Women's Facial Hair Removal

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Vaniqa for Facial Hair Removal

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Before you start an assessment, please read all of the information below.

Most women will suffer from unwanted facial hair. However, some hormonal disorders in women can lead to the growth of thick or dark facial hair, called facial hirsutism. This can be a very distressing symptom. It can affect up to 15% of women. This excessive facial hair growth can occur either due to increased production of male sex hormone (such as testosterone) or because the skin has become more sensitive to this type of hormone.

Usually, the cause is unknown. It can, however,  be associated with obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, menopause and certain medications.

Vaniqa (eflornithine) cream is a prescription medicine used twice daily which can help treat excessive hair growth on the face and under the chin. It can be prescribed for both premenopausal and menopausal women but isn't suitable for pregnant women, breastfeeding or women under the age of 19.


Common Symptoms

Women with hirsutism may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • unwanted facial hair
  • increased hair growth
  • thick facial hair
  • emotional distress
  • social embarrassment
  • anxiety
  • depression
Common Treatments

Possible treatment we prescribe if clinically appropriate:

Vaniqa (eflornithine) 11.5% cream 60g: Apply thinly twice a day (£56.87*)

*Prices shown are cost price of the medication, taken from the British National Formulary 2018, and are given as a guideline. Pharmacies will add a dispensing fee to this which will vary considerably, so it is worthwhile phoning around to compare prices. The medication is paid for at your chosen pharmacy. 

Please click on the medication above to read the Patient Information Leaflet for important information about Vaniqa.

More information about Vaniqa

Vaniqa (eflornithine), when applied to the skin, works by blocking an enzyme that is involved in the production of hair, in the hair follicles. It can be used with laser therapy to help reduce hair growth in women with hirsutism.

Vaniqa does not remove hair, so you may need to continue with your normal methods of hair removal while using it. These may include shaving, waxing, hair removal cream, plucking, laser, and electrolysis.

Before you start the treatment always read the manufacturers leaflet contained with the medication, which contains more information and the potential side effects.

How to use Vaniqa

Clean and dry your face before use. Apply a thin layer of the cream twice a day to the affected areas of your face. Rub it in well so that no cream is left visible on the skin. Avoid getting the cream near your eyes or mouth as it can irritate. Leave at least 8 hours between applying the cream again. Wash your hands after use. Do not wash your face for at least 4 hours after applying the cream. Wait at least 5 minutes before applying any makeup. 

If you have just used a hair remover or you have just shaved then wait at least 5 minutes before applying the cream to avoid any irritation. 

How long it takes to see the effects

It can take about 8 weeks before you start to see the full effects so it is important to use the cream regularly. If you do not see improvement after using it for four months, then it is best to discontinue. 

Never give your treatment to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Possible side effects from Vaniqa

Most types of medicines can cause potential side effects. However, not everyone will experience them. If any of the side effects continue or become troublesome, then speak with your doctor or pharmacist. 

The most common ones for Vaniqa include:

  • acne
  • skin irritation
  • itching
  • dryness of the skin
  • redness

If side effects occur then try using it once a day for a few days to see if this helps. If it does not then speak to your pharmacist or doctor for advice. 

Contraindications to Vaniqa

Vaniqa should not be used in:

  • anyone under the age of 18
  • during pregnancy
  • while breastfeeding
  • people with allergies to any of the ingredients in the cream

The substances in Vaniqa include the following:

  • Cetostearyl alcohol
  • Macrogol cetostearyl ether
  • Dimeticone
  • Glyceryl stearate
  • Macrogol stearate
  • Methyl parahydroxybenzoate (E218)
  • Liquid paraffin
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Propyl parahydroxybenzoate (E216)
  • Purified water
  • Stearyl alcohol
  • Sodium hydroxide (E524)
Allergic reactions to medications

An itchy rash, swollen face or mouth, or difficulty in breathing, may be signs that you are allergic to the medication. 

Please note that i-GP DOES NOT TREAT Medical Emergencies. 

If you develop a sudden onset of any of the symptoms below then you must STOP the medication immediately and seek urgent medical advice. This could be from your GP, Out of Hours Service, Urgent Care Centre or NHS 111. Call an ambulance or go to A&E if the symptoms are severe.

  • Wheeze
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Swelling of the eyelids, face or lips
  • A rash particularly if affecting your entire body
Alternative treatments

Other treatments that can be used to remove unwanted facial hair include hair removal methods and oral contraceptives. 

Hair removal methods

  • shaving 
  • bleaching 
  • waxing, plucking or threading 
  • hair removal (depilatory) creams 
  • epilators (electrical hair removal devices) 
  • laser hair removal
  • electrolysis

Oral contraceptives

Some oral contraceptives may help with excess hair growth by blocking the effects of androgens (male hormones). You may discuss your suitability with your GP. 

 

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We could assess your suitability for Vaniqa and issue you a treatment plan with a prescription, if appropriate, within an hour.


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