Unwanted Female Facial Hair Cream
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- Vaniqa cream should be applied twice daily, at least 8 hours apart.
- Vaniqa should be used after cleaning/cleansing and before applying moisturiser, cosmetics or sun creams.
- Apply a thin layer of Vaniqa cream to the affected area(s) of the face, and under the chin if required, and rub in thoroughly.
- Do not wash the treated areas for at least 4 hours after application of Vaniqa to allow it to have time to have an effect.
- You still need to remove excess hair. Continue your normal hair removal method whilst using Vaniqa. You should find that you need to do it less often if your treatment is effective.
- Persevere in the beginning. Vaniqa can take up to 8 weeks to have an effect in some women. It is important to continue applying it regularly to allow it to start to have an effect. If you do not see a benefit you should use Vaniqa regularly for 4 months before stopping treatment.
- Use hair removal before you apply Vaniqa. To avoid a burning or stinging sensation wait at least 5 minutes after shaving/waxing/plucking before applying Vaniqa.
- Reduce applications to once daily if stinging or burning occurs. Some patients can develop skin intolerance to Vaniqa even after months of treatment. If this occurs, reduce applications to once daily and then slowly increase back to twice a day. If intolerance continues please contact us via your online account.
Vaniqa cream contains the active ingredient eflornithine and is the only non-hormone product licensed for the treatment of unwanted female facial hair in the UK. If used properly you should see an improvement within 8 weeks of starting Vaniqa.
Please read the Patient Information Leaflet for side effects and additional information.
Pharmacist Tip: A thin layer of Vaniqa cream should be rubbed into the affected areas (usually the upper lip and chin) when they are clean and dry. This should be repeated twice daily, at least 8 hours apart and it should be left on for at least 4 hours when applied.
Like all creams there is the potential that you may be allergic to Vaniqa. We recommend you do a spot test before commencing treatment.
If you do experience side effects from Vaniqa, the most common side effect is acne, either worsening existing acne or causing acne in just over 1 in 10 people who use Vaniqa. Other common side effects are skin reactions from in growing hair, hair loss, a burning, stinging or tingling feeling, dry skin, itching, redness or rash. Please read the Patient Information Leaflet enclosed with your medicines for a full list of side effects.
If you experience any adverse effects from taking your prescribed medicine it is important to let us know immediately. Please log in to your online account and message one of our healthcare professionals or alternatively call us on 0117 971 1603. In a medical emergency you should contact the emergency services or go straight to your local Accident & Emergency.
Vaniqa should not cause a harmful interaction with any of your other current medicines. Please read the Patient Information Leaflet enclosed with your medicines for further information.
Vaniqa cream is not a hair removal cream and it does not permanently remove unwanted facial hair. It helps to slow the growth of unwanted facial hair making it less noticeable and problematic.
About Facial Hair
THE Medical Online Doctor service allows women have problems with unwanted facial hair to have a private consultation with a doctor and receive the treatment they require in a safe and discreet manner.
Female facial hair (also known as facial hirsutism) is when a woman gets excessive growth of thick, dark hair on areas of the face such as the upper lip and chin. Excess female facial hair is though to affect anything from 5 – 10% of women who have not experienced the menopause, increasing to up to 75% after menopause.
Unwanted facial hair is more common in women with dark hair, particularly those from Southern Asia and Europe, and can run in the family. Causes of female facial hair can include hormonal changes (such as the menopause), polycystic ovaries, and side effects of medicines.
Facial hirsutism is normally caused by an excess of, or increased sensitivity to, androgens (male sex hormones) in premenopausal women. In the majority of cases this is caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes symptoms of irregular periods, weight gain and acne. In less than a quarter of women, the cause of excess unwanted facial hair the cause of hirsutism is unclear. This is known as idiopathic hirsutism.
Women who have experienced the menopause are more likely to experience unwanted facial hair due to changing hormones. Oestrogen levels can decrease during this time and testosterone (an androgen) can increase causing growth of facial hair.
Most people have a fine layer of small, light hairs that cover the body. In hirsutism, these hairs become noticeably thicker, darker and coarser. This excessive growth of hair occurs most commonly on the face, however it can also occur on the neck, chest, stomach and buttocks. This can be distressing for some women and if this is the case it is important to seek treatment.
Unwanted female facial hair can often occur alongside other symptoms such as:
- Oily skin
- Deepening voice
- Receding hair line
Polycystic ovary syndrome will also cause symptoms of:
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
Excessive female facial hair does not need to be diagnosed by your GP, it is a very subjective and personal condition – what is considered excessive will vary from person to person, as will their attitude to it. It is important however to discuss newly occurring hirsutism with your GP to investigate the cause. If you have an underlying cause such as PCOS, this can be treated alongside your facial hair with the aim to control both conditions.
If hirsutism is causing you to experience psychological problems such as a loss of confidence, embarrassment or even depression, it is important to consult your GP for treatment. You should also consult your GP if your hirsutism has come on suddenly.
Hirsutism can be diagnosed by visually inspecting and grading the hair growth on 9 different areas on your body. Each area will be graded from 0 to 4, with 0 meaning no hair growth and 4 meaning heavy, dark hair growth. Generally, if you have a score of 15 or above this is considered moderate to severe hirsutism.
If you have had hirsutism diagnosed by your GP and you have idiopathic hirsutism, or your are treating the underlying condition, you may wish to begin treating your unwanted facial hair. There are a number of ways to remove, ease or disguise excess facial hair however because they are considered to be cosmetic many are not available on the NHS.
If you suffer with mild hirsutism, you may only require hair removal techniques with no medical intervention. All of these techniques can be effective and improve the appearance of excessive hair. The suitability of each treatment is down to each individual.
- Shaving – Quick & easy method however can cause irritation and leave stubble.
- Bleaching – Can effectively lighten hair and make it less noticeable. It works best with pale skin and can cause irritation.
- Waxing, plucking or threading – Can help to reduce hair regrowth however can be painful and cause inflamed hair follicles.
- Electrolysis – Can remove hair permanently however it may take a long time, be expensive and can cause scarring or changes in skin colour.
- Laser Hair Removal - Can remove hair permanently however it may take a long time and be expensive. It works best on women with pale skin and dark hair.
If you suffer with moderate to severe hirsutism that requires medical treatment, your GP may prescribe you certain oral contraceptives to treat the condition. These will only be effective in pre-menopausal women. Oral contraceptive pills such as Yasmin or Dianette (co-cyprindiol) can be prescribed for their anti-androgen effects. By blocking the effects of the male hormones they can help to treat hormone-related hirsutism. Oral contraceptives can be effective at treating excess facial hair in women however they can take up to 6 months to be effective.
Vaniqa (eflornithine 11.5%) cream is applied to areas of the face where there is excessive hair growth. It acts to reduce hair growth by blocking an enzyme responsible for hair growth in the hair follicle. Vaniqa has been shown produce an improvement in facial hair growth in 70% of patients in clinical trials. Vaniqa is equally as effective in all skin types and shades. Vaniqa is not a hair removal cream, it helps to slow the growth of hair, as well as making it shorter, finer, lighter and ultimately less visible.
Vaniqa can be used alongside other treatments such as hormone tablets or other forms of hair removal such as plucking, waxing, threading or laser hair removal. Vaniqa should be used regularly; if it is discontinued normal hair growth will resume within 8 weeks.
Vainqa can be ordered online through THE Medical Online Doctor following a free consultation with our prescribers.
Other treatment methods
Unwanted female facial hair can be caused by excess weight. Losing weight to get to a healthy BMI can help to prevent hirsutism in some women.
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