What to do if your face is furry—and you’re a woman.

It happens to more women than you might think. Not quite sideburns and not just a visible mustache, but a soft fuzz all over the cheeks and chin, which increases with age. Even though the downy hairs are fair, they show up—especially when they catch the light or grab onto face powder. "One reason women start getting peach fuzz in their thirties and forties is due to a drop in estrogen, which allows testosterone to kick into high gear," says New York dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD. A razor is not an option. Or is it?

What to do depends on how much hair and how sensitive your skin. If fuzz is confined to the upper lip or chin, an at-home depilatory ($12 or under) is easy and works by chemically dissolving hairs at the surface, though even sensitive formulas might irritate skin. Threading, which plucks one strand at a time, and waxing (each about $10 to $25 per area), pull hair from the roots, so results are longer-lasting. Either method, however, can cause red bumps. Marmur’s tip for those prone to reactions: “Try applying aloe or cortisone or arnica cream 2 hours in advance and right after treatment.”

Full-face waxing is an option ($25 to $45) for all-over fuzz. Look for a salon that uses a the type of wax that’s pulled off by hand, not strips, for a less-aggressive yanking of skin, and make sure the wax is not too hot or you may leave red-faced. You can try an at-home version from Completely Bare, the waxing products line developed by Cindy Barshop (you may remember her from The Real Housewives of New York). Barshop’s “ouchless wax” is a low-temperature putty that adheres to the hair, not the skin, to minimize discomfort.

Back to the razor. In lieu of waxing, which even at its gentlest can cause trigger reactions, many women are opting for dermaplaning—one of the most in-demand treatments at the Kate Somerville Skin Clinic in Los Angeles (fans of Kate include Drew Barrymore, Jessica Alba, and Eva Mendes). As Kelly Viavattine, an aesthetician at the clinic, explains, “It’s a noninvasive method of exfoliation, using a surgical blade, that gets rid of dead, dry skin cells, rejuvenating the skin and reducing fine lines.” The process is similar to a super-close shave, she says.

Wait, shaving? Yes, but as Marmur reassures, shaving does not increase hair density. As with waxing, you’ll need to dermaplane every 3-4 weeks to stay smooth. At $60 a pop, the cost can add up. Then again, you get 2 treatments in 1: an exfoliated and fuzz-less face. Some men get that every day.

Sources:

  1. Marmur Medical
  2. Spruce & Bond
  3. Completely Bare Ouchless Stripless Wax
  4. Skin Health Experts