Bye bye moustache
January 28, 2008 11:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm male, I have brown skin (latin) and I'm really considering permanently removing my thick moustache with laser. I don't mind losing the possibility of growing a moustache again. I do mind something going wrong. Are there any risks that I should be aware of?
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Check out before you do it. I raised over $2,000 this year for prostate cancer research by just growing a moustache for a month. So seriously consider the long-term consequences of this choice, since as far as I know, it is irreversible. Trends, fashions, looks and personal feelins about stuff like this change all the time, so I would be careful. Just sayin'.
posted by Grither at 11:44 AM on January 28, 2008

I've heard, anecdotally, of women with darker skin who had laser hair removal done to their faces, and it increased their hair density, rather than lessened it. For a woman, I can see this as something of a nightmare scenario, although I don't know how a man might take it. My understanding is that the more contrast there is between skin and hair (i.e. pale skin, dark hair), the more likely it is to be successful. A reputable laser center ought to be able to tell you if you're a good candidate or not.
posted by junkbox at 11:45 AM on January 28, 2008

Take into account your age. If you're in your 40s or later, and never wanted a mustache, you probably won't want one in the future. If you're in your 20s, you really don't know what might change in your taste or in fashions.

I'm white, but I have coarse dark hair and an over-all thick mustache density, and when I was shaving (I have a beard and mustache now), I didn't find that part of the face to be very difficult to shave at all. I'd really take some time and consider if shaving your upper lip is really that much of a hassle compared to the cost of the laser treatment combined with the possibility that you might want to rock a 'stache.
posted by explosion at 12:00 PM on January 28, 2008

FYI, it hurts a lot. The pain isn't long lasting, but it is not trivial either. YMMV.

The worst part is that a typical session will include dozens and dozens of lasers bursts so it won't be like ripping a bandaid off -- painful but over with shortly. It will be like ripping dozens of bandages off.

Also, junkbox is 100% correct that the ideal candidate will have lightly colored skin and dark hair. The laser works off of the contrast. So if you have darker skin and dark hair it will not work well or maybe even at all.
posted by cayla at 12:01 PM on January 28, 2008

To clarify, there is something about laser around the mouth that makes it hurt more than most places. The technician said something about the laser resonating against the bone of the jaw and teeth. I have no idea how valid this explanation is, but it did hurt more on my lip than the laser I had done on my armpits.
posted by cayla at 12:06 PM on January 28, 2008

From what I've heard, that type of hair removal works best with light skin/dark hair combination. Results may not be so great with your coloring.
posted by piratebowling at 12:25 PM on January 28, 2008

Won't you still have a whole beard to contend with? How is shaving the rest of your face somehow less of a hassle than that two-inch area above the lip?

Becoming a permanent Abe Lincoln is a significant risk I wouldn't be comfortable with, but YMMV.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:39 PM on January 28, 2008

Having a hairless upper lip and stubble everywhere else will be the world's strangest looking facial hair.

Also, as several people have mentioned, the lasers work best on those with high-contrast coloring. In addition to probably not being that effective on your darker skin, i beleive the lasers could cause affect the coloration of your skin, leaving you blotchy, or with darker areas.

A consultation at a dermatologists office would really be your best route here, though.
posted by Kololo at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2008

I understand the appeal; I shave my head frequently and there have been moments where I've thought about just having all the hair lasered off. I don't quite understand wanting to do just your upper lip but, hey, it's your face so go talk to a competent dermatologist about the feasibility given your hair and skin coloring.

One thing to consider, however, is your age. I'm in my late 20s and have gotten hairier (face and chest specifically) as I've aged, even in just the last few years. So, depending on your age, you may find yourself in a position where you'll have to start shaving again at some point. Which would probably be annoying after having spent the money on removal.
posted by 6550 at 3:39 PM on January 28, 2008

Yeah, what's your goal? What problem are you trying to solve?
posted by gjc at 5:46 PM on January 28, 2008

It was true for many years that dark hair / light skin was the recommended combo for success, but it's NOT true now. There are new lasers that can treat almost all combos of hair and tone. That's what you'll hear when you ask a pro now (or google now).
posted by lorimer at 12:59 AM on January 30, 2008

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