According to an article on Esquire.com, during protracted filming days, Hamm has to shave up to three times to combat five-o’clock shadow. Apparently if you were a successful man on Madison Avenue in the 1960s, being anything other than clean-shaven was unsatisfactory, and for someone with aggressive beard growth like Hamm, looking the part requires some sacrifices.
Esquire.com asked a couple of dermatologists about what shaving multiple times a day does to a person’s skin, and they said that while shaving that frequently can cause irritation and razor burn, it’s more of an annoyance than a danger. Both dermatologists also threw out the possibility of using a prescription cream designed to slow hair growth called Vaniqa.
What Is Vaniqa?
Vaniqa is a topical cream containing eflornithine hydrochloride monohydrate. Originally developed as a cancer drug by Merrell Dow on the 1970s, eflornithine wasn’t that good at treating malignancies, but researchers discovered that it was very effective at reducing hair growth and, surprisingly, treating African sleeping sickness. While treating excess hair growth involves simple topical application of the cream, an injectable form of the drug is used against sleeping sickness. Vaniqa is made by a partnership between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gillette.
Who Typically Uses Vaniqa?
Vaniqa was tested in and is marketed to women who have excessive facial hair growth. It doesn’t remove hair, but causes it to grow more slowly. Women who use Vaniqa still have to use other hair removal methods, but they should have to do so less frequently if they also use the medication. Unwanted facial hair growth in women is usually caused by excessive androgens (male hormones) or from having hair follicles that are especially sensitive to androgens. The condition may be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s syndrome, abnormal adrenal gland function, or certain medications. Sometimes there is no identifiable cause for the condition.
How Does It Work?
At the base of each hair follicle, cells undergo rapid growth and maturation to transform into hairs. Proteins known as polyamines are necessary for this process, and polyamine production requires an enzyme called ornithine decarboxylase (ODC). Vaniqa is believed to work by blocking ODC, making the growth and differentiation process of the cells at the base of the hair follicle take place more slowly. Vaniqa has to be used twice daily at intervals of 8 hours or more, and it has to remain on the skin for 8 hours before the area can be washed. Results are usually evident after about eight weeks of use.Can Men Use It?
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Vaniqa for females over age 12. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work on men, or is dangerous in men, but that studies testing the drug on men have not been submitted to the FDA, so it isn’t specifically FDA-approved for men. Some dermatologists prescribe Vaniqa “off-label” for men, however. If a man with aggressive beard growth were to use the drug regularly, he might notice slower beard growth and be able to get by with one shave per day without problems with five-o’clock shadow.
What Would Don Draper Do?
Would Don Draper use Vaniqa if Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gillette handed him a tube along with a lucrative advertising contract for Sterling Cooper & Partners? Well, considering Don Draper regularly celebrates (and consoles himself) with hard liquor in between cigarette breaks, his biggest worry might be someone finding a “girly” product in his medicine cabinet. Chances are, however, he’d be man enough to take any good-natured teasing Roger Sterling managed to dish out about it without losing his cool.
If you’re interested in treating excessive hair growth with Vaniqa, speak with a physician about the drug’s benefits, risks, and side effects. A majority of patients find Vaniqa effective, and reported side effects include acne, redness, and tingling, though studies found that only 2% of participants dropped out due to side effects.
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