IPL or Laser. So only remove your hair if absolutely necessary.
How you choose to do that really depends on the area to treat, how much hair there is and how coarse it is. Waxing, Plucking and threading and using epilators are all variations of the same process-pulling the hair out by the root. Whilst this might be preferable for body hair and for longer results between regrowth – it can make facial hair worse.
Shaving is an option but one that still isn’t ideal. Whilst there is no scientific proof that shaving increases hair growth, we all know that it can exacerbate growth. It might be the repetitive action of the blade on the skin over time that stimulates growth but certainly removing the hair at skin level by blunting it will make the hair feel coarse and leave a stubbly effect.
Where possible, for the face, it is more advisable to use a hair removal cream, or simply trim hair with small scissors. Bleaching is another safe option as these methods don’t affect the root of the hair, although bleaching obviously doesn’t physically remove the hair.
However be aware that both bleaching and hair removal creams can also cause skin sensitivity, with redness and soreness through frequent use.
Treating facial hair can be fiddly and complicated and following the above advice isn’t always an option if hair growth is severe. If you are having a professional treatment and that has been suspended, removing hair by the roots can negate some of the treatment you might have had. So in the first instance, it would be a good idea to get in touch with your practitioner for advice specific to your particular skin / hair needs.
Otherwise, try to leave it alone as much as possible and only remove it when absolutely necessary. Whilst it’s understandable that you just want that hair gone by any means possible, it’s really key to look after your skin. So make sure that whatever method you use, that you treat your skin gently and with care. Many of the typical hair removal methods can cause the skin to be spotty, sore or irritated and this can sometimes draw attention to the skin more than the hair itself.
If shaving, an electric trimmer or foil shaver is preferable over razor blades. Whilst they might not produce the smoothest results, they are gentler and more hygienic (if cleaned well).
Home laser devices have some merit and certainly can be useful when professional treatment isn’t available, definitely helpful in managing regrowth, but have yet to be proven to provide the same results as a salon professional treatment and should always be used with caution.
Vaniqa is a prescription only cream medication that can help supress hair growth. If you can get a GP to prescribe it, you must ensure that it’s used exactly as the instructions suggest as it crucial to the creams efficacy. It is not a hair removal cream – it is used alongside removal and can significantly reduce regrowth.
Waxing, plucking, shaving etc can also cause in-growing hairs and distort the hair follicles meaning the skin can become more problematic and marks and scarring can worsen over time. So some top tips to ensure you keep your skin as healthy as possible;
Removing facial and body hair can become quite obsessive and its common for women to make it a daily ritual. It’s really important to maintain a perspective so that hair growth remains only a physical problem and doesn’t take over psychologically. Remember – other people are rarely aware of your hair growth in the same way that you are. Nobody sees your hair through a magnifying mirror – which is often how you view it. Relax a little it’s never as bad as you think it might be.