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New prescription cream stops growth of female facial hair

SHARE New prescription cream stops growth of female facial hair

NEW YORK (AP) -- For women tired of excess facial hair, a convenient solution finally appears at hand.

Gillette Co., the world's biggest manufacturer of razors, and pharmaceutical maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. have developed the first prescription cream that stops the growth of facial hair in women.About one in six American women have enough facial hair that they remove it at least once a week.

Studies of Vaniqa showed it helps most women and has no major side effects, researchers say. The drug could win Food and Drug Administration approval as early as next year.

"It will take women stuck with shaving and hiding behind makeup, and make their life a lot more pleasant," said Dr. Leslie Mark, a San Diego dermatologist who tested the drug.

Vaniqa is applied to the face like a moisturizer, twice daily. It starts working after a few weeks, and must be used regularly to be effective.

Creams cause fewer side effects than other treatments, which may make Vaniqa preferable, said Dr. Ricardo Azziz, a University of Alabama-Birmingham professor and an expert on excess facial hair.

Vaniqa appears to work in men as well, but the companies are trying to prove themselves with women first.

Facial hair in women has several causes, including an excess of male hormones. Genetics can also play a role. For instance, women of Mediterranean or Hispanic descent tend to have more facial hair.

The condition, known medically as hirsutism, can damage a woman's self-esteem.