December 31, 2017

I'm Still Here

My Dear Beautiful Readers,

I apologize for being absent for almost four years.  I am doing just fine, and I hope you are, too. 

It was actually quite incidental that I logged into my "Allerleirah" account after such a long time.  My overflowing inbox surprised me.  I did not expect that emails would continue to flow in from women and girls who were just starting their body hair journey, or from others interested in supporting hirsute women by sharing our stories on websites, in magazines, and on TV.  I did not expect that there would still be questions.

You are still finding my dormant blog and sending me messages, which tells me that there is still not enough support out there.  And because you are looking for someone to answer your questions and have the courage to reach out to a stranger like me, I really ought to be there for you.

So, if you never got a reply from me, I am sorry.  I hope you found your answers somewhere else.  I had to muddle through a lot of this on my own, too, and I still made it.  You're probably doing even better than I did.

And if you want to, please write me again.  I will make myself available again. Just because I feel like I have nothing new to say about hirsutism doesn't mean I shouldn't be around to say the same things as many times as is needed for others.  I can look back on my struggle from a privileged place where hirsutism is now livable, but others aren't there yet.

I will help you.

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About half the emails I received simply wanted an update on my own hairy situation, so here it is:

Medications:  Unchanged since the last post.  I’m still on 100 mg of Spironolactone a day, Diane-35, and Vaniqa.

Any new hair observations?:  Unchanged since the last post.  It has been stable for a long time thanks to the medications.  Taking the same med dose won't have increasing effectiveness over time, it will only keep things the same.

Any new side effects?:  Nothing I've noticed.  Spiro hasn't given me noticeable constipation since I started pursuing digestive health with fermented foods like kefir.  I think over time the Diane has made my eyes dry, so wearing contacts has grown more difficult.  I just use more expensive eye gel drops and wear glasses more.  My boyfriend likes me in glasses anyway, he's got a thing for librarians.  ;-)

Morning routine:  Tweezing hairs on my chin every day or so.  Sometimes I will bleach the sides of my face when I feel like I have a lot of darker blond hairs there--though they only seem to be darker in certain lights at certain angles.  It helps me feel more confident, though, so I do it.  \

Further laser treatments?:  I went in once since the videos to have a touch-up laser session, which reduced the amount of time I have to pluck back to almost nil.  My chin is the most sensitive to the hair-growing hormone, so even though the meds help, it'll never stay bare forever.  Just gotta keep going back.  Now that I'm in my thirties with a steady job, it doesn't hurt the wallet as much to shell out $120 or so to get zapped once every year or so.  Totally worth it.

*    *    *    *    *

Emotionally, I don’t have as many days where I don’t want to leave the house because my face makes me feel self-conscious.  Now and then it still happens, but you just have to accept those times and remember that tomorrow will be a better day.

I've found that my anxiety has not lessened about travel.  My heart will still freeze in my chest at the prospect of camping and I'll grasp for every excuse in the book, even though I know my hair growth is not such a factor in my reality anymore.  And I still cringe when someone tries to touch my face.

It is possible that it is still affecting my relationships, as well.  I have been dating someone for two years now, but I hold back from any kind of intimacy.  There are a few possible reasons for that, but one of them may be self-consciousness about my body.  I have begun therapy this year to investigate my romantic hang-ups.  (And because this is something that I would want to know: I told him about my hirsutism fairly early in the dating process.  He was curious but not repulsed, and impressed by how well I hid it to the point where I don't think he quite believes I'm hirsute at all.  He has only my face to go by, of course.)

Part of the reason I am not so focused on hirsutism anymore is because I have a new problem: migraines.  I used to get a couple per year, but in the past few years I have begun getting one to three each month that last a few days each, not including the postdome.  I lose a lot of work time and a lot of family time, which gives me a lot of stress.  My new focus is finding a migraine remedy that works for me.  One of the things I’m trying right now is massage, something that as a hirsute person I never thought I would do.  It helps to approach it as a medical treatment and not as a decadent treat.  And if you got the kind of massages I get, you wouldn't think of it as relaxing at all.

So, that's how I'm doing. If I failed to answer something you've been wondering, please leave it in the comments, and email me with any questions, concerns, requests... I'm here for you again.

January 28, 2014

Where IS My Razor These Days?

Can you believe it’s been almost two months since I’ve shaved?

I can’t.

With the holidays being such an awkward and busy time this year--and I wasn't at home with my usual mirror and it's advantageous lighting--it was a great relief to never touch my razor.  Even my legs and underarms are all lush and untamed, which is fairly easy to do when you live in a cold climate where most of your body is covered all of the time.  I’ve even stopped putting my razor and shave gel in the shower.  It was just pleasant to take a holiday from that chore when there was so much else to do, and since then I haven’t seen the need to go back to it.

It is rather unusual to feel the wind in your leg hair when you walk on the treadmill in shorts or capris, however.  Can’t remember the last time I’ve felt that.  Took me a few days to even figure out what the sensation was.

The hair on my face has now evened out, so that the places I used to shave are the same length as the vellum hair that grows on my cheeks.  No more of that “mowed lawn” look on the jaws and chin.  I’m still trying to get used to having hair there at all.  It is hard to remember what is “average” when you spend so much of your life being paranoid about any hair showing at all in those areas. 

I bought a box of Jolen hair bleach for the first time in... oh, ages... just to take care of the hairs on the sides of my face that are a darker sort of blond, but only at certain angles and thus are hard to catch to pluck.  And because I’m bleaching hair that is not too dark or coarse to begin with, I don’t have to keep it on as long or reapply it the next day because the new growth is easy to see.  It seems so strange to go back to that old routine of measuring out one part accelerator powder to two parts cream, mixing it on that tiny palette and spreading it over the hair.  Seeing that thick white concoction sitting there on my face so plainly reminded me of how shocking my beard used to be to me, and how worried I used to be about anyone seeing it or whatever method I was using to hide it. 

And now it’s manageable enough that it feels like it’s gone.  Now when some dude jokes, "I haven't shaved in, like, two days and you can't even tell!" I shout, "Me too!"  I have to keep checking every morning and every night to make sure it’s still real.  And then I apply some miraculous Vaniqa cream (of which I am just starting a new bottle, worth every penny) and go to bed knowing that getting ready in the morning will be so effortless and devoid of emotional agony.

Just goes to show you, you should try everything you safely can to make life that little bit easier for you.  It really does make a difference.

I’ll be crossing the ocean soon, so you likely won’t hear from me for some time... not that that’s anything new these days!  Keep well, my dears.

December 11, 2013

Vaniqa Update

I started Vaniqa about 12 weeks ago, and since my last update, I’ve been slowly plucking out the coarse hairs--dark and blond--from my chin and throat.  I started with the sides of my chin out of sheer curiosity: what was it like to pluck and use Vaniqa?  Besides, those are the worst parts for me, because that’s where most of the ingrown hairs from shaving and the bumps from the Vaniqa were happening. 

And then I noticed that I wasn’t having to go back over the area with the tweezers the next day.  It was great!  So gradually I plucked another area, and another, and another. 

I was still going over everything lightly with the razor each morning to get any strays, most of them under my chin--blond and hard to see to pluck.  However, a couple of weeks ago, I realized I really didn’t need to do it.  That slight scratch of stubble I felt in the morning was deceptive; it was either blond hair that I couldn’t see (and so it was unlikely anyone else could), or simple dry skin.  And so I stopped shaving, and haven’t put a razor to my face since.

I still go over my face every morning to check for hair to pluck, and might find a couple, but if its not dark or extremely coarse, I try to leave it be.  In the right light, you can still see the difference between the sides of my face that I have let grow out with peach fuzz, and my chin where I was shaving.  With the Vaniqa I doubt it will even out anytime soon, but in the meantime I am supremely content with my results right now.  And I'm still on my first bottle.

A little while ago I booked my first trans-oceanic flight since adolescence--since before my hirsutism fully presented.  I agonized over how I was going to approach an overnight flight, beard-wise.  I could have switched my schedule back to shaving at night so that I could shave right before the flight and then my face would probably be okay for the next day when I arrived.  But then I’d have to shave every night on the trip, and I don’t know about you, but I have a strong compulsion to look my best when I travel.  So I had decided I was going to shave on the flight and pray for no turbulence while I was doing it.  But now seeing Vaniqa in action, its taken such a load off my mind.  I won’t have to shave at all during the flight, or worry about it the day I land.  And if I have a particularly rushed morning, I know I can skip obsessing over my face and just go have fun.  I am looking forward to my trip even more, now!

November 13, 2013

Calling All UK Readers!

Calling All UK Readers!

I have been contacted by an assistant producer of a new tv program featuring single people with medical conditions that affect their love lives.  They are looking for a single lady in the UK suffering from hirsutism with the intent of raising awareness of how conditions like hirsutism affect one's confidence, as well as showing her dating life in a positive light.

Have a look at the company's website:

If you are interested in discussing this opportunity with them, send me an email ( ) and I will send you the appropriate contact information.

(Please note that I am not involved in any way other than sharing this information, so I am not responsible for any outcomes, positive or negative, that may result from pursuing this information.)

October 29, 2013

Product: Tend Skin Liquid

If I remember correctly, I first heard of this liquid through longtime reader Sophie.  The web site told me it reduced ingrown hairs, razor bumps, and redness.  It was exciting to think there was a product like this, but back then, the only way I could get it was either ordering it online, or going into Sephora, the most intimidating cosmetic store in Canada.  (To put that in its proper context, I go to Walmart or drugstores for my cosmetics.  I'm easily intimidated.)  To be honest, Tend Skin’s claim that it solved common hair removal complaints sounded too good to be true, so even when I crossed Sephora’s threshold for the first time in my life, I never actually bought it.

Then a few years later, I finally saw it in a drugstore.  If the product had made it out of specialty shops at last, perhaps now was the time to give it a chance.  What kinda sucks about reviewing products how is that my facial hair is much less coarse, much less dark, much... less.  It's hard to me to gauge the way the product would have worked on my original beard anymore.

...Is my lesser beard making me irrelevant?

Tend Skin Liquid, 188 mL / 4 oz (also available in 8 oz and 16 oz, as well as refillable roll-on)

  • Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol), Butylene Glycol, Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin), Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Diglycerin, Polysorbate 80.

Things I liked:
  • I noticed much less ingrown hairs when used on face, underarms, and thighs--particularly the latter two.  It’s even better than Bikini-Zone for such prevention, which made it invaluable in summer.
  • A little goes a long way.  One quick turnover onto a cotton swab would cover my entire beard area or underarms.

Things I didn't like:
  • It’s an astringent, so it stings.  Probably worse than the styptic pencil, but for a shorter period of time.  At least you know it’s working.
  • Because it’s alcohol based, I know it’s drying out my skin.  This needed to be counteracted with generous moisturizing.
  • You have to be SO careful not to get it on mucosal body parts, especially when using it near the bikini line.  Seriously.  Don’t ever do that.  Ever.
  • $20 CAD is a bit steep, but if it works well for you, it may be worth it.

Did it do what it promised?
  • “When applied regularly, Tend Skin® Liquid effectively reduces appearance of unsightly razor bumps...” 
I can’t say for certain if my razor bumps improved on my face, mostly because my face has been doing better and better with reduced amounts of hair, thanks to laser hair removal.  But they did improve in other shaved regions.
  • “...reduce appearance of existing ingrown hairs without tweezing...”
Though I mostly used this preventatively and noticed much less irritation, especially on my thighs and underarms, I did use it a couple of times after ingrown hairs appeared and it does reduce them retroactively too.
  • “...reduce appearance of the noticeable redness that appears on the skin after shaving...”
Inconclusive.  My face is sensitive and gets red at the slightest touch or temperature change, so I found the astringent properties of Tend Skin added to the redness after shaving, though it went away quickly.

I wish I’d known it’s now suggested for use after laser hair removal to reduce redness and bumps.  I had chosen to suspend its use after my sessions because my skin had already sustained such abuse, the last thing I wanted was to put a stinging, drying liquid on it.

In summary, I’d recommend trying it.  I wish I’d tried it when shaving was harder on my face, so I would know if it would have helped me back then, but it was great for keeping my thighs and underarms more comfortable.  You may find it a little too harsh and unpleasant, or you may find it works great for you.  I’m glad to have it within reach for those times when shaving just isn’t going well and needs and my skin needs an intervention.  (And if you can’t try it, some people say you can make your own!  Some of the recipes include Witch Hazel, which is probably a lot nicer for you than some of the ingredients in Tend.) 

Note: pregnant women and those with aspirin allergies should not use this product, and for everyone else, please try a test area before using.

What other people thought of Tend Skin liquid:

Have you used Tend Skin?  Do you have a positive or negative story to tell?  Leave it in the comments!