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Superfluous Hair: What Does It Mean? Safe Removal Tips

Teen girls are most likely to worry about superfluous hair, especially on the face or around the nipples of the breast. Most often, this hair growth has genetic causes. If your ethnic origin is Mediterranean, your daughter may have a greater tendency to have more body or facial hair than someone of Oriental origin.

For a minority of young people, excess hair may signal a hormone problem. If your daughter is in her late teens and suddenly develops excess hair, consult your physician.

Many women fear removing the stray hairs around the nipples. Removing this hair is perfectly safe and will not cause cancer. Temporary hair removal techniques such as shaving, chemical depilatories, hot waxing and plucking are all quite safe.

However, if your daughter is removing facial hair with a depilatory, this should be one formulated for facial use. And hot wax treatments, especially over a wide area, are best done by a professional in a beauty or special waxing salon.

Electrolysis, a method of permanent hair removal, must be done by a professional, preferably one recommended by your physician. Home electrolysis is NOT recommended.

So whatever the causes of superfluous hair, there is help!

Dr. Wibbelsman, M.D., is an award-winning author and former “Dear Doctor” columnist for Teen magazine. Chair of Adolescent Medicine for the Permanente Medical Group, Northern California, he is chief of the Teen-Age Clinic at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. Dr. Wibbelsman is the news anchor for a Bay Area television series, “Medicine in the Nineties”.


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