Spoiler alert: This is Notorious’ least sexy blog post ever. And it may actually be the least sexy blog post of all time from anyone. Today’s topic? Chin hairs. And boy, fair-skinned, dark-haired part Turk that I am, I’ve struggled with them since my ‘30s. And while I may have had an issue before, now that I am on Tamoxifen, it’s pretty much off the charts. And some of my dear friends have been experiencing the same darn thing.
So what’s a girl to do? As I’ve told you in the past, I am a huge fan of Laser and Intense Pulsed Light hair removal for the body. IPL has given me 10-plus years of a no-shaving-required bikini line and underarms. But in my experience, and according to my San Francisco derm Dr. David MacGregor, neither method works as well for chin hairs. It seems that unlike body hair, chin hairs and other facial hair are the result of fluctuating hormones. So even if you kill existing facial hair follicles with a laser, every time your hormones ebb (or is it flow?) they stimulate growth in new follicles.
Not knowing that these hairs wouldn’t respond in the same way that my underarm and bikini hair did to laser treatments, I submitted to six excruciating Diode Laser sessions on my upper lip and chin. Even after sitting with numbing cream on these areas for a full 45 minutes, this procedure was one of the most brutal experiences I have ever willingly (not so willingly) experienced. I honestly didn’t think anything could hurt that much. Surprise! It can. I did get about 18 life-changing months of being chin-hair and mustache-free for my trouble. But for that kind of pain and expense I had hoped for “forever”, or at least the 10 or so years I had experienced with other body parts.
The good news: Some five years later, my upper lip still requires very little tending to. The bad news: My chin is pretty much back to square one. And the hair is so coarse there that neither waxing, tweezing nor shaving seems to help. In fact, for the most part, the first two methods just seem to break the hairs in half and cause in-growns. This post just keeps getting hotter and hotter, doesn’t it?
But there is hope. Dr. MacGregor recently prescribed me Vaniqa--a cream designed to “reduce the growth” of unwanted facial hair. And it actually works. It contains a drug called, “Eflornithine”, which blocks the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) that fuels hair growth in the follicle. FYI, when injected or taken orally, Eflornithine is used to treat African Sleeping Sickness. Now you know everything. Vaniqa ain’t cheap; it costs about $90 a tube. But if you go to vaniqa.com, you can score a coupon for up to $25 off. You still have to tweeze or shave or whatever, but it’s no longer a life or death situation. In other words, you don’t have to carry a tweezers with you everywhere you go, which, not surprisingly, is quite liberating. Plus, this remedy doesn’t hurt like a mother. So I’m on board.
But here’s the rub, you’re supposed to use Vaniqa twice a day every day for life, but it made my chin break out like mad (a known side-effect). So through trial and error I have found I can keep blemishes and chin hairs at bay by using Vaniqa just once a day (mornings) and Dr. Dennis Gross’ All-Over Blemish Solution, $42 (dgskincare.com), at night. This salicylic-acid based preparation does a splendid job of keeping pores clear without drying out skin. When I need to drag out the heavy anti-blemish artillery, I use Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion, $17 (mariobadescu.com). It’s a tad irritating, due to its high concentration of isopropyl alcohol, and it’s actually meant for cystic acne, but I’ve found it clears up chin breakouts practically over night.
So there you go. A post that’s about as un-erotic as it gets. But the world may be a more glamorous place because of it. And I promise, my next post will be positively steamy. In fact, if I have my way, it will make you blush. Ciao for now my friends. Stay happy and healthy.