Laser Hair Removal: Upper Lip
Reviewed by Yael Halaas, MD
Upper lip hair is not considered a desirable trait among most women. So what's a woman to do when her upper lip starts to sprout unwanted hair? Shaving can be nick-inducing, waxing hurts, and depilatories are messy and smelly — and all of them must be repeated on a regular basis. Electrolysis, a procedure that uses a probe and electrical current to zap the hair follicle right where it grows, is painful, time consuming and expensive. Bleaching just changes the hair's color, which sometimes makes it more obvious, and it may also cause a rash if you have sensitive skin. Consequently, many women are turning to another option to get rid of the fuzzies on their upper lip: laser hair removal.
Laser hair removal is well-suited for removing excess hair from the face, including the upper lip. It uses low-intensity laser light that is attracted to the pigment in the hair, which it then destroys at its very root. The procedure can remove hundreds of hairs at a time, unlike electrolysis. Repeat treatments may be necessary to destroy hair follicles that were not in their growth cycle during the initial treatment.
This newest form of hair removal works best on light-skinned people with dark hair. Due to their relative lack of pigment, light blonde, white or gray hairs may not register with the laser and could be missed. Choose a board-certified plastic surgeon or facial plastic surgeon to perform your laser hair removal, as these specialists are best qualified to determine whether or not laser hair removal will work given your individual skin and hair color.
Choosing a Surgeon
Finding the right surgeon is not always easy. You may be confronted with advertisements from many practitioners who promise safe treatment and excellent results. To help you cut through the hype, All About Facial Rejuvenation has created a user-friendly online directory of genuinely skilled and accomplished surgeons with many years' experience performing a range of facial procedures.
Considerations for Laser Lip Hair Removal
There are several steps you should take before proceeding with laser hair removal on the upper lip. First, consult with a qualified physician. He or she will examine you and ask questions about your medical history to make sure you are in good general health. An experienced doctor will also be able to determine if your facial hair growth is normal or if there is an underlying medical cause, such as a metabolic disorder.
One such cause is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which affects about 10 percent of women of childbearing age. About three-quarters of PCOS sufferers experience excessive hair growth, often on their upper lip or chin.
Another common cause of excess facial hair is a hormone imbalance, such as occurs during pregnancy or menopause. While laser hair removal can be performed on menopausal women, pregnant women are not candidates for this procedure.
Some women inherit the tendency for facial hair growth from their mothers and grandmothers, and some women just have darker, more noticeable hair than others. Both groups can benefit from laser hair removal.
Laser Lip Hair Removal: Do the Results Last?
Generally speaking, you can expect to see up to an 80 percent reduction in unwanted hair in the treated area after three sessions, which are matched to your hair's growth cycle. It's important to note that any hairs that grow back are usually lighter in color, and finer, so they may not be as noticeable as the original growth. Additional facial laser hair removal treatments are usually required to maintain your results.