Emmy Graber Aug 6, 2015

Here at MDC, we would love to think that we have all the answers for you. However, there are certain issues that require the insight of a pro. Today we asked Boston-based dermatologist Emmy Graber to give us tips on how to remove facial hair the right way.

The good news: There are many ways to remove unwanted facial hair. The bad news: It hurts! And besides that, you can get skin irritation from hair removal that leaves your face looking red, flaky, dry or even raw! Read on to find out how to remove facial hair without damaging your skin!

The Right Way to Remove Facial Hair

Tweezing and Shaving

These are probably the most common methods of removing facial hair, but they aren’t without their flaws.  Both of these methods can result in in-grown hairs that can leave painful, red bumps under the skin.  When hair regrows after plucking or waxing, it may grow in a way that curves back into the skin.  This leaves the skin looking and feeling bumpy.  If you are prone to ingrown hairs, I suggest avoiding tweezing altogether. And, when shaving, avoid a close shave.  Try to leave a bit of stubble behind to prevent ingrown hairs. Get the ins and outs of face shaving here.

Whatever you do, do not exfoliate or apply any fragrance-infused creams or serums to the face after you’ve tweezed or shaved. This can perpetuate redness and cause irritation.

Depilatory Creams and Waxing

Depilatory creams (i.e. creams that remove hair without the use of a razor or shaving tool) and waxing, involve applying something to the skin that can irritate it.  If the cream is left on for too long, one risks getting a chemical burn. The same is true for waxing. If the wax is too hot, you can wind up burning your skin and possibly leaving a scar.

If using a depilatory cream, make sure you don’t leave it on the skin for too long and follow the instructions on the product packaging. If going the waxing route, test the wax on your wrist and make sure it’s at a warm temperature to avoid scalding the skin. To cover your bases, try opting for a cold wax (often known as sugaring). This can be a messier alternative, but it’s gentler on the skin than depilatory creams and hot waxes. Also, some prescription acne creams and pills can make your skin more susceptible to burning from a depilatory cream or wax.  Be sure to ask your dermatologist if it is ok to remove hair while on your acne medication.


Threading is a great way to remove hair without skin irritation.  This is safe for those who are prone to in-grown hairs or for those who want to avoid burns from waxing or depilatory creams.  However, this is not a do-it-yourself treatment.  You need to visit a salon where there is a technician skilled at threading.


Laser treatments are a great way to permanently remove hair.  However, if done improperly, the skin can become burnt or even scarred.  Take the same approach as threading and have your treatment done by a physician who is trained in laser hair removal. 

Need more skincare advice? Check out our other skincare tips and tricks! 

Photo: thinkstock



About the Author:Dr. Graber is a Boston-based dermatologist specializing in acne, acne scars and cosmetic dermatology.

Let's Stay in Touch

Get our top stories straight to your inbox!