Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Answers
Waxing: Useful for short term control of excessive hair. However, this does not reduce rate of hair growth and long-term use not advised as skin damage can result.
Shaving: May be effective for short term cosmetic purposes but long term use of this method especially for facial hair is not advised as it can be associated with problems similar to those encountered with waxing (above). However, it is important to point out that shaving does not increase hair growth as many tend to believe.
Depilatory creams: Hair removal creams are also only effective as a short term measure. The rate of hair growth is unaffected, can lead to skin irritation with repeated use and results for facial hair may be disappointing for some women.
Bleaching: This does not remove the hair and is therefore not very effective when there is a significant amount of hair. It is also unsuitable for dark-skinned women.
Electrolysis: This is a method where each individual hair follicle is destroyed using a measured amount of electric current. It is quite laborious and really impractical where large parts of the body are affected by the excessive body hair as can be the case in PCOS. It is also painful and some individuals may find the pain unbearable. Repeat treatments are necessary and the whole course can take up to two years, even longer, to complete. Apart from pain, extensive electrolysis can cause burns and skin depigmentation. This treatment is usually available in skin clinic even though portable DIY electrolysis machines are also available in the market place.
Laser therapy: This is arguably the best and most effective cosmetic treatment for excessive body hair currently available. It works on similar principles to electrolysis but is quicker and easier to tolerate. Permanent reduction of hair density is achieved but a number of treatments ranging from 3 or 4 to more than a dozen are typically required. It remains relatively expensive. Skin depigmentation can occur especially with dark-skinned women. As the technology has been refined further, this problem has also receded.
Last update: August 29, 2012