Lady chin stubble
March 5, 2021 10:54 PM   Subscribe

Since developing an ovarian cyst a few years ago (recently excised) I have started growing quite annoying chin stubble. Some of them are very visible and relatively thick black hairs, some are much paler but still robust and some are quite pale indeed but grow to quite some length....

I've been plucking these up to now but I'm desperate for a better solution. But I'm finding it hard to sort the crazy Facebook advertised solutions from the lining the beauty clinicians pockets solutions....

What works?! How can I (ideally) be free of these hairs??

I don't mind paying money if it will actually sort the problem.

Thank you!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
You're correct to sense that this is a field which attracts folk remedies, scams, and just-this-side-of-legal claims by cosmetologists. Vaniqa (requires prescription) works for about 2/3 of the people who try it for the full initial three-month period. It doesn't eliminate hair growth entirely, but it slows it down drastically. Of course, insurance deems it merely "cosmetic," so you'll have to pay cash, and it's around $175 for a 3-month supply.

If money is no object, though, you should take yourself to a good place that does laser hair removal. You'll have to re-treat at intervals.
posted by praemunire at 11:14 PM on March 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

This is also just part of growing older for a lot of people. Unfortunately there is no permanent solution. Pretty much everyone in my family wrangles with this, I have since I went through puberty. Laser removal has made some great strides in recent years but it’s definitely not permanent, and of course with COVID I would heartily avoid lengthy face to face interaction like that - home laser solutions aren’t the same technology as much as they advertise it to be. Depending on your skin type you might have more success with bleaching, though roots show and then you bleach again and skin can get damaged a lot more quickly than you might think. Waxing is painful but does remove things at the root and home waxing is quite similar to what you might get at a salon, same with sugaring and threading. You can sort of get used to it over time, as I’m sure you’ve growing used to tweezing. I sometimes like the Nad’s facial strips for sort of mowing down the swathes of chin lawn and then tweezing for what’s left, they’re very no fuss so simple to try. A lot more women than you might think actually shave. A little trimming razor is easy to find and simple to get used to. If you have extremely pale skin and very dark hair like me, the roots will show, and that’s why i tend towards yanking it out, but it can be covered very effectively with makeup if I want to. If you have basically any melanin it’s not much of a concern though. If you continue to be alarmed by your facial hair amounts or if you have any other fast changes definitely ask your doctor about hormones and thyroid and all that, of course, but alas, we mammals have hair. There is only working with it, not being rid of it, until our skin stops working as intended.
posted by Mizu at 12:17 AM on March 6, 2021 [5 favorites]

Electrolysis is afaik the only permanent hair removal solution. Laser is good on dark hair and pale skin and should be long lasting. Most people wax or shave, with threading or tweezing being good if you don’t have too much. Some birth control pills reduce facial hair as does Vaniqua. Forums for women with PCOS will give you lots of personal experiences.
posted by plonkee at 12:44 AM on March 6, 2021 [8 favorites]

Yes, Electrolysis is a permanent solution. It is a bit more painful, expensive, and you may need a few sessions to get all the growth. Read reviews of providers in your area. Some dermatologist do it. Otherwise medical spa places often offer it. It is different from laser hair removal. PS: this is very common and normal for many. Totally understandable if you want it gone too.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:17 AM on March 6, 2021 [8 favorites]

No permanent solution but an inexpensive facial trimmer like this is pain free to use and I only use it every now and then when I notice hair where I don’t want it.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:13 AM on March 6, 2021 [3 favorites]

I use an epilator. It is uncomfortable but so is tweezing, and it's a lot faster. It doesn't always get every hair but it gets most.
posted by metasarah at 4:17 AM on March 6, 2021 [5 favorites]

I use the exact same epilator metasarah linked to, and finish up with a quick swipe with one of these battery-powered facial hair removers to get rid of any stragglers. Takes literally 30 seconds.
posted by essexjan at 4:32 AM on March 6, 2021

I use a combo of an epilator and I splurged on an at-home IPL tool. I use a combo of both (you need to shave to use the IPL, and it'll only get the dark ones, so I kind of alternate).

If you do it fairly regularly then it'll only take a minute or so and you'll mostly be hair free.
posted by Youremyworld at 4:39 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Electrolysis is permanent, though if it were me I would (at minimum) wait until both I and the electrolysis tech were fully vaccinated.
I've had slowly increasing amounts of this over the years and I pluck it but if I'd had money to throw at it I would have done a combination of laser and then touch-ups of electrolysis to get what's leftover and/or too pale. (As I get older I have noticed that more and more of the hair I pluck is white and would not be affected by laser. )
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:00 AM on March 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I also use the exact same epilator as metasarah and essexjan and it does its job. I decided just less than a year ago to get laser or electrolysis once the pandemic dangers have passed. Obviously that's still waiting.
posted by phunniemee at 5:47 AM on March 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

I use this inexpensive coil epilator. It's very effective. It's pretty ouchy at first. I could do only small areas at a time before it was too much to take. Now I use it frequently, like every other day, and it's not bad at all. This is probably because at first, it's getting every. single. hair. But hair grows at different rates and pretty soon it's pulling far fewer at a time. I use it kind of mindlessly while I'm watching TV or reading stuff here.
posted by Dolley at 6:22 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

My wife and I just shave, with the same razor we use on our legs (I think we're on a dude's razor right now? We swap back and forth between men's razors and women's, with no noticeable difference in the functionality other than the "men's" razor is heavier, go figure). Permanent would be nice, but shaving is fast and uses what we already have, so...
posted by joycehealy at 6:30 AM on March 6, 2021 [4 favorites]

I did laser hair removal, and it wasn't great for these hormonally induced hairs. You have to do several sessions, because of the cycle of hair growth, and they did warn me that chin hairs tend to grow back eventually. Mine definitely did, and I stopped bothering. Now I just pluck the really stiff ones and run a quick razor over the soft ones.

For the laser removal, it works on dark hair on pale skin, so if your skin is dark or some of the hairs are white, it won't be completely useful.

(My friend got laser hair removal on her legs and was very happy with it. Apparently the hair that's tied to hormones is the hard-to-stop stuff.)
posted by gideonfrog at 6:35 AM on March 6, 2021

Waxing is great because (a) I only have to do it once every two/three weeks, and (b) after a few years the original hair follicles weaken or die off completely, so the regrowth gets sparser as time goes by (though new ones do keep sprouting as I age, sigh). Also (c) wax strips cost next to nothing and take next to no time to administer.

I have tried an epilator in the past. It works the same as waxing ito weakening hair follicles and thinning out the regrowth but it's slower and IMO consequently "more" painful - with wax strips you get a whole bunch of hair pulled off at once in half a second, but epilators will take a minute or two for dehairing same area.
posted by MiraK at 7:10 AM on March 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Another female chin-shaver here. No way am I going to (shudder) pluck or wax or do any other damn thing that hurts so much. I have more than enough other ouchy things in my life.

The stubble does show a bit. For anyone who is distressed by that, well, there's a road--->, and they're welcome to be on down it.
posted by Weftage at 7:28 AM on March 6, 2021 [9 favorites]

If you use retin-a, waxing is not a good idea. I have, uh, run my own experiments on that and it was not pretty. When that was not an issue, I liked waxing. I go for a combo of plucking + cheap razor these days.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 7:40 AM on March 6, 2021 [4 favorites]

FYI you can get lidocaine cream if you want to epilate...
posted by pairofshades at 8:07 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

+1 for epilator. I've had upper lip and chin hair (actually, hair everywhere) since puberty because of my ethnicity/genetics. I use it on my face every other day. It's a routine, the way a man would shave (obviously more painful, but a lifetime of hair pulling has made me quite tolerant).

People say that the more you pull hair from the root, the less it grows, but while I've found that to be partly true on my legs, it's not the case on my face, so you may want to make peace with this.
posted by redlines at 8:55 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I pluck what I can and shave the rest!
posted by 8603 at 8:55 AM on March 6, 2021

OK, hear me out on this one, hair minimizing creams help. Everyone thinks they don't because they don't use them long enough and somehow expect them to stop hair growth, but what they do is minimize hair. You may have to try a couple to find one that works best for you, you have to use them twice a day and you have to use them for a few months, hairs do not grow all at the same time or the same rate and you have to use it long enough to effect them all. It does not stop hair regrowing, but it visibly reduces the size of the hair follicles and slows their growth immensely. I use them in combination with occasionally shaving and a plucking. The cream dramatically reduces the time I spend doing both and has almost stopped my thick peach fuzz I was getting coming in on my cheeks. Yes the hairs I grow back, but grow back thinner and less visible to the point I can go a week or two between feeling I need to pluck and shaving and I don't get harsh stubble from shaving.

If you go for mainly the shaving route I highly recommend the Intuition brand razors for shaving your face, they have guard wires so reduce the risks of nicking yourself and you can do it every morning as part of your shower routine without a mirror.
posted by wwax at 9:37 AM on March 6, 2021

If you can throw money at this, get yourself a Philips Lumea. I was about to go the whole electrolysis/laser route pre-lockdown but a friend told me about this and it is a total game changer for ALL body hair. It’s literally the only thing I’ve ever tried that has lasted more than a day, and it lasts weeks/months. I also love how I can do it at home, it is quick, pain free and no mess. Like none.
posted by atlantica at 9:38 AM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

I shave in the shower by feel, and I swear by EOS Strawberry-vanilla shaving cream (the travel size will last ages, but the full size pump bottle is nearly forever) and the drugstore knockoffs of the Bic Soleil Balance disposables (one lasts 3-4-5 months before it feels dull enough to dispose) with the moisturizer bars, which I find really helpful when doing the multiple passes from multiple angles required to really get everything down to the skin. Always do all your face-washing processes first, and shave near the end of the shower, so you're exfoliated and hydrated as possible before shaving.

I also have a Panasonic wet-dry shaver for knockdown in between shaves, which used to be for if I was going to run out for errands unshowered. Thanks to masks I no longer bother with that, but sometimes can't be arsed to shave in the shower these days and I like to keep stuff short for comfort.

You may want to go for the laser or electrolysis later on, but this method will work for now until it's safe.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:47 AM on March 6, 2021

I would vote for electrolysis when it's covid-safe to do so. Laser only works on hair that's dark in contrast to skin that's light, so the pale hairs aren't going to be affected. If there are only a few it'll take a few visits of maybe 15 minutes each.
posted by Sublimity at 10:49 AM on March 6, 2021

The risk of paradoxical hair growth with incautious laser strength (and it’s technicians doing these treatments, right) would put me off laser treatment

Electrolysis or plucking imo

Epilator - holy Christ, no
posted by cotton dress sock at 12:17 PM on March 6, 2021

Big fan of plucking. Use a magnifying mirror and do it in full sunlight if you can. Been doing it for years since perimenopause began and a quick weekly check means I catch everything, especially those annoying white hairs that are hard to see from the front.
posted by Peach at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2021

Electrolysis is something I started doing pre-pandemic. About 80% of the hairs are STILL gone in the section that was done (half my chin). I just had the one session.

In the interim, I just shave in the shower every day or two. I've just accepted this is what I have right now, and I'll fix later on.
posted by heathrowga at 1:30 PM on March 6, 2021

I did electrolysis for at least a decade, up until COVID, and am glad I did it. While it is the only "permanent" solution, that is highly misleading because for many of us, I'm sorry to say, the body has the potential to "convert" several thousand other hairs on your chin to coarse hairs. My initial hope was that they just needed to zap each follicle like three times and I'd be done with it. What I thought was just a few hairs turned out to be a lot more than expected. Should have only taken a year or two, right? Yeah, nope. Even after they get all the hairs as they come out of dormancy, it may not be over. While your hairs should indeed get sparser, you may end up being a permanent electrolysis client, going in every few weeks for touch ups. Life can feel terribly unfair. Every painful 15 minute electrolysis visit I was like, "will this be my last visit? Please Universe I hope so." And then, 3-4 weeks later, I was like, how can this be happening? Despite having "normal" hormone levels, many woman just "convert" chin hairs (plus even under your chin is fair game) and I am only recently starting to accept that fact.
posted by oxisos at 5:24 PM on March 6, 2021

I just shave mine. They don’t all grow in the same direction so I need to run the razor over them from a few directions but it seems to take care of it. I have pretty light hair so your mileage may vary.
posted by mai at 6:10 PM on March 6, 2021

I've used Parissa hot wax for years. Ironically, the "hot" wax doesn't have to be as hot as the "cold" wax strips, which they suggest microwaving if they are too stiff. I burned myself a couple of times with that stuff back in the day.

I use a mug warmer to heat the wax, check after 20 minutes, and usually end up leaving it for a little longer. Then I use the tongue depressor-like stick included in the kit to stir it once it's half melted and then to spread it on my chin.

After using the hot wax for a number of years I realized that I don't really have to throw out the used bits just because they're a little bit hairy, so I just keep melting and remelting until the texture really changes. I get MANY reuses out of a kit.

It's really important to hold your skin taut before ripping the wax off (opposite the direction of hair growth); I haven't found it's really too uncomfortable.
posted by kate4914 at 6:19 PM on March 6, 2021

Ok, I saw this question and I thought it would be a no-brainer and expected full agreement. I can't believe anyone is saying anything other than electrolysis.
Yeah, it hurts, but so do most of these other solutions! Except when you wax or tweeze or thread or use an epilator you have to keep doing it forever. And you have to allow your hair to grow long enough over and over again so that you can continue to wax or tweeze or thread.
A few electrolysis sessions and you will be done. You can also apply a numbing cream and/or take a pain killer beforehand to reduce some of the pain.
posted by Viola Swamp at 7:06 PM on March 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

By all means try electrolysis if you've got cash to spare, but you may end up going for 18 months before giving up on it. Not everyone is done after a few sessions. YMMV.
posted by kate4914 at 10:13 PM on March 6, 2021

I pluck the longest, darkest hairs, in the hopes that they'll grow back more slowly, but I absolutely don't have the pain tolerance or patience to pluck every hair on my chin and upper lip. A quick shave once a week does the trick and only takes a minute. I like to use those little sideways serrated razors like this on wet skin.
posted by beandip at 10:49 AM on March 8, 2021

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