Lips are soft parts of flesh surrounding the edge of the human mouth. Many of you probably won't find this description particularly sexy, considering these 'parts of flesh' are a sensory organ and an erogenous zone.
This might be the main reason why many women abhor any hair growth around their lips - in particular the notorious upper lip hair. It's worth mentioning that those pesky little hairs don't grow on the actual lip skin - lips are hair follicles and sweat glands free!
Hair is a long protein chain growing from the follicles located in the skin layer called the dermis. The hair growth process starts inside the follicle, and the follicular hair is the only part of the hair that is actually "alive". The part of the hair that you can see is the hair shaft, which doesn't do anything biochemically and is therefore considered "dead."
Women don't typically have hair on their faces, aside from the vellus hair, AKA peach fuzz, present on almost the entire skin. Many women choose to remove their 'upper lip hair', or more precisely, the hair above the upper lip, if they find it socially unacceptable or stigmatized. Once again, there is no actual hair growth on the lip skin, but for the sake of convenience, we will be using that term in this article, since it is a fairly common expression.
What are the Pros of Tweezing Upper Lip Hair?
Results can last up to 6 weeks: When done right, tweezing pulls out each individual hair from the hair follicle. As a result, the hair won't regrow in a relatively long time.
Tweezing is cost-effective: Tweezing of the upper lip can save you a lot of money considering all you need is a pair of tweezers.
Tweezing is precise: If there is a part of skin above your upper lip that you do not want to tweeze (like a mole for example), you can just leave it out.
What are the Cons of Tweezing Upper Lip Hair?
Tweezing can cause ingrown hairs: Ingrown hairs are accompanied by red bumps that itch and hurt and can sometimes be full of pus. Scratching and picking at these spots can cause them to get infected, change color, or leave scars.
Tweezing is slower than other hair removal methods: Tweezing involves plucking out each individual hair separately, so it is not very time-saving. For example, you might do the job much faster if you choose to wax instead of tweeze your upper lip hairs.
Pain: Tweezing can obviously be painful, especially on sensitive skin.
Should you Tweeze your Upper Lip Hair - Medical Aspect?
When used correctly, all hair removal methods are safe and there aren't even any age limits to their application. When tweezing your upper lip hair, you should make sure to clean the area that you plan to tweeze and the tweezers themselves. You should also make sure to never ever dig the hairs out.
No matter how tempting it may be to pluck that one hair that you can see right below the skin surface or that one hair with its tip peeking out, don't do it. Unless you want to end up with scarring or infected follicules. Finally, try pulling in the direction of the hair growth to prevent ingrown hairs.
Alternatives to Tweezing your Upper Lip Hair
Shaving gets rid of the hairs only at the surface level, which is why you have to repeat the process much more often—usually daily or every few days. Shaving is fast and painless, but if you shave frequently, you may develop irritation.
Just like with tweezing, you should make sure to shave in the direction of the hair growth to avoid razor bumps or burns, and rinse following each swipe.
Waxing involves the toppical application of either hot or cold wax to the area above your upper lip and then quickly removing it. The results typically last for a few weeks. If you're doing it on yourself, it might take you some practice to learn the proper technique. Your freshly waxed upper lip might get irritated or the wax itself might be too hot and burn your skin.
However, hot wax itself is not enough to disinfect the spatula, so avoid double dipping. Another safety precaution is that you should not wax your upper lip if you are on retinoids, antibiotics, tretinoin, or isotretinoin.
Laser Hair Removal
The laser works by sending out a light beam that gets absorbed by the pigment in your hair. The light energy turns into heat that destroys the hair follicles, but it takes time to see this happen.
When the follicle is destroyed, the hair doesn't grow back. It takes about 6 treatments with a dermatologist to see these results, and during that time you may notice your hair growing back thinner and finer.
If you use a laser hair removal device at home, it will take longer to achieve the same effect, and once you do, you will have to keep touching up at regular intervals.
People with light skin and dark hair get the best results from laser hair removal, but the technology generally works well on all skin types.
Will Tweezing your Upper Lip Hair Make it Thicker?
Sometimes a damaged hair follicle can regenerate and regrow hair. Researchers don't know exactly what makes this happen, but sometimes a wound (like from tweezing) can, in some cases, speed up the hair regrowth process.
A 2015 study found that tweezing hairs that grow close together (less than 6mm in diameter) in a small area may actually lead to new growth. Essentially, follicles that are close together can also work together to heal the wound and reduce the inflammation, stimulating the growth of both existing and new hairs.
Even though this study might be worth considering before deciding to tweeze your upper lip hair, you should also keep in mind that it has been done on mice, and we cannot effectively know if these findings are true in the case of humans.