The Vine: June 12, 2013
I've got an embarrassing problem that I'm really hoping that you and the readers may be able to advise on.
I'm a woman in my late twenties, and for years I have had a very noticeable problemswith facial hair on my chin, neck, side of face and lower cheeks (upper lip isn't a problem as I get it waxed off regularly and am not hung up about that. Also, I have unusually hairy arms etc., but I can hide that more easily so it's not such a big problem). Two years ago I went to the doctor to be checked for PCOS, but apparently don't have that.
I did a stupid thing and shaved the hair on my face off — and kept shaving it for a long time, so now when it grows back it's stubbly and feels/looks awful. I grew the hair out over the Christmas break and tried to get it waxed so it would come back finer and get rid of the stubbly look, but it didn't take – the beautician ended up plucking individual hairs out of my face for about half an hour and then had another appointment so I left in tears with a ton of hair still visible and went back to shaving it off again.
My problem is twofold: firstly I'm not sure what to do about getting rid of this unwanted hair — everyone says don't shave it off, but what do I do when I've already been shaving for so long and created the whole stubble problem? How can I keep on top of it and stop it from being visible? I am so paranoid of other people noticing this, and hate seeing signs of the hair when I'm in bright settings.
The second problem is the way I feel about the facial hair. I feel ugly and manly and freakish. I look at every woman I see and examine her face for signs of hair, and feel such jealousy for the smooth faces I see around me. I find it hard to imagine being in a relationship with a man — I feel repulsive and I worry that nobody will find me attractive with this problem, and if I did have a relationship, I wouldn't want the person I was with to touch my face and am not sure how I could avoid that. I can't let anybody touch my face because as soon as they feel the stubble they'll know. I can't spend the night with anybody because they'll see signs of the hair in the morning when I wake up. There's a man I like at the moment but when we talk I'm very self-conscious that he will notice the facial hair and I pull away from social situations when I'm feeling especially bad about my looks.
Realistically I know that not everybody is going to be examining my face for signs of hair and that nobody is going to care about my face as much as I do, but I still feel completely awful about the facial hair. And then I feel bad about feeling so awful because obviously there are worse problems that people can have, but at the moment this is hard and I'm struggling with it a lot. I don't know how to feel less bad about my facial hair, how to feel attractive when dealing with this, and what to do when navigating physical touch in personal relationships.
Any advice is appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this,
First of all, give yourself a break for obsessing over it. Not from obsessing over it, although that too, because it's exhausting, but for it. Embracing your physical quirks proudly is a great goal, but nobody hits that every day no matter what they say. Today, my plural chins will isolate me, rightly and forever, from joy. You're human and you want to be perfectly pretty. That's just normal, irrational human-being business.
Now, to the business of depilation. PCOS isn't the only reason lady hair can go rogue (in either direction — it is possible for women to have male pattern baldness thanks to slightly elevated testosterone). It's sometimes easier to address a cosmetic problem if you know for sure what is (or is not) causing it medically, so go back to the GYN and also to an endocrinologist, make it clear why you're visiting, and if either/any doctor is making you feel bad for feeling bad about the hair, go to someone else who's on the team. Life is too short to pay a doctor who judges you for not wanting a beard.
Once you've cleared everything biologically, I think you'll feel better about the hair, not having it but feeling like you have some agency in it, and that will probably help a little bit with your self-consciousness. It won't eliminate it, but just keep reminding yourself, I am working on this, and also nobody notices these things as much as I do, and also also some guys dig a little wisp action, and it's going to be okay.
If you define "okay" as "no hair no how," I don't have a ton of experience with that. (Yet. The genetic tendency towards a billy-goat in the later years is probably waiting for me. Sigh.) You may want to visit a dermatologist or a laser clinic and have a consultation about permanent removal, or maybe your GYN will think you should go on the pill and that will thin things out, or maybe you want to try a chemical depilatory like Nair for a while and see if that's a more elegant solution than shaving. (Would threading help with this at all? I'm asking.) In the short term, stick with whatever has worked for you while you research other options.
Short form: don't feel bad about feeling bad; don't stay at the mercy of the problem, but take action, which will make you feel less bad; remember that the boy of your desiring has a third nipple, or thinks his ears are hideous, or something, because everyone does; remember also that straight boys just plain do not notice a lot of shit and also God invented low lighting because S/He loves us; and let's see what the readers can suggest about fuzz control that might work for you.
Nothing wrong with going natural with that, readers, if that's your thing, but today we're looking for that clean, close (non-)shave. Hit it.
Tags: Ask The Readers health and beauty