If you have unwanted hair on your upper lip, you may be tired of always shaving or of visiting the salon for endless waxing or threading appointments. Perhaps it is time to talk to your dermatologist about more permanent hair removal options. Here are three that tend to work well for patients in your shoes.
Prescription Hair Prevention Creams
Note that these creams are different from the prescription hair removal creams that you can buy over the counter at the drugstore. They do not actually remove the hair; they keep it from growing in the first place. The active ingredient is a compound called eflornithine hydrochloride.
Your dermatologist can prescribe you this cream, and you will apply it twice per day to your upper lip area. Over the next few months, it will take effect and stop any new hair from growing. (You will need to wax or thread the area to get rid of existing hair.) The one downfall of hair prevention creams is that you need to apply them indefinitely. When you stop using the cream, the hair will grow back.
Laser Hair Removal
If you would rather not apply a cream to your upper lip every day, then your dermatologist may recommend laser hair removal. This treatment destroys all of your current hairs by killing their follicles — the living part of the hair below the skin. Your dermatologist will aim a laser tool at your upper lip area, and the pigments in your hair will attract the laser.
Most people need several treatments before the laser fully removes their hair. There is no required downtime after treatment, although your skin might be mildly red and sore for several days afterwards. Laser hair removal works best on people with darker hair and lighter skin. You'll need follow-up treatments every few months to keep your skin hairless.
If you have hair that is too light for laser hair removal or if you have dark skin and dark hair, then electrolysis may be a good hair removal option for you. Your dermatologist will use a special electrical tool to deliver a pulse of current to each hair follicle. They'll treat one hair at a time, killing the follicles. You will need a couple of cycles for full hair removal. Electrolysis is a slow process, but it's very effective, and it's a very approachable choice for small areas like the upper lip.
There is no required downtime after electrolysis, but it can cause post-procedure irritation, and patients with very sensitive skin sometimes develop light scars.
Contact a local dermatology office to learn more about these hair removal options. You do not have to keep waxing your lip!