Can you please tell tell me about the various methods of removing unwanted facial hair? I would particularly like to know about electrolysis – how it is done, how long a treatment takes, the cost, if there is a danger of scarring, and whether it is really permanent.

Unwanted facial hair may be concealed by bleaching, or removed by a number of methods such as tweezing, waxing, chemical depilation and electrolysis. The choice of method depends on the nature of the hair, the area and extent of growth, and personal preference. Contrary to popular belief, temporary removal of superfluous hair does not affect the color and texture of the hair, or the rate of hair growth. It is the hair root which determines the texture of hair.

Bleaching makes facial hair less conspicuous and may be used in conjunction with other temporary removal methods such as tweezing or chemical depilation. There are many cream-bleach formulas currently available through drug, department and beauty supply stores, all of which are capable of producing satisfactory results.

Plucking with tweezers is the practical way to remove isolated hairs on the face. It is also the best method for shaping eyebrows. Before tweezing, swab the area with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to remove oiliness and help you grip the smallest hairs. Do not pluck hairs growing from moles or warts – check with a dermatologist first.

Waxing is one of the oldest methods of temporary hair removal. In most cases, the wax is heated, a layer of melted wax applied, allowed to cool, then quickly stripped off, plucking out hairs which have become imbedded in the cool wax. Because hairs are pulled out below the skin’s surface, the results of waxing last for some time. However, waxing may be painful if the wax is too hot when applied.

Chemical depilatories remove hair at the surface of the skin and thus are not as effective a means of removing hair as tweezing or waxing. They should not be used on the face unless specifically stated on the product label, and should never be used if skin lesions or inflammation are present.

Electrolysis is the only permanent way to remove unwanted facial hair, and does so by destroying the hair root. A fine needle is inserted into the hair follicle, and an electric current lasting up to 40 seconds is passed down the needle. This kills the root and loosens the hair, which is them removed with tweezers. When done property, there is a slight burning sensation, the upper lip being the most sensitive area.

While electrolysis is a generally safe and effective way to remove excess hair, it is not without drawbacks. Excessive electric current may damage the skin around the hair follicle and result in scarring. There may be temporary complications such as infection and hyperpigmentation. Also, 40 to 60 per cent regrowth almost always occurs.

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