About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Back to Basics with Suzanne Walsh - Waxing

Tuesday, 16 January 2007


Suzanne Walsh is getting back to basics with some top beauty tips on removing unwanted facial hair.

Why do women have facial hair?
There are two types of hair, vellous and terminal. We all have vellus hair which is very soft and downy and hardly visible it is non-pigmented and found on most parts of the body. Terminal hair is more deep rooted and is coarse, visible hair with well-developed roots, found on areas such as the scalp, the underarm and pubic region.

There are certain areas on the body known as target areas where there will be a growth of hair when stimulated by the male hormones androgen.

As a women's body produces these hormones in much smaller quantities than the male in normal circumstances she does not develop hair in all the target areas, unlike the male. However during puberty, pregnancy and menopause, when there may be an increase in androgens there can be a production of excess hair in these target areas.

Factors affecting unwanted facial hair growth are:
. Hereditory factors different races for e.g. Italians, Spaniards etc tend to be more hairy than say Irish or British with the Orientals and American Indians being the least hairy of all.
. Topical causes- sustained irritation to the epidermis (top layer of the skin) is seen as a potential threat as it will cause a defensive reaction by the body. The blood supply to the area is increased; therefore the hairs growing in the follicles will receive increased nourishment accelerating their growth. The hairs in the area of irritation will be stimulated to grow coarser and deeper, creating a protective covering on the skin, against further irritation.
. Drugs - hair growth can be stimulated when a person is taking steroids for treatment of a medical condition.
. Systemic causes - The endocrine system produces hormones which control the growth, development and the metabolic functions of the body. An excess of certain hormones may result in the production of excessive hair this can occur during puberty, pregnancy and the menopause.
. Abnormal causes - hysterectomy a drop in the oestrogen levels can increase hair growth. Polycystic ovaries - multiple cysts in the ovaries producing symptoms which include lack of menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, weight gain and hirsuitism
. Anorexia nervosa - starving results in a hormonal imbalance.
. Stress - during times of crisis the adrenal glands produce large amounts of adrenaline this increase has an effect on the adrenal glands which then produces large amounts of androgens the male hormone which will give rise to an excessive hair growth.

Where are the most common places for women to get facial hair?
. Chin
. Upper and lower lip
. Cheeks
. Sideburns
. Under the chin, neck area (often indicating stress)

Types of hair removals
For women
. Shaving
. Plucking
. Creams
. Waxing
. Laser
. Electrolysis

For men
Should men wax?

Men can wax their eyebrows and upper cheeks and ear lobes but waxing the bearded area is not recommended.
. Trimming is advisable

Ingrown hair
What is an ingrown hair?

When a hair gets distorted either from improper plucking or tweezing the hair can coil under the skin and create a sore bump under the skin knows as an ingrown hair. Blocked pores can also prevent a new hair from growing properly and so cause ingrown hair.
Home remedies for ingrown hair
most ingrown hair occur on the bikini line the best solution is to dry body brush the area to remove dead skin cells and then apply neat tea tree oil directly onto any ingrown hairs. Avoid moisturising the area as this can clog the pores and exacerbate the problem. Also try to avoid wearing tight fitting clothing as this will cause friction and increase the likely hood of ingrown hairs.

Type of hair removal
Shaving is NOT an option.

. Should we shave our faces?
No shaving is not recommended. However if you are having Intense Pulsed Light treatment the therapist will shave the area to be treated first. But in regards to home care shaving the face is not an option.


. Exfoliate the skin first
. Use a soap free gel/ shaving foam
. Ladies should not shave facial hair
. Use a blunt razor
. Apply aftershave or perfumed products onto skin after shaving
. Use an spf
. Shaving lasts up to- 3 to 7 days depending on individual hair growth.

Should we pluck?

Plucking the hair removes the hair from the follicle. Plucking is a very popular method and is ideal for the eyebrows. However plucking is only a temporary solution so if long term hair removal is desired electrolysis and IPL are the treatments to go for.

What do creams do that shaving doesn't?

Depillitory creams are designed to dissolve the hair on the skins surface. They are an alternative method of hair removal for people with varicose veins where waxing would be unappropriate. Like shaving they remove the hair on the skins surface. A skin patch test should be carried out before using using creams to ensure suitability and lessen the risk of chemical burn on the skin. Depillatory creams need to be applied roughly every two weeks. Because the hair is not removed from the root as in waxing a shadow effect can often occur.

Depilatory creams

. A skin patch test prior to use on face
. Read instructions carefully and adhere to times
. Protect the skin with a cream for sensitive skin & spf after using a depilatory cream
. Use soap or deodorant for several hours after the treatment
. Use sauna, steam or sun beds after treating skin with deep cream
. Use if irritation is felt on the skin
. Exceed recommended times
. Creams last up to - 3- 7 days.

What is good about waxing? Does it stop hair growth eventually?

Waxing is affordable, widely available, relevantly pain free and very quick unfortunately it does not stop hair growth.


. Exfoliate skin 24hrs before treatment
. Check temperature of wax before applying to facial area it should be cooler than say waxing the legs
. Apply a soothing protecting lotion after waxing
. If irritation or swelling occurs apply a cold compress
. Use saunas, steam or sunbeds for at least 24hrs after treatment
. Apply false tans as they seep into the pores and leave brown spot like marks
. Apply an spf after treatment
. Waxing last up to - three to five weeks.

What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a gentle and relatively painless treatment. The process uses light, which is absorbed by the pigment in the individual hairs. The pigment converts the light to heat, a process which disables the ability of the hair follicle to grow further hair.
How long does a laser treatment take?
In many cases a treatment session can be completed in about half an hour. However, if it involves removing leg hair it can take around one hour.
How many sessions should you have?
That entirely depends on how much hair you want to remove and where. Often, four to eight sessions will be sufficient to achieve a highly satisfactory result.
Can any one go for laser treatment?
In general yes but a consultation with your therapist is the best way to evaluate individual suitability. Very fair hair is not suitable for IPL as it has little or no pigment however this usually is not an issue as the hair most people want to remove is dark and course.
Laser - if successful permanent hair removal will be achieved.

Electrolysis is a time-tested method that was invented more than 100 years ago to remove irritating, in-grown eyelash hairs. Most areas of the body can be treated with electrolysis, including the eyebrows, face, thighs, abdomen, breasts, and legs.
There are no permanent side effects. Sometimes, a slight reddening of the skin occurs during or immediately after treatment, but this will only last for a short time. Electrolysis is very safe and, unlike depilatories or bleaches, no harsh chemicals are used. Source -
Electrolysis - if successful permanent hair removal will be achieved.

If there is redness after waxing is there a particular foundation or concealer women can put on to cover up the redness?
Most salons will apply a soothing lotion or booster after waxing to lessen irritation and sooth redness. At home avoid perfumed products only apply very mild moisturising creams. Dermalogica have a great product called sheer tint which contains an spf , soothing ingredients and is tinted to cover any redness. Never apply any powder based products or bronzers to the waxed area as they can cause irritation. False tans can be applied 24 hrs after a waxing treatment but not before that time scale

Don't be embarrassed to get facial waxing.
Society in general is very aware of the positive effect a good appearance has on an individual and acceptance in society as a whole.
Keeping embarrassing hairs to a minimum is nothing to shy away from and can only help increase a persons feeling of well being. At some stage in a women's life most of us will have to deal with facial hair so you're definitely not alone and have nothing to be embarrassed about.

What types of reactions can occur?
- if the wax is too hot or the therapist incorrectly uses the wax or forgets to stretch the skin a burn or grazing will be seen and felt on the eyelid.
Apply a cold compress to the area for the first 24hrs and after that a soothing calming lotion should be applied. Unless recommended by a therapist avoids putting anything on the area other than the cold compress for the first 24hrs.
Upper lip - it is not unusual for the upper lip to break out with small pimples after your first lip wax, however this usually only occurs the once and subsequent treatments should hopefully not result in any breakouts.
If you do experience a few pimples do not scratch or squeeze, these little pimples are best left alone and will go down relevantly quickly as long as you don't fiddle with them.
Electrolisis can sometimes produce small pimples like the waxing again leave them alone a soothing serum will help speed the healing process. Always inform your therapist of any reactions experienced after treatments.

Top tips
. The skin can become sensitive after any of the hair removal treatments. It is important to protect your skin with a good moisturiser and spf to help prevent pigmentation.
. Aloe vera applied typically to skin after IPL treatments helps sooth the skin and reduces any side effects.
. Never use any heat treatments i.e. sauna, solarium, Jacuzzi after hair removal they will increase sensitivity and always wear protection and a good spf.

The Products
1. Louis Marcel Gentel Hair Removal Cream, €6.75, Chemists Nationwide
2. Boots Smooth Naturally Face Wax, €10.50, Boots
3. Boots Easy Cut Hygenic Clipper ,  €12.24, Boots
4. Tweesers, €5.95, The Body Shop
5. Tea Tree oil,  €5.95, Chemists Nationwide
6. Dermalogica Sheer Tint Moisture,  €36, Chemists Nationwide

For more information
A great website for beauty tips is

Back to Basics with Suzanne Walsh