Q. I am a young-looking 68 but some long dark hairs have sprouted on my upper lip and chin, which I want to get rid of. I tried threading but it made my face look unnaturally shiny. Do you have any suggestions?
A. We presume you don’t want to try any of the more exotic options such as ant egg oil, which dates from the Ottoman Empire and is still used in Asia and the Middle East. Or even a paste of turmeric, the golden spice mainly used in cooking, which is again still employed today in some communities.
So the alternative we suggest is electrolysis, which has a long history of effective permanent hair removal on the face and other parts of the body. The British Institute & Association of Electrolysis (BIAE/electrolysis.co.uk) explains that ‘electrolysis treats each hair follicle individually with a very fine, disposable, sterile probe [essentially a needle] to permanently destroy the follicle’s ability to reproduce, thereby eradicating hair growth on completion of the course of treatment’. Most clients agree that electrolysis causes slight discomfort (mild warming or heat) rather than pain.
Many readers ask about laser hair removal. This is more properly called hair reduction as it reduces hair growth but does not, at present, remove all the hair permanently, and in consequence needs continuous topping up. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has a section on laser hair reduction on their website, baaps.org.uk.
The number of sessions you need varies with individuals’ density of hair growth. There can be anywhere between 50 and 500 hairs crowded into a small area of skin. Not all our hair is growing at the same time, explains the BIAE, and you may find that the three or four hairs on your chin could actually be 30 or more taking turns to grow. You will probably need to have regular appointments (taking anything from ten minutes to several hours) over a year or more to deal with the whole problem but you will see results from the start.
It is vital to find a qualified and experienced practitioner so do please look at the section called Find A Member on BIAE website, which also gives you lots more information about the process.