Prescription Hair Removal

Bane of a Woman's Existence

For some, facial hair is the bane of a woman's existence. You can't shave it or you'll have stubble, but you certainly can't leave it there; what a turn-off! Now there's another alternative for getting rid of unwanted facial hair, a prescription cream called Vaniqa.

Pronounced VAN-i-ka, the cream may reduce facial hair in women aged 12 and up, but it doesn't work for everyone, and insurance doesn't always provide coverage for this medication. Published data suggests that the preparation may be most effective in post-menopausal women and 58 percent of those using the cream noticed a marked improvement in appearance.

Not a Depilatory

Vaniqa isn't a depilatory, rather, it acts to retard hair growth. You'll need to continue using your usual methods of hair removal while using Vaniqa and it can take two months for marked improvement to be shown. If you stop using the cream, your hair will revert to its usual growth patterns within two months.

Vaniqa is the first topical preparation to come out of research that shows that hair growth cells and cancer cells share certain characteristics related to rapid division. The hair loss experienced as a result of chemotherapy or radiation is related to this same kind of disruption in cellular activity. A hypothesis exists that some cancer drugs may be used to induce controlled hair loss or reduction. The active ingredient in Vaniqa is eflornithine hydrochloride which has antitumor properties.

An interesting application of the drug has been seen in its effectiveness against African "sleeping sickness," sometimes causing a rapid and total recovery in comatose patients, many of whom suffered from hair loss as a side effect of the treatment.

One of the more interesting phenomena arising from clinical studies on Vaniqa is the striking number of women who showed a placebo effect. Over two thirds of the 201 patients in clinical trials who used a cream not containing the active ingredient were said by physicians to have improved hair reduction. This significant number of false positives has some important implications for consumers seeking effective hair removal techniques. It may be too early to judge the effectiveness of the product, which may be more of a mind over matter technique than a valid hair removal commodity. The remarkable placebo effect observed in the study also tells us to beware of media hype relating to other hair removal techniques, which may be a mere form of quackery.

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