Obviously if a major endocrine or hormonal disorder has been found, this may be corrected, possibly by surgery. If drugs are thought to be responsible, then on cessation of drug-taking the hair will disappear. Some minor hormonal causes may be treatable with a new male hormone antagonist called cyproterone acetate, or with a combination of dexamethasone to suppress the adrenals, and oestrogens to suppress the ovaries.
Failing this, and this will include about 95 per cent of cases, various physical procedures can be tried. Mild cases can be satisfactorily masked by simply bleaching dark hair with hydrogen peroxide. Depilatory creams, usually containing thioglycolates, are also reasonably effective in dissolving hair.
Various cosmetic waxes, which are applied warm as a liquid and then allowed to harden before being peeled off, may be used to remove the hair which has stuck to the wax. Although this method is somewhat painful, it has the advantage that because the hair is removed at a lower level, it regrows more slowly, and with a naturally pointed tip; hence the bristly feel of hair cut at an angle by shaving, is avoided. Shaving is very effective but is strongly resisted by most women, often because of the rough feel of emerging hair and the masculine association. The belief that these procedures may encourage more rapid, coarser, or darker regrowth of hair must be strongly refuted. There is absolutely no evidence, in spite of careful investigation, to confirm this mistaken belief. Depilatron treatment, using tweezers to hold the hair whilst a small electric current is applied, does nothing but burn the hair at the point of contact. As a result it very quickly regrows from that point. Electrolysis, or diathermy, in the hands of an expert is useful. Here a needle is inserted into the follicle, hopefully destroying the hair matrix without scarring the skin. Obviously, only a certain number of hairs can be treated at one time, and the procedure is not painless. The problem with this mode of treatment is that too weak a current will not completely dislodge the hair, whereas too strong a current can result in scarring; furthermore several treatments are usually required to permanently damage the follicle sufficiently to prevent hair regrowth. It is indeed wishful thinking or deceptive advertising to promise single treatment, permanent hair removal.