Dear Readers:

Today's column is not for everyone, but it is a subject that causes a lot of anguish.

While you men go off to the sports or business section, I am going to devote most of this space to unwanted hair on women and the best ways to get rid of it.

This information below is from the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. (Twelve copies a year for $24 and well worth it. The address: Rochester, MN 55905.)

Cosmetic Treatment for Excess Hair:

Do you have unwanted facial and body hair? There is no single cosmetic treatment for all. When selecting a technique, consider the amount of hair you want to remove, the sensitivity of your skin, and the time and expense involved. Some options are:
• Makeup --- For some women, a heavy base of cosmetics will disguise a mild excess of facial hair.

• Bleaching --- This makes the hair less obvious; it works best for a mild "peach fuzz" on the upper lip. You can make bleach at home from 6 percent hydrogen peroxide and a few drops of ammonia. Most women prefer commercial products available at drugstores or beauty shops.

• Shaving --- This is the easiest, safest and cheapest way to remove excess hair. Most females find this method psychologically acceptable for legs and underarms, but are reluctant to shave their faces because of the masculine connotations. Remember — contrary to popular belief, shaving does not increase the rate of hair growth or make hair more coarse.

• Pumice stone --- This is an abrasive way to rub hair off your body. Your skin may become red and irritated.

• Plucking --- Use of tweezers is common for occasional long hairs, such as on the chin or around the nipples. For plucking a larger amount of hair, try wax. Many women find waxing more satisfactory than shaving, especially for facial hair. Another advantage, your skin remains smooth, with no stubble. With regular use, you may be able to go six weeks between treatments. Plucking has potential disadvantages. Occasionally, it may lead to infection in the hair follicle and cause pits or scars.

• Electrolysis --- This is the only method for permanent hair removal. The technique is effective but causes a mildly painful shock. This work is time-consuming and, therefore, expensive. Electrolysis is especially suited for removal of problem hair in a limited area. Pitting and scarring are potential complications, but both are rare if a skilled operator does the procedure. The Society of Clinical and Medical Electrologists has established a certification program of professional standards. An operator who passes a national examination becomes a certified clinical electrologist. In many (but not all) states, electrologists must be licensed. Dermatologists and other physicians who often see hirsute patients can recommend a competent electrologist.

---Ann Landers, March 3, 1988

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