If you think the only way to get rid of annoying body hair is to go through the physical pain of waxing or the mental agony of shelling out a bomb on laser therapy, then you probably haven`t yet discovered the virtues of spearmint tea and lemon-honey paste.
The problem of excessive hair growth in women starts around puberty and marks its territory across the face, neck, chest, back, toes and arms. It mostly traumatises the 18-45 age group. Scientifically, the condition is called hirsutism.
“The reason behind excess hair growth is the increased level of male hormones in the blood (androgens). Although all women produce androgens, increased levels could lead to hirsutism. Genes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, ovarian tumors and adrenal disorders are other reasons for excessive growth of hair,” Navin Taneja, director of the National Skin Centre, told IANS.
While shaving, waxing and bleaching are some of the temperory solutions to get rid of unwanted hair, there are some natural remedies – which may not offer permanent solutions – but help reduce hair growth.
“Taking spearmint tea twice a day for five days can reduce levels of male sex hormones. A paste of gram flour, curd and a pinch of turmeric powder can be used on a daily basis. One can use a pumice stone while bathing,” suggests Taneja.
Facial hair is particularly annoying for women. Beauty expert Shahnaaz Hussain has a few suggestions for them.
“Mix 30 gm of sugar with 10 ml of freshly squeezed lemon juice in 150 ml of water. Mix well and then apply it on the face in the direction of the hair growth. Leave it for 15 minutes, then rinse with cold water, rubbing the facial area gently. Repeat once every week,” the beauty expert says.
“Another remedy that can help in reducing hair growth is to squeeze 10 ml lemon juice into 40 ml honey and prepare a mixture. Take a cotton swab and rub this mixture in the direction of the hair growth. Rinse after 15 minutes. Repeat twice a week for two weeks.”
Ritika Manchanda, an HR professional, swears by the prowress of such home remedies.
“I had a major issue with hair on my upper lip area… it was almost like a light moustache… something I was always very conscious of being a woman. I used to get it waxed, but my skin used to get extremely red and dry and sometimes used to even peel off. But it was a relief after someone suggested home remedies to me.”
“I was also advised to undergo laser treatment, but since it was expensive, I chose to stick to home remedies. And they turned out to be quite effective. Of course, they can be a little messy because it is all do-it-yourself but it was totally worth it!” she added.
Vandana Chatrath, a dermatologist in Delhi, says women need to change their lifestyles to tackle hormonal imbalances.
“It is important to change one`s lifestyle. Imbibing healthy eating habits and regular exercising help tackle the underlying problem of hormonal imbalance,” she said.
“Losing excessive weight also helps. Those suffering from this problem should avoid eating foods that have a high glycemic index and fatty foods,” she added.
Other than natural remedies, there are permanent solutions like laser therapy, says Swati Srivastava, a Mumbai-based dermatologist.
“Modern methods to treat the problem of hirsutism include different types of hair reduction lasers. Laser therapy gives permanent results. Currently, there are three types of laser devices: Diode Hair Reduction, ND-YAG and Intense Pulsed Light System,” she said.
However, they come at a cost. A full body laser treatment costs anywhere from Rs.1.5 lakh to Rs.2 lakh.
Yet, there are many like Shivani Verma who shell out the money to get over with unwanted hair once and for all.
“I had coarse hair growth on my chin, something unusual. Initially I tried some home remedies, they reduced the growth. But later I underwent laser therapy and it has given me a complete makeover. I am more confident now,” said Shivani Verma, an IT professional.