Facial Hair In Women; An Albatross At All Times – By Bernadette Araba Adjei

For Men Only?

“Mummy you have a beard! – No dear it is just a little facial hair”. This exchange is bound to have many a woman cringing and becoming self-conscious all over again. The growth of facial hair, a beard, a mustache and cheek hair has customarily been the preserve of the male of the human race and the fairer sex had only eye brows and eye lashes to contend with on the face.

In modern times however it is not uncommon to meet a woman with an abundant growth of facial hair on the chin and into the neck, on the upper lip and on the side of the face. This is common in African, Asian and Caucasian women although women with darker hair and have noticeable facial hair seem to draw more attention.

Women with naturally thick head hair growth sometimes get some additional hair growth on the face as well. Traditionally some Ghanaian men have admired a woman with hairy legs and a little chest hair had been acceptable even in women. However having facial hair that is very noticeable is not a pleasant state for most women as many believe it detracts from the beauty and softness of the womanly form.

A sign of growth in teenage males is the development of a shadowy mustache and little goatee beard. Side burns as they grow are treasured in these boys, but a teenage girl is looking out for enlarging breast and the curving of her hips and not hair on the face. But the unexpected happens in some girls and it can be a source of discomfiture. For older women, some may get a smartening of hair on the face as they grow older and this has been attributed to many things – genetics or the use of certain forms of contraception that depresses the female hormones to reduce fertility and thus increase male hormones (this claim has been strongly denied by many health care practitioners).

However facial hair is obtained, its management is crucial. As much as a woman may not want any unneeded hair on the face, shaving is not the way to go. It is alleged that shaving promotes more abundant hair growth and once shaving is done, it has to be done throughout life. Whilst trying to get rid of longer hairs, softer and smaller hairs are also scrapped off and new hair growth is harder and more resilient. And thus the pattern of shaving every morning and competing with brothers or the husband for shaving sticks and shaving cream is set for life.

Some women seek to solve this problem by plucking the hairs or tweezing out the hair. This is a painful process with limited success as the hairs grow back more abundant but of course it is not a daily activity and may be an option. And for women who tweeze their eyebrows as a beauty and fashion statement they may not find this practice a chore. Of course tweezing or shaving of eyebrows once started cannot be stopped either as the smooth eyebrow can never grow back the way it was before – smooth and straight – any new eyebrow growth shall be curvy and thick and basically does not look good.

It is alleged that there is an electrolysis treatment to remove facial hair at the roots and keep it off the face. Some women claim this is of limited success as there is reported damage to the skin of the face as a result and if not well done can damage the skin.

Waxing is also an option, the most painful I understand, but also temporary in nature.

Many women with facial hair are unhappy with this state. Many feel uncomfortable with a close scrutiny of their face and some have been known to fall into depression as a result, others have become withdrawn and reclusive.

There seems not to be a clear solution to this problem. It is one that should be handled delicately by the women themselves and the people in their lives. For the very young who have started noticing a smarting of hair on the face, it is best to leave it alone. You might want to have a 5o’clock on your upper lip than doing a full shave every morning. But it all depends on the individual really. For those with a full face of facial hair, a method of management that works for them may be used. But a sense of self worth is important and knowing and feeling beautiful and valuable just the way you are is very important. However for the general public, be sensitive, be nice – we do not choose the way we look or how we turn out, but we must live with it and co-exist in peace.