Vaniqa (pronounced “VAN-i-ka”) is a brand name prescription cream applied to the skin for the reduction of unwanted facial hair in women ages 12 and older. For unknown reasons, Vaniqa does not work for everyone.

You’ll have to get a prescription from your doctor. Some insurance policies do not cover Vaniqa.

Effectiveness: About 58% of women who tried Vaniqa in clinical trials had improvement. The other 42% had no improvement.

This medication is not a depilatory, but rather appears to retard hair growth to improve the condition and the appearance of some consumers. You will likely need to continue using a hair removal method (e.g., shaving, plucking) in conjunction with Vaniqa. It will usually take 2 months of treatment before you see if it works or not. If you stop taking Vaniqa, your hair may come back to previous levels within 2 months after stopping.

The active ingredient in Vaniqa is eflornithine hydrochloride. It inhibits an enzyme that affects hair growth, called ornithine decarboxylase (ODC). Clinical data indicates that taking an oral version of the drug can affect hair growth.

Vaniqa should not be used:

By men. It has not been tested on males.

By women who are pregnant or nursing, because Vaniqa has not been tested to see if it causes birth defects and miscarriages in humans

By females under age 12.

Anywhere except on the face and chin.

In the eyes, nose, mouth, or vagina.

If you have severe acne or broken skin.

Next: > Background and clinical data on eflornithine hydrochloride