Hair removal—and whether or not to remove hair at all—is a very personal choice. And when it comes to hair on your face, it’s a pretty sensitive one, too. We mean that literally. The skin on your face is more delicate than the skin on your legs, say, so it’s important to be thoughtful and careful about the hair-removal methods you choose.
While removing hair on most parts of your body is no biggie, removing it from your face takes extra TLC. As Shay Moinuddin, R.N., aesthetic nurse specialist and practice manager of the Few Institute (fewinstitute.com), tells SELF, scars from waxing, electrolysis or lasers can happen very easily when things go wrong during a treatment and they are much harder to camouflage on the face versus the body. And some methods are better for certain types of hair growth than others.
No matter the type of hair removal (self.com/topic/hair-removal) you’re considering, it’s important that you pay attention to your skin. “If you are noticing bumps, ingrown hairs or sensitivity, then your hair-removal method might not be the right fit for your skin,” says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York. She recommends always starting with well moisturized skin, as the more pliable the skin, the less likely it will be inflamed or irritated with the pressure of the tool. Exfoliating once or twice a week to remove any dead skin cells on the surface will help prevent ingrown hairs (self.com/story/ingrown-hair-treatment), and finishing with lotion or oil will keep skin hydrated and protected.
How to get rid of hair in this above-the-lip region is a very personal decision, says Dr. Engelman. She likes the Luminess Silk & Smooth Hair Remover, $30, which cuts the hair on the surface of the skin and leads to less irritation since it is not pulling hair from the follicle.
For individuals with darker facial hair and lighter skin, laser hair removal (self.com/story/the-pros-cons-of-laser-hair-re) is a good option. “Since the laser picks up darker pigment, it renders the best results,” she says. “Lighter hair, which has less pigment, can be much less effective.” Hair loss can be seen after as little as three sessions and full results may be achieved in up to six or eight sessions. “Caution should be taken when having laser hair removal on the face because of the proximity of the treatment to the eyes,” Moinuddin adds. “Proper goggles designed for the specific laser being used must be worn during treatment to protect the eyes from permanent damage.”
Derms don’t recommend waxing the upper lip, as that commonly leads to ingrown hairs