Hair is a funny thing. Most people want it on their scalps, but not elsewhere on the body.
Often, it seems that hair grows the most where you don’t want it and the least where you do.
If you’re dealing with excessive hair in specific areas, such as the legs or face, here’s how to reduce hair growth, in some cases for good.
How to Reduce Facial Hair Growth
While guys might be happy to grow a beard or mustache, facial hair growth in women can be downright embarrassing. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can either eliminate unwanted hair from the face or minimize the chance that it will grow in the first place.
Let’s take a look at three options for reducing hair growth on the face. Learn how to reduce facial hair growth in females at home, in an office setting or using medication.
At-Home Ways to Reduce Facial Hair Growth
One way to reduce hair growth at home is to remove existing hair from the face. Here’s what we recommend doing.
- Wax or epilate the face. Use wax strips or an epilator to remove hair from the face. Waxing or epilating remove hair from the roots, so that it ends up growing back more delicate and less visible than before.
- Use a chemical depilatory. Depilatories work by breaking down keratin, the primary protein in hair, according to the Skin Therapy Letter.
- Skip shaving. Shaving is quick and easy but tends to make hair feel more coarse than before you started.
Should you wax, epilate or use a depilatory? Honestly, we’re team epilate or wax.
Chemical depilatories work, but they can be very uncomfortable to use, leaving behind lots of irritation. Plus, the hair tends to grow back more quickly.
Epilation and waxing do hurt, but the irritation fades quickly. Both options also tend to provide longer lasting results compared to depilatories.
As for shaving, well, it’s just not worth as a way to figure out how to reduce hair growth.
Shaving merely cuts your hair off. It doesn’t reduce or slow down the rate of growth.
People who shave often feel that their hair comes back feeling coarser or thicker, thanks to the blunt cut made by most razors. We’ll pass, thanks.
How to Reduce Facial Hair Growth with In-Office Treatments
Waxing and epilating are great at-home methods for reducing hair growth on the face. But if you want something that lasts even longer, you’re going to want to consider an in-office treatment, such as laser hair removal or electrolysis.
All About Laser Hair Removal
Laser hair removal reduces hair growth by destroying hairs at the root or follicle. The pigment in the hair absorbs the light of the laser beam, which destroys the follicle, according to WebMD.
You’re likely to need a few sessions of laser hair removal to see a difference and reduction in hair growth. Although newer lasers work on all skin and hair types, traditionally, the best candidate for laser hair removal was a person with dark hair and a lighter complexion.
Here’s how to get ready to reduce hair growth with laser hair removal:
- Avoid Sun Exposure. Wear sunscreen and skip spending a prolonged amount of time in the sun a few weeks before and in the weeks following your laser hair removal treatment.
- Leave Your Hair Alone. Avoid shaving, waxing, or any other hair removal treatment for about six weeks before your laser hair removal session. You need to have enough hair growth for the treatment to work.
- Choose a Trustworthy Provider. Don’t go to just “anyone” for laser hair removal. We recommend thoroughly vetting the doctor or medical spa before you let them get anywhere near your face with a laser beam.
All About Electrolysis
If laser hair removal doesn’t seem like the best method for getting rid of or reducing facial hair growth, electrolysis might be. Here’s how to reduce hair growth with electrolysis and everything else you need to know about the treatment.
Like laser hair removal, electrolysis uses energy to destroy hair. Unlike laser hair removal, the energy comes from either a chemical or heat during electrolysis.
Another difference between the two treatments is that during electrolysis, the hair is physically removed from the destroyed follicle using tweezers. With laser hair removal, the hair usually falls out on its own.
Here’s how to get ready for electrolysis to reduce hair growth:
- Stop shaving or other hair removal methods. Don’t shave at least a week before your treatment. If you usually wax or use another hair removal method, you’ll want to quit several weeks before electrolysis.
- Keep the skin bare. Don’t wear lotion or serums.
- Stay hydrated. Drink a lot of water before your appointment.
- Choose your provider. As with laser hair removal, thoroughly vet the electrolysis provider beforehand. Make sure they have experience and a good reputation.
- Schedule a consultation. Learn more about the treatment and the provider before you trust your face to them. Ask about techniques used and the results you can expect.
How to Reduce Hair Growth on the Face with Medication
In some cases, medication can help to reduce hair growth. If you’re going to use medicine to slow down the rate at which unwanted hair grows, you’ll need to see a doctor first, since most are only available by prescription.
Here’s how to reduce hair growth with medicine.
- Consider birth control. If you’re a woman with unwanted hair, it could be due to hormone issues. According to Everyday Health, some birth control pills can help lower androgen levels and reduce hair growth.
- Consider anti-androgens. Certain medicines are specifically designed to block androgens. These medications often have strong side effects and can cause congenital disabilities, so they need to be taken with care.
- Try Vaniqa. Vaniqa is the only medication that’s FDA-approved to reduce or eliminate unwanted facial hair growth. It’s not a permanent fix and is only available with a prescription.
How to Reduce Hair Growth on Legs
Now that we’ve covered how to reduce facial hair growth let’s take a look at how to reduce body hair growth in females.
The methods of how to reduce hair growth on the legs and other areas of the body are pretty similar to the methods used to reduce hair growth on the face.
You can use at-home methods such as epilation or waxing to remove unwanted hair from the legs.
Waxing and epilation remove the hair from the root so that it grows back more slowly than hair removed by shaving or a depilatory. Since the hair is pulled out from the follicle, it tends to grow back finer than before it was removed.
Laser hair removal and electrolysis are also options to remove or reduce hair growth on the legs.
Unlike waxing and epilation, laser hair removal and electrolysis can provide permanent or semi-permanent results.
The thing is that you need to see a doctor or other professional provider for either treatment and you might need several sessions before you see full results.
Medications might not be as effective at reducing hair growth on the legs as they are at reducing hair growth on the face. For example, Vaniqa is only approved for use on the face.
If you do have very hairy legs, taking birth control pills might lead to a noticeable reduction in the amount of hair that grows. But many doctors wouldn’t recommend taking birth control solely as a means to control hair growth.
Will Eating Soy Reduce Hair Growth?
It might seem unlikely, but soy might help to reduce hair growth. One study, published back in 2001 in Experimental Dermatology, suggested that soymilk contains agents that reduce the size of hair follicles and that restrict the production of hair.
If you don’t have a reason to avoid soy, drinking a glass or two of soymilk a day or adding tofu to your diet might help to limit the growth of unwanted hair.
Final Thoughts on How to Reduce Hair Growth
Knowing what you can do to reduce hair growth on the body and face can help you choose the method that’s best for you.
It might be that seeing a medical provider for an in-office treatment that provides long-lasting or even permanent results it the way to go. Or, you might prefer to reduce hair growth at home using waxing or epilation.
Whatever method you choose, knowing how to reduce hair growth can help you to feel more confident in your appearance and ultimately, in who you are.