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  1. #1
    Registered User Parrot's Avatar
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    Default Why not get laser or electrolysis?

    Hi ladies, I have supposedly mild PCOS but still have a bit of facial and body hair. What I'm wondering is why so many women shave their faces when there is laser and electrolysis (or medication) available? Is it due to cost? Is it because the methods have been ineffective? I'm just wondering. I'm scared because I've noticed more hair growth on my face. 😖

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    Registered User joyblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrot View Post
    Hi ladies, I have supposedly mild PCOS but still have a bit of facial and body hair. What I'm wondering is why so many women shave their faces when there is laser and electrolysis (or medication) available? Is it due to cost? Is it because the methods have been ineffective? I'm just wondering. I'm scared because I've noticed more hair growth on my face. 
    Laser works great for dark hair that isn't too coarse, provided your skin is much lighter in color than the hair growth. It doesn't work nearly so well for hair growth that's hormonally driven and doesn't work for light-colored hair. It depends on the difference in color between the darker hair and the lighter skin. The difficulty is that what damages hair can also damage skin.

    Electrolysis works well on small areas of hair. However it's painfully slow and expensive. And again, like laser, you need to have your hormones in the normal female range for it to be permanent or very long term in its effect. Great if all you want to remove is your moustache and if you already have, and can keep, your hormones in the normal female range. Works with any color of hair and any tone of skin.

    So in a nutshell, both these methods of hair removal mean you've got to get your hormones into the range considered normal for females and you've got to keep them there. And keeping there means ongoing drug treatments which will involve side-effects. Great for some women, but not for everyone.

    For some of us with high testosterone levels and resultant male-type moustache and beard growth, shaving is simply the most effective way of dealing with the problem. And though at first it's embarrassing to shave like a guy, it very quickly becomes second nature.

    There's really no reason to be scared about having to shave -- with a good-quality men's-type electric razor it takes only a minute or two -- less time than it takes to clean my teeth. And because I shave every day, I don't really need to think about it.

    Don't know if that helps, but if there's something that worries you about shaving your face, let's see if I can put your worries to rest somewhat. It hasn't spoiled my life and I'm a happy wife and mother.

    Joy

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    I had years of weekly electrolysis, it did nothing because my hormones were not controlled (didn't get DXd until I was in my late 30s even though I've had the symptoms since I was a teen) and haven't been able to afford laser or electrolysis since also haven't found a DR to treat me since I am no longer TTC. Hopefully this will be the year I find one!
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    Registered User MacCoinneach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrot View Post
    Hi ladies, I have supposedly mild PCOS but still have a bit of facial and body hair. What I'm wondering is why so many women shave their faces when there is laser and electrolysis (or medication) available? Is it due to cost? Is it because the methods have been ineffective? I'm just wondering. I'm scared because I've noticed more hair growth on my face. 
    I've been having IPL treatments on my legs (I have very dark hair and fair skin, and I think that the hair on my legs is worse than the 'average' person)...I've had 3 treatments so far (another 3 to go) and I have noticed a minor difference but I don't take anything for my hormones so that could be why. I'm quite happy with the results so far and would consider trying it on other body parts, even just for the minor difference, it would be worth it. I personally would never shave my face (I have dark facial hair - sideburns,upper lip, chin) but I wax instead... everybody is, of course, different. You have so many options: waxing, threading, bleaching, shaving, laser/IPL - hope you find the one that is best for you! Take care!

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    Registered User Parrot's Avatar
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    You see I just can't bear the thought if shaving. The hair is really not that bad (yet) and I've recently started on Spiro so I'm hoping that will keep it from getting any worse. I use a Philips Lumea IPL machine at home and that's been great for my arms, legs, underarms and stray hairs on the chin, but the hair on my face is too light for it to work. Wouldn't laser work on coarse, dark hair aswell? Guys get laser too don't they? And how come electrolysis is only ok for small areas? Is that due to cost or time taken to treat an area? Sorry, so many questions!

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    Registered User Parrot's Avatar
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    Hi MacConneich, my at home IPL machine has worked quite well aswell, although it seems to be taking a while to work on my legs. The leg hair is black and thick and grows so fast (shave in morning, stubble by afternoon) but I've noticed some areas now have zero hair and what comes back is finer and takes a lot longer to grow back. I'm also using it on my areolas and that's working well too. I finally feel a bit more normal.

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    Registered User joyblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrot View Post
    You see I just can't bear the thought if shaving.
    Is that because it seems a very "male" thing to do? Of course it's true that most (though not all) males need to shave, but there's an enormous overlap in hair growth patterns between females and males and it's simply a fact that many women do have to shave every day, just like most men. Among US females most females aged between 15 and 45 remove at least some facial hair at least once a month and the vast majority of women will have to remove some facial hair at some point during their lifetime. So it's not just men who remove facial hair.

    The hair is really not that bad (yet) and I've recently started on Spiro so I'm hoping that will keep it from getting any worse.
    As long as you keep taking the Spiro it should keep your facial hair from getting any heavier and counter your natural tendency towards male-type hair growth.

    I use a Philips Lumea IPL machine at home and that's been great for my arms, legs, underarms and stray hairs on the chin,
    It should work well on any dark hair growth

    but the hair on my face is too light for it to work.
    Like anything else which works on laser-type principles of differentiating between dark hair and lighter skin.

    Wouldn't laser work on coarse, dark hair aswell?
    Yes, it will work well on dark hair, though very coarse hair is more difficult to deal with because of the strong roots. And with strong hormonal stimulation the coarse stuff will regrow more quickly.

    Guys get laser too don't they?
    Yes, but with their male-type hormone balance if they're expecting the hair to stay away for any length of time they have to have something done about their hormone balance. M to F transsexuals have their hormones adjusted by drugs and then their testes removed, so they end up with a hormone balance that would be considered totally normal in a female. The effects of LHR are then long-lasting.

    And how come electrolysis is only ok for small areas? Is that due to cost or time taken to treat an area?
    Both these reasons. For a few odd coarse hairs on the chin it's great. Treating a moustache is perfectly feasible. But a full beard will take a very long time indeed and be very expensive. It still needs you to keep your hormone balance in the typical female range, though.


    Sorry, so many questions!
    Never apologize for asking questions -- that's the way to find out.

    One of the difficult things in dealing with female facial hair is that there's such a wide range of facial hair growth to be found in women -- some women have just a tiny amount of fine hair growth in one or two areas, whereas others of us have full coarse male-type moustache and beard growth. Then again, some women don't mind -- or need -- the drugs to bring their hormone balance into the range considered normal for femaies, whereas others of us would prefer to avoid the side-effects of the drugs.

    And again, some of us adapt reasonably well to having some masculine characteristics, whereas others can't adapt to that at all.

    What suits one woman, doesn't necessarily suit another.

    Joy

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    Registered User Parrot's Avatar
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    Thanks JoyBlack. You seem to very knowledgeable in this stuff! Yes, my main aversion to shaving is because I consider it to be something only males would do. My moustache doesn't worry me too much but just recently I've noticed some ever so slightly darker hairs on my cheeks (or, GASP 'beard' area). I have no idea when it appeared and may have been there for ages and I don't think my other symptoms have gotten worse but I have been spending a lot of time examining myself for new hair growth so perhaps this is just the first time I've noticed it... I think if it doesn't stop progressing I'll have to get electrolysis as I know that I'd be psychologically better off doing that plus at least I can tackle them before they get too dark. Geez I just hope the Spiro works. I've been on it 4 months now and my skin is a million time better but haven't noticed much change in hair growth yet. Also JoyBlack, I read a lot of your posts and I really admire your positive outlook on life!!! I wish I was more like that. PCOS has really been a challenge for me lately.

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    Registered User joyblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrot View Post
    Thanks JoyBlack. You seem to very knowledgeable in this stuff!
    It's been affecting me for more than forty years -- and I wouldn't like other people to have to learn the hard way, like I did!

    Yes, my main aversion to shaving is because I consider it to be something only males would do.
    Shaving the face is portrayed as being something only males would do, but the reality is that most women need to remove facial hair at some point in their lives and many women shave every day. It's interesting that many Chinese and Korean women are aghast that most American women need to shave their legs -- they're generally not nearly so hairy as American women.

    My moustache doesn't worry me too much but just recently I've noticed some ever so slightly darker hairs on my cheeks (or, GASP 'beard' area). I have no idea when it appeared and may have been there for ages and I don't think my other symptoms have gotten worse but I have been spending a lot of time examining myself for new hair growth so perhaps this is just the first time I've noticed it... I think if it doesn't stop progressing I'll have to get electrolysis as I know that I'd be psychologically better off doing that plus at least I can tackle them before they get too dark. Geez I just hope the Spiro works. I've been on it 4 months now and my skin is a million time better but haven't noticed much change in hair growth yet.
    Getting your hormones into the normal female range and keeping them there is really essential if you want to avoid ongoing hair removal.

    Also JoyBlack, I read a lot of your posts and I really admire your positive outlook on life!!! I wish I was more like that. PCOS has really been a challenge for me lately.
    Male-type hair growth -- especially on the face -- is the most enormous challenge for any woman to face. It ruins our image of ourselves as feminine, just because it's perceived as so masculine.

    Of course I can, like other women, make myself appear feminine, but the feminine appearance is something of an act. The reality is that I have the same sort of moustache and beard growth as a male. However it hasn't stopped me having a great physical relationship with my DH and a great relationship with my kids. For me, shaving every day is just a part of life and it's not much more intrusive in my life than brushing my teeth is.

    Joy

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    Registered User Parrot's Avatar
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    I'm also thinking that perhaps some women are diagnosed when the PCOS is fairly advanced, therefore the hairiness is worse. I think I caught it pretty early so am hoping that will mean it won't get much worse. God I hope not.

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    Registered User joyblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrot View Post
    I'm also thinking that perhaps some women are diagnosed when the PCOS is fairly advanced, therefore the hairiness is worse. I think I caught it pretty early so am hoping that will mean it won't get much worse. God I hope not.
    It does make a difference, though possibly in not quite the way that you might imagine.

    PCOS is a syndrome. Medicine, in our current state of knowledge, can do a lot to help those who have the PCOS syndrome, but there's no one-off surgical or drug treatment that can put a woman with PCOS into the same situation as a woman without it. Sustained drug treatment on an ongoing basis, though, can go quite some distance towards achieving that goal, but most drug treatments have at least some side effects which may be unwelcome.

    So in your case, if you're happy with the drug treatment suggested, ready to carry on with it indefinitely, and content to live with any side-effects, then it may very well be that you may get to a situation in which, for example (because you've mentioned this particular symptom) your moustache and beard growth may never develop to anything approaching a male level and indeed what's there may not regrow once removed, as your hormone levels are brought into the "normal female" range and kept there.

    What doesn't change, of course, is the fact that your skin in those areas has been sensitized to respond to testosterone and if your hormone balance is allowed to slip out of the normal female range, facial (and body) hair will start to regrow. The other thing you've got to watch is that if you're put on BCP to maintain your hormone balance, your body's own natural production of estrogen may drop drastically. That doesn't matter when you're on the BCP, because the pill gives you estrogen, but if you come off the pill your body may be very reluctant to restart its own production of estrogen.

    So for you, since you very much want to avoid having to shave, it's a question of making sure that your doctors keep your hormones -- and especially the level of FREE testosterone (something they don't always test for, and different from overall testosterone levels) well within the normal female range all the time.

    For myself, the equation was a little bit different. As a teenager I'd assumed that a flat-chested female who shaved her moustache every day would be deemed unattractive by all guys. However, when I was 19, the guy who's now been my DH for well over 30 years met me for the first time when I wasn't wearing a bra to give me the appearance of breasts and when I hadn't shaved for 24 hours and had obvious black moustache stubble and to my amazement, he wasn't turned off by either. He told me long afterwards that if I hadn't had the obvious moustache stubble he would have assumed I was much younger than 19 and wouldn't have pursued a relationship. For both of us, the physical side of our relationship is very important and he's pointed out to me many times that the high testosterone levels which give me the drive for that side of our relationship are what give me the flat chest and the male-type moustache (and since my 40s, beard) growth. Since he's positive about these things and since we both value the physical side of our relationship so highly, I don't look at these other effects of my high testosterone levels in a negative way any more. If these things are the cost of a great physical relationship, then it's a cost I'm prepared to pay. However, everyone's different. The times I was pregnant my facial hair pretty well stopped growing and I developed small breasts (which disappeared afterwards), so I've experienced what a "normal" woman is like. It was a very pleasant experience -- but I rate the great physical relationship with DH even higher and for that reason I wouldn't want to do anything to lower my naturally-high testosterone levels.

    Joy

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    Registered User Parrot's Avatar
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    Hi Joy thanks for your response. Yes I started taking Spiro about 4 months ago and so far my skin is much better, but hair growth hasn't changed much yet. I have however noticed that my moustache (oh how I hate to call it 'my' moustache!) has thinned out and grows SO much more slowly. So rather than having to use hair removal cream 3 times a week, I'm only using it once a week. It's still there but not so bad so I feel less like its abnormal. I mean, just about every woman I know gets a little mo!

    I'm also using an at home IPL laser thing on some parts of my body and that has definitely helped, although I know it's not permanent.

    The only side effect I've got from the Spiro has been irregular periods. I don't like that because before Spiro I was (amazingly) still getting a period every 28 days so now I feel like my body is a bit messed up. It's all so hard! And I'm now on a really low GI diet but then I read on the Internet that Paleo is the way to go, vegan, no dairy etc. It's totally confusing!!!

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    Registered User joyblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parrot View Post
    Hi Joy thanks for your response. Yes I started taking Spiro about 4 months ago and so far my skin is much better, but hair growth hasn't changed much yet.
    Make sure that the doctor who prescribed the Spiro keeps things under review every few months and especially that your hormone levels are being comprehensively checked every few months;a especially that levels of free testosterone and of estrogen are within normal levels for a female.

    I have however noticed that my moustache (oh how I hate to call it 'my' moustache!)
    When I was a teenager I hated calling it my moustache.Nowadays I have no problem at all referring to my moustache and beard by these names and I think it helps considerably that my DH and kids use these terms -- it's not a guilty secret, it's just how things are.

    has thinned out and grows SO much more slowly. So rather than having to use hair removal cream 3 times a week, I'm only using it once a week. It's still there but not so bad so I feel less like its abnormal. I mean, just about every woman I know gets a little mo!
    . Once a week isn't much above average growth. I well remember from when I was pregnant how different it was to wake up in the morning conscious that I had breasts and that I didn't need to shave. My need to shave went down from once a day to once every couple of weeks. On the other hand, I find shaving every day much easier than getting wondering "Do I need to shave today?" You're right --most women (at least here in the US) have at least some moustache growth.

    I'm also using an at home IPL laser thing on some parts of my body and that has definitely helped, although I know it's not permanent.
    If you can keep your hormones in the normal female range the hair removal may be long term enough to be described as semi-permanent.

    The only side effect I've got from the Spiro has been irregular periods. I don't like that because before Spiro I was (amazingly) still getting a period every 28 days so now I feel like my body is a bit messed up. It's all so hard! And I'm now on a really low GI diet but then I read on the Internet that Paleo is the way to go, vegan, no dairy etc. It's totally confusing!!!
    The difficulty is that when you start trying to modify hormone levels the effects are different from one person to another. It's not all that exact a science. It really has to be on a "suck it and see" basis.

    Joy

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