Most questions concerning hair removal treatment can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no," and the question of hair growth inhibitors' efficacy is no different. There are many personal factors that can affect your success and treatment outcome when using growth inhibitors. There are also different types of growth inhibitors available today, and one type might produce better growth reduction for you than another. Read on to learn whether hair growth inhibitors can be effective by themselves, in conjunction with laser hair removal, or not at all!
Hair growth inhibitors are topical creams or sprays designed to interfere with hair's natural growth cycles. The goal of hair growth inhibitors is to create an overall reduction in the growth rate and thickness of new hair. Unfortunately, many hair removal patients make the mistake of confusing a hair growth inhibitor with a permanent hair removal treatment. As of now, no hair growth inhibitor on the market can achieve permanent hair removal. If you're expecting a growth inhibitor cream to make your unwanted hair vanish, you're setting yourself up for serious disappointment.
Hair growth inhibitor products use different active ingredients to achieve growth reduction. One of today's most popular hair growth inhibitors is Vaniqa® Cream. Currently the only hair growth inhibitor to have earned FDA approval, Vaniqa is a topical prescription formula that relies on the active ingredient eflornithine hydrochloride 13.9% to serve as a hair growth enzyme blocker. In Vaniqa clinical trials, about 58% of female patients confirmed a noticeable improvement in the reduction of facial hair growth. Vaniqa results were even more impressive when patients combined Vaniqa cream with laser hair removal treatments.
Other hair inhibitor products try to reduce new growth by using a "sulphur reducer" as its active ingredient. Since hair protein, or keratin, contains an abundant amount of sulphur, it's fair to assume these products can weaken or inhibit new hair as it's forming. One sulphur reducing inhibitor that's received some positive reviews is Kalo. Another buzzed about treatment is Revitol, although it is primarily a depilatory cream as opposed to a growth inhibitor.
Hair growth inhibitors can, at best, improve the hair removal results achieved with laser hair removal and other legitimate treatments. Patients should always combine hair growth inhibitors with other hair removal methods to achieve the best possible results. Used by itself, a hair growth inhibitor won't produce noticeable hair reduction. This is because the principle behind growth inhibitors is to interfere with new hair development during the initial growth phase; not to destroy or eliminate existing hair. By combining hair growth inhibitors with laser hair removal or waxing—where hair is actually removed at the root—growth inhibitors can actively weaken new hair when it first begins to grow.
Instructions for treatment usage will differ from product to product, but most hair growth inhibitors recommend applying inhibitor cream to clean skin twice a day before moisturizer and/or makeup. Be sure to verify which treatment areas (face, legs, bikini line, etc.) are approved for inhibitor product use before starting treatment. For instance, Vaniqa has only been approved to treat unwanted facial hair, whereas Kalo is reportedly safe for body hair reduction as well. Most products will require consistent application for 1-2 months before signs of reduced hair growth are noticeable.
You should be sure and discontinue hair growth inhibitor use if the product causes any adverse side effects like prolonged redness, a rash, increased skin sensitivity, pain, etc. It's rare that a hair growth inhibitor will cause serious side effects for a patient, but it's not impossible. To help avoid this, follow all treatment instructions, and don't use hair growth inhibitors if you've already developed laser hair removal side effects, be they minor or severe.
Consult with a trusted laser hair removal provider if you're considering adding a growth inhibitor to your hair removal routine. They will be able to recommend a product best suited for you, and can give you more information about using growth inhibitors in conjunction with your laser hair removal treatments! A professional hair removal provider can also inform you about potential side effects and personal risk factors that may be involved with product use.