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Face Shaving For Ladies With PCOS

Face Shaving For Ladies With PCOS

Written by Yoppie

24 Dec 2021

Why is hair growth a symptom of PCOS?!

Should I shave my face?

How can I shave my face safely?

How else can I manage my hair growth?

Those with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) may be familiar with one of the most mentally difficult symptoms of the condition; excessive hair growth. Not everyone with PCOS will get this, but those who do may find it grows on the face. If that’s you and you’re keen to get rid, we’re covering how to shave safely, whether you should, and what other methods can help…

Why is hair growth a symptom of PCOS?!

It’s thought that 70-80% of people with PCOS could have varying degrees of a symptom called hirsutism caused by an increase in the androgen hormones. Everyone has vellus hairs on their face (the tiny, almost-invisible ones), but androgens cause hair to grow darker and thicker, which can be distressing if it’s on your face, particularly for those who believe body hair to be a “manly” thing. Spoiler: it’s not. But we do understand the desire to remove hair from unwanted places, so let’s look closer at how to do this. 

Should I shave my face?

PCOS cannot be cured, so it’s more about managing symptoms than getting rid of them. Shaving may seem like the simplest, most convenient and cost-effective way to manage excessive hair growth, but we love a good pros and cons list, we do!  

The pros… it’s easy, it removes excess oil and dead skin cells (which can brighten skin), it can be done daily, and it may even make your makeup last longer. 

The cons… the 5 o’clock shadow means you may need to shave regularly to maintain smoothness, and there’s the possibility of ingrown hairs, dry patches, itching, and small cuts. 

How can I shave my face safely?

If you choose to shave your face, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to do it safely and effectively. To shave your face, you’ll want to follow these steps:

  • Cleanse and dry skin, then add your choice of gel, lotion or shaving cream for a smoother shave.
  • Use the right razor! Lots of women’s shavers on the market are designed for shaving legs or underarms, and sometimes offer fewer blades. If they don’t work don’t be afraid to try others (even razors marketed to men) to find what works best for you. 
  • Change your razor/blade frequently to avoid skin irritation and rinse after each stroke. 
  • Pull skin taut with one hand and use the other to do light strokes with the razor, going with the grain, not against it. 
  • If you have hair growth near your eyes, it’s best to explore safer methods (perhaps the ones listed below), so you don’t accidentally nick the delicate skin. 
  • When you’re done, rinse any excess product and apply a moisturiser straight away. 

How else can I manage my hair growth?

If shaving isn’t for you, there are other methods of hair management you can try instead:

  • Waxing: A thin layer of heated wax is applied to hair, left to dry, then yanked off to remove hairs from the root. It’s quick, relatively easy, and can be done at home or in the salon. Hair tends to stay gone for up to 3 weeks, but if you have a low pain tolerance this one may not be for you, and it can leave a little redness and swelling.
  • Depilatory Cream: Creams with chemicals that dissolve hair. The pros include speed, ease-of-use and effectiveness. The cons are exposure to some pretty high-intensity chemicals, so it’s best to test a small patch on skin at least an hour before. 
  • Bleaching Cream: Just like depilatory cream, these are easy and quick to use, but are applied in order to remove the pigment and make it less visible. Again, this means messing with strong chemicals that can irritate skin, so test an hour before. 
  • Laser Hair Removal: For something longer-lasting, laser might be perfect. This is done by a trained dermatologist so it’s not a cheap or quick procedure. Depending on your hair colour this may be effective for you.
  • Electrolysis: This is a more permanent form of hair removal where a small needle is inserted into hair follicles to give an electrical charge to ‘kill’ the root. Pros? Low-to-no upkeep, and it’s super effective. Cons? High cost, and maybe a little pain during. 

If you’re thinking, “but why should I have to shave or wax or laser anything?!”... you’re absolutely right. If you choose to remove excess hair, you should feel empowered to do so, just as you should feel empowered to leave it be if that’s more your speed. Remember if you are happy and healthy otherwise, you don’t need to make yourself look a certain way because it’s thought of as the “norm” - stand out, embrace your natural body, and if you feel like it, let your hair grow long proudly. Plenty of people with PCOS choose to celebrate their facial hair and don’t let it affect their enjoyment of life - you can too. 

“The moment I decided to let my facial hair grow out was August 11, 2016. It was something I had to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for… I can honestly say that growing my facial hair was the best decision I ever made. I absolutely love my beard. It's given me the confidence I never thought I would have.”  - Alma Torres, interviewed by Allure

Do you have excess facial hair due to PCOS? Do you prefer to remove it, or let it grow naturally? Join our Full Stop FB group for a supportive place to discuss it, whatever your facial hair preference! Or if you have any questions, ask us on Instagram at @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised menstrual care package can get full-cycle care from organic tampons to hydrating face masks(and more) delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, to help keep your skin in tip-top shape, whatever choices you make with that facial hair!

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