PCOS can present a number of unpleasant symptoms, and among the most difficult of them to manage is hirsutism – an excess of dark or coarse hair that grows on the face, neck, chest, back, tummy caused by high level of androgens (commonly known as “male” hormones). In fact, in one study, hirsutism was reported as being the most distressing symptom of PCOS.
If you do have hirsutism, you may be seeking the best hair removal treatment for people with PCOS. There are, thankfully, many options for managing hirsutism but which is best for you?
Of course, if you do choose to head down the route of hair removal (which you most definitely don’t have to), the best treatments are down to personal preference. So, keep scrolling to read all about PCOS hair removal treatments available.
6 of the best hair removal treatments for people with PCOS
1. Laser hair removal
Although not the most affordable PCOS hair removal treatment, laser hair removal can be incredibly effective.
It works by using heat to destroy hair follicles, which helps to reduce the amount of hair or slow hair growth. It’s not permanent, but it is a long-term solution.
It’s fairly painless – many people say hair removal treatment stings a little and sometimes results in a small amount of redness, which soon fades – and side effects include blistering and alterations in skin pigmentation, but these are uncommon.
If you think laser hair removal might be for you, be sure to seek out a suitably qualified professional.
Obvious pros to shaving: it’s quick, low-cost, and easily done in the comfort of your own home.
There are a few drawbacks to shaving, though. Firstly, whilst it doesn’t actually result in increased hair growth as some myths might has us believe, it does leave hair with blunt edges which causes stubble regrowth – not preferable for some.
Then, there’s the fact that shaving can cause ingrown hairs and shaving rash. Finally, it requires regular upkeep.
If shaving is your hair removal treatment of choice, prioritise exfoliation, using a sharp – not blunt – blade, and moisturising.
3. Hair removal creams
The Nairs and Veets of hair removal. These ointments are called depilatory creams, and work by dissolving hair using chemical formulas.
On the plus side, they’re an affordable, at-home option for PCOS hair removal. The creams are easy to apply then, after a short wait, simply need to be washed off. Bingo.
That said, hair removal creams aren’t for everyone. The chemicals can cause skin irritation (and should therefore be patch-tested before use) – particularly when used on sensitive areas like the face.
No, not everyone’s cup of tea, but waxing is a solid solution for hair removal.
For the uninitiated, it essentially involves hot wax being applied to hairy skin in a thin layer. A piece of cloth is then placed on the wax, and when the wax cools and hardens the cloth is whipped off, taking the hairs with it.
It’s, as you may well know, not totally painless (and some areas might be more prone to soreness than others), but it is quick and lasts a few weeks.
Costs can wrack up if you opt for salon waxing, but at-home kits are available too.
If permanent hair removal is what you’re after, electrolysis might be worth considering.
In short, electrolysis involves having tiny needles inserted into hair follicles to pass through an electrical current which destroys the follicle and prevents it from producing hair.
We won’t sugar-coat it, electrolysis can cause mild, stinging pain, and result in redness that soon fades.
The biggest drawback is the cost – electrolysis can be pricey, and it can take a few rounds to get the desired results. If you do decide to proceed with it, though, do your research before choosing a qualified professional.
Hirsutism can be treated with prescribed medication, including some variations of the contraceptive pill.
Outcomes and side effects vary depending on the specific medication, and it can take a little while for prescribed treatment to take effect. But, medication treats hirsutism – the cause of excess hair growth – as opposed to managing symptoms as other hair removal methods do.
Discuss medication options with your GP to learn the benefits, risks, and which treatment might be right for you.