Hirsutism is a common condition found in people who have a PCOS diagnosis. There are a few different ways to go about treating it and they have their pros and cons.
In this post, I will be comparing the use of two of the removal methods that are readily available.
I would think that most people know what hirsutism is but I figured that some information on the condition was worth putting into this post.
Hirsutism is a condition that affects people who were assigned as female at birth. It is characterized by an excess amount of hair growing in places on the body where it’s more common for men to have it. This includes the face, chest, back, arms, abdomen, upper legs, thighs and butt.
Instead of being fine hairs, they are coarse which is another characteristic of hair growth in men. Because of that, the hairs can be quite noticeable.
In women, this condition can be caused by several different things. These include excessive androgen, sensitivity to androgens, high cortisol levels, insulin resistance, menopause and certain medications.
The following are some specific causes of hirsutism:
- Danazol- This is a synthetic steroid that is used to treat endometriosis.
- PCOS- This condition is becoming more common and involves a hormonal imbalance. The percentage of people with the diagnosis who have hirsutism is around 70%.
- Diabetes- People with this condition are also at risk for PCOS which in turn may cause hirutism.
- Cushing syndrome- This condition is when the body makes too much cortisol.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia- This condition is when the body makes too much cortisol and androgens.
Hirsutism can cause one to feel badly about the way they look. It is also typically accompanied by other unsavory characteristics/symptoms.
Fortunately, there are treatments for hirsutism. They include the following:
- Depilation creams/gels
- Medications- Such as Spironolactone, birth control and Finasteride.
- Laser hair removal
- Weight loss, if weight is a problem.
About my hirsutism
I wanted to give a bit of a back story on my struggle with hirsutism before talking about the two hair removal methods.
I was officially diagnosed with PCOS at the age of 23 but I knew I had it before that. My hirsutism (in addition to acne and oily skin) showed up when I was around 12 years old. At first it was just a bit of hair on my upper lip but then the hair there got thicker at 14 years old.
It was my mom that pointed it out at first and I became very self conscious about it. I started getting that area waxed every once in a while which made me feel better-but still kind of embarrassed.
I got to my early 20s and it was then that I needed to get waxed on my upper lip once or twice a month. This was manageable in my opinion. I did go on Spironolactone for acne but it didn’t seem to do anything for my hirsutism.
It was after I had my son at 26 that my hirsutism got more out of control. Once a month waxing was not going to cut it as the hair would grow back so fast. I than gave up waxing and started to shave my upper lip every other day.
Fast forward to three years ago and I now have excess hair on my upper lip and chin. The hairs grow back so fast that I have to remove it in the morning and evening (probably could use a touch up in the afternoon as well!) if I want to be facial hair free.
There is definitely no way that I could rely on waxing once or twice a month to tame this hair anymore.
Removal method: Painless hair remover
These painless hair removers are sold by a few different brands on Amazon. They were also advertised on television a long time ago with menopausal women demonstrating the use of them.
They are made to be portable and discreet.
The heads of the removers rotate fast but they do not cut into skin and cause irritation. They are so gentle that if you touch them with your finger- you will not get cut.
These hair removers can be used every day and anywhere on the face. You are to move them around your skin in a circular manner until the hair is gone. Since it is gentle, it can be used in stubborn spots over and over without irritation occurring. There should be no pain- just a warm feeling if anything.
Most of them come with extra sets of removal heads and a cord for charging. They range in cost from $10-$20.
Pros and cons-
- Very gentle
- Easy to use
- Can be hid well
- Can work well to get hair off.
- Doesn’t have to be used with shaving cream
- May break down with the inability to fix it.
- May have to go over an area over and over again to get the hairs- which may be annoying to some.
- Someone might mistake it for a vibrator.
- Someone might think it is a little loud when it is on.
- Someone might not like the slightly warm sensation the spinning heads give.
- People complain that there are some counterfeit ones on Amazon that don’t work as well.
Removal method: Regular razors
Shaving with regular razors is a common way to remove hair any where. There are so many different types of razors to choose from so people are bound to find one that they like (it might take some time though).
Typically, the skin gets cleansed first. Then one either shaves with the cleanser still on their face or rinses it off and uses shaving cream (or something else). The razor is to be glided over the skin, gently, to avoid irritation.
It is also good to rinse the hair out of the razor in between strokes so you can get as much hair as possible shaved off. When one is satisfied with their shaving, the face should be rinsed off and patted dry.
Something to soothe the skin is recommended to be put on after shaving. Two ideas for this include rosehip oil from Radha Beauty and aloe Vera gel. If your skin can’t handle adding any products with actives in them after shaving, it may be good to shave in the morning and put them on in the evening.
Pros and cons-
- Easy to use
- Works well to get the hairs off
- Provides some exfoliation of the skin
- Razors can be inexpensive
- May cause razor burn and/or cuts
- May be hard to find the right razor
- May cause stubble to be left behind
- Not very portable (they are sharp) or discreet
- You can’t just whip it out and start using it- you will need water and shaving cream
- May get in the way of one’s skincare routine if they like to use products with actives in them
If you are trying to figure out what razor to get, here is a great article that may help you: https://www.bustle.com/articles/186064-how-to-choose-the-right-razor-for-you-according-to-the-experts
Which one wins?
In my opinion, the painless hair remover wins. I took time off of using one of them and went to using a razor twice a day. Starting back with a painless hair remover made me realize that it is a better choice for me.
The razors were leaving me with stubble and sometimes cuts or burns no matter how careful I was. Although I have to go over the areas on my face several times to get the hair off with the painless remover, my skin is left feeling smooth and looking better. I also find it relaxing to do.
For whatever reason, I only have to use the painless hair remover once in the morning and my hair doesn’t come back until the next day. I also love that the one I have is charged with a cord instead of requiring a change of batteries like my last ones did.
It is good to keep in mind that if one has really thick hair the first time they want to use it- it might not work. In this case, it is best to shave the hair off and then use the painless hair remover when a little starts growing back.
If one isn’t thrilled with the other hair removal methods or is just looking for something new, a painless hair remover may be a good choice to try next. It may not be perfect, but there are a lot of good things about them.
I totally understand the hirsutism struggle as I live it every day. Because of that, I think it is important for removal methods to be talked about and reviewed so that people can see their options.
Do you struggle with excess hair? If so, what removal method do you prefer?
Thanks for reading!
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