Black women can pretty much use the same hair removal methods to get rid of unwanted facial hair as any other woman. While skin tone may have some bearing on certain hair removal treatments, the options for black women are often influenced by the amount of facial hair and the location of growth. Just like women with lighter skin tones, a couple of unwelcome hairs may only necessitate periodic at-home removal, while more extensive growth can benefit from professional treatments.
Regardless of race, color or national origin, the hairs on a woman's face are typically vellus hairs, which are fine, short and almost indiscernible to the naked eye. They go through the same cycles of growth, transition and rest as any other hair on the body but never grow past a certain length or circumference. However, some women may begin to experience more excessive hair growth, which may necessitate removal.
Excessive facial hair growth in black women is often caused by hormonal changes. When estrogen is the predominant hormone, facial hairs remain in their vellus form. But when androgen levels increase, vellus hairs can become terminal. This means that male sex hormones cause a pattern of facial hair growth more similar to a man. The hairs on the face become coarse, thick and more noticeable.
Topical Prescription Medication
In this situation, you may benefit from eflornithine, a prescription medication that prevents the enzymes that cause the necessary cell division to produce terminal hairs. The topical solution is applied along affected areas to retard facial hair growth for upward of eight weeks. Tweezing, waxing, depilatories or epilators are still necessary to remove the unwanted facial hairs, but the growth is slowed to provide hair-free skin for longer periods of time.
Laser Hair Removal
While most lasers are better suited for lighter skin women with dark hair, lasers that emit longer waves of energy can safely remove hair on darker skin tones, advises the American Academy of Dermatology. The longer wavelengths are able to penetrate into follicles without damaging or burning the skin. This prevents hair growth along areas of treated skin. You shouldn't experience hair growth for at least three months after treatment. The AAD cautions against removing facial with an at-home laser kit. The darkness of your skin could lead to hyperpigmentation or scarring without a professional technician.
Like women of any other ethnic origin, black women can also benefit from electrolysis. In this procedure, an electrologist inserts a fine probe into the pore of your skin. An electrical spark is administered, burning out the offending follicle and preventing the regrowth of unwanted facial hair. This treatment should permanently stop hair growth.
- American Academy of Family Physicians: Removal of Unwanted Hair
- MedlinePlus: Excessive or Unwanted Hair in Women
- American Academy of Dermatology: Laser Hair Removal
- KidsHealth: Hair Removal
- American Academy of Dermatology: In-Office and At-Home Cosmetic Procedures Fact Sheet
- MedlinePlus: Eflornithine