Nobody tells you about the little hairs that will sprout on your face as an older woman, until all of a sudden they’re there! Your hair on your head might be starting to thin but it’s almost as if those hairs have transplanted onto your chin and upper lip.
Having hair on your face is just a fact of life over 60. The hormones after menopause are the cause, driven by rising testosterone.
Half of all women have thinning hair by age 50, while up to 15 per cent of women experience hair growth on their chin, upper lip, or cheeks after menopause, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Changes in oestrogen and androgen levels during menopause are to blame for these changes in our body hair. There are a number of solutions for getting rid of unwanted facial hair:
Tweezing, bleaching and waxing are the good old favourites, tried and true for hair removal and if you have only a couple of stray hairs, they can be just the ticket. The downside though is they can be painful and temporary, plus you have to let the hair grow out between treatment, which can heighten the embarrassment. Waxing also can irritate the skin, particularly on your face. Creams can be better to remove hair but you do still need to wait a while between applications.
Threading is becoming increasingly popular with bars popping up in shopping malls and markets offering convenient removal of eyebrow, chin and upper lip hair in an easy and tidy way. It is relatively inexpensive too, with the cost approx $10-20 per go.
In threading, a thin (cotton or polyester) thread is doubled, then twisted. It is then rolled over areas of unwanted hair, plucking the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing, where single hairs are pulled out one at a time, threading can remove short rows of hair.
Advantages cited for eyebrow threading, as opposed to eyebrow waxing, are that it provides more precise control in shaping eyebrows and is gentler on the skin. It can be painful as several hairs are removed at once: however this can be minimised if it is done correctly.
There are razors specifically made for shaving your face, and they are a quick way to get rid of a hair in a flash. The only problem is that it is a very temporary fix and you will need to constantly shave if you have multiple hairs. It is great, though, for peach fuzz as you can barely see it when it grows back.
If excess, hormone related facial hair is bothering you significantly, you can ask your doctor for something that can help to act against the hormonal changes. A topical cream such as eflornithine can slow the growth of facial hair but can take four to eight weeks to see results.
By far the most effective treatment, laser damages the hair follicle to slow down hair growth. The problem is that if you have grey or light hairs, the treatments won’t be effective. Dark hairs are optimum.
This can be performed in beauty salons and involves inserting a needle into the hair follicle and passing an electric current through it to destroy the hair. It can be fairly uncomfortable and time-consuming but will work well on all types of hairs.
Every woman will approach thinning hair and facial hair differently. For some, it isn’t a big deal, but others feel very self conscious. Wherever you sit, know it’s a completely normal part of ageing and menopause, and talk to your doctor about your options if you’re concerned.
How do you manage your facial hair and what age did you start having to worry about it more?