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facial hair (unwanted) and retin a
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radiance



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:28 am    Post subject: facial hair (unwanted) and retin a Reply with quote

I had been using Retin A 0.05% on the less sensitive areas on my face for about two weeks (correctly; a pea-sized amount, every second night on dry skin) before I noticed a not insubstantial amount of facial hair growing on my chin and other areas of my face. I'm not completely hirsute, but still... I remember reading at some point (in reputable literature) that stimulation of facial hair growth is a side effect of Retin A usage but cannot find any mention of this online now on any web sites at all. And I have been looking on the appropriate sites such as the FDA site, etc.

I am 36 and fair skinned and over the last few years have noticed thickish hairs growing from a few moles I have on my face, which I pluck. The amount of hair, rate of growth, etc. had all seemed very normal and only a minor inconvenience. What I don't know now though is if the Retin A has actually stimulated the growth of more facial hair (outside of the mole areas) or if my paranoia about growing extra facial hair just suddenly made me look more closely at my skin and notice hairs that were already there. The hair I have just noticed is blonde and fine. (The moles grow both thick, black and just longer than normal blonde hairs.) My questions, please, kindly, Dr Todorov are these:

1. Is there documented evidence of Retin A/tretinoin stimulating facial hair growth?
2. If Retin A can, in some people, stimulate facial hair growth, would the hair be stimulated only in the areas that the cream has been applied or might it engender a growth spurt across the face?
3. Can the growth of facial hair be retarded? How?
4. What on earth can I do to remove this extra facial hair I have, however I have developed it (I'm terrified of ending up with stubble but figure there are no ways of removing facial hair without getting regrowth/stubble outside of electrolysis. I am wary about electrolysis for the face. Isn't there room for mistakes/various bad reactions)?
5. Finally, is there any safe way of combining Retin A usage and a hair removal technique?

Thanks very, very much in advance and thankyou for your terrific website.
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Jouke



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 86
Location: The Netherlands

PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interested question.....I have been usin retin A for about three years....and I also have blond facial hairs. However, I'm not sure whether it's more than before I started wit retin A.
It's not obvious from a distant, but you can see it clearly when you are close and when the light shines on my face.
So I used to use the Braun Soft Épil to remove them, but my skin is acne prone and it causes pimples at my chin and cheeks.
So I recently decided not to use the Soft Épil any more. However.....now I have to face this facial hair.......which I hate!!
So I hope somebody has a good tip for facial hair removal (exept from shaving and tools like the Soft Épil)

Thanks, Jouke
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jones10021



Joined: 27 Feb 2008
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't you wax it or use tweezers? I wax my upper lip and tweeze some of the hairs from my chin.
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Eleonora



Joined: 18 Mar 2008
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try laser hair removal. It's pricey, but gives you a permanent results. Worked for me.
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radiance



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

okay, i take from the fact that neither the good doctor, nor orange nor james have responded regarding my query about the association between tretinoin and facial hair, that mine is an unfounded concern.

but just double checking: does anyone know anything about a link between the use of products such as retin a and the stimulation of facial hair (or, for that matter, about a link between the topical application of vitamin c/ L-ascorbic acid and stimulation of facial hair?)

i'm just trying to work out the causes for the sudden growth of facial hair, mostly on my chin... i use no other products other than retin a, the DIY C serum and sunscreen.

i've also wondered mildly whether application of sunscreen every day could somehow cause light/ vitamin D-deprived skin to put out hairs as a way of accessing more sunlight. i know, this sounds like a crazy theory, but it's just one of those speculations those with limited training in biological science make...
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radiance



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sigh! is there any chance of doctor todorov just giving a yes or no answer - one word! - as to whether he knows of any research finding a link between the topical application of tretinoin/retin a and an increase in the growth of facial hair? should the good doctor not want to respond, maybe there is someone else out there appropriately qualified or informed who might be able to give me an answer to this one? thanks so much.
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drtodorov
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 3056

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is uncommon that retin A (tretinoin ) alone would induce facial hair growth. However, tretinoin has been used is some hair growth formulations, usually in combination with minoxidil. Generally, it is believed to potentiate the effects of minoxidil, but even that has not been shown consistently. Still, it apparently may occasionally produce some hair growth promoting effects.

----------------

Am J Clin Dermatol. 2007;8(5):285-90.

Efficacy of 5% minoxidil versus combined 5% minoxidil and 0.01% tretinoin for male pattern hair loss: a randomized, double-blind, comparative clinical trial.

Shin HS, Won CH, Lee SH, Kwon OS, Kim KH, Eun HC.

Department of Dermatology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, and Seoul National University Boramae Hospital, Seoul, Korea.

BACKGROUND: 5% topical minoxidil solution has been widely used to stimulate new hair growth and help stop hair loss in men with androgenetic alopecia (AGA). However, it is not convenient for patients to continue applying the solution twice daily on a regular basis. Tretinoin is known to increase the percutaneous absorption of minoxidil and, therefore, to enhance the response of AGA to minoxidil. For this reason, it was assumed that tretinoin would be helpful in alleviating the inconvenience associated with the recommended twice-daily application of minoxidil. OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy and safety of therapy using a combined solution of 5% minoxidil and 0.01% tretinoin once daily with those of the conventional 5% topical minoxidil therapy applied twice daily in the treatment of AGA. METHODS: A total of 31 male patients (aged 28-45 years, mean 39.7+/-4.5) with AGA (Hamilton-Norwood classification type III-V) were randomly assigned into two groups, one in which 5% minoxidil was applied to the scalp twice daily and the other in which the combined agent was applied once daily at night together with a vehicle placebo in the morning. The efficacy parameters were: (i) changes in total hair count, non-vellus hair count, anagen hair ratio, linear hair growth rate, and mean hair diameter assessed by macrophotographic image analysis; and (ii) the patient's and investigator's subjective assessments. RESULTS: After therapy, increases in the macrophotographic variables of total hair count and non-vellus hair count were shown in both treatment groups. There were no statistically significant differences between the two treatment groups with respect to changes in macrophotographic variables or scores on subjective global assessments by patients and the investigator. The incidence of adverse effects such as pruritus or local irritation was similar in the 5% minoxidil group (4 of 14 subjects) and the combined agent group (5 of 15 subjects). CONCLUSION: The efficacy and safety of combined 5% minoxidil and 0.01% tretinoin once-daily therapy appear to be equivalent to those of conventional 5% minoxidil twice-daily therapy for the treatment of AGA.

----------------------------

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1986 Oct;15(4 Pt 2):880-3, 890-3.

Topical tretinoin for hair growth promotion.

Bazzano GS, Terezakis N, Galen W.

Topical all-trans-retinoic acid (tretinoin) alone and in combination with 0.5% minoxidil has been tested for the promotion of hair growth in 56 subjects with androgenetic alopecia. After 1 year, the combination of topical tretinoin with 0.5% minoxidil resulted in terminal hair regrowth in 66% of the subjects studied. Tretinoin was shown to stimulate some hair regrowth in approximately 58% of the subjects studied. One female subject with pronounced alopecia for more than 20 years had regrowth of hair using only tretinoin for a period of 18 months. Tretinoin has been shown to promote and regulate cell proliferation and differentiation in the epithelium and may promote vascular proliferation. These factors are important for hair growth promotion. These preliminary results indicate that more work should be done on the role of retinoids in hair growth. The synergistic effect of retinoids in combination with a low concentration of minoxidil should also be further investigated.
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radiance



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks so much for responding, dr todorov. i think one thing will help clarify whether my facial hair growth is related to retin a or not. i have not been using retin a on my chin and yet this is where i am seeing the greatest proliferation of hair (although these fine blonde hairs have sprung up elsewhere; like on my forehead!). is it that likely that, were retin a to be stimulating hair growth in my case, it would encourage growth only in those areas i had applied it? or is it possible it could stimulate growth in areas outside of the areas it had been applied?
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drtodorov
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 3056

PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you applied retin A elsewhere on the face it could have been inadvertently spread in some amounts to the chin. But, of course, it is also possible that something else is the cause.
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radiance



Joined: 18 Apr 2008
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it's all a bit disappointing; the one product that is proven to have anti-aging benefits might just also, in some cases, cause you to develop a hairy face ! when you decide to use it, you're taking a big gamble. sure, it might only have this effect in a very limited number of people but you're not going to know if you're one of the unlucky ones unless you try it. i think this is something that needs to be mentioned in the context of any recommendations of tretinoin...

would the use of depilitory creams be at all compatible with retin a? if one would have to be cautious, how should one proceed or balance use of both products?
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delta



Joined: 22 Feb 2008
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use Renova and have also noticed lots of fine longish blonde hairs on my face. I thought it was caused by the Spironolactone that I have been on for the past year and never even considered it could be the renova. I wonder if it goes away when you stop using it?
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drtodorov
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 3056

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While a remote possibility exists, as far as actual studies go, especially newer ones (which tend to be better designed), we can't say that there is clear evidence that tretinoin alone induces facial hair growth, even infrequently.
The issues deserves further study thou.
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activate



Joined: 10 May 2009
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 1:31 am    Post subject: Facial hair increased by Retin A Reply with quote

Hi,

I know that this is an old thread, but I have read it with interest. Short background- I have been using Retin A for about 6 months. My skin looks great! I did go through a period where my skin was sensitive and would sting easily eg from sweat during exercise or if i touched my face with any strong substance on my hands such as after chopping chilli or using house cleaning products. This appears to have gone away.

However I have recently noticed that my existing fine dark facial hair seems to have got thicker and more profuse. It grows on the sides of my face. I have always had some amount of not very obvious fine dark facial hair but have grown to accept it and have never tried to remove it. This recent development however, at the age of 31 is disconcerting. I do wonder if it is due to my increased attention to my skin of late or due to the Retin A stimulating the blood supply to the skin cells. Particularly as i had existing hair there.

So today, after searching google during some free time, i was interested to find this thread. I will endeavour to ask my trusted and close friends if they have noticed a difference in the past 6 months. If so, I will stop the Retin A and report back to this thread.
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orangehrzn



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
Posts: 1044

PostPosted: Sun May 10, 2009 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are male, thickening of facial hair (outside the beard zone) with aging is normal.

If you are female, take a look at your mother, it could be genetics. Some women do develop slight facial hair.

Retin A is not necessarily the reason. It exfoliates the outer layer of skin and is used mainly as penetration enhancer for minoxidyl which is the real hair stimulator.
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Jouke



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 86
Location: The Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been using retin-A for about five years and ended up with more and longer facial hair than ever.
I am female and very fair so it wasn't to obvious, but it did show when the sun was shining on my face or when you're near by.
Now I have stopped using it since November last year (for other reasons) and my facial hair grow has diminished yet.

However, when you are female and your facial hair is just very thin, you can shave it off with a razor with great results, your skin will be baby soft! Without stubbles!
So I still shave now and then, but not as much as before.

HTH
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