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What is eflornithine?

Cream that temporarily slows hair growth.

It's also known as Vaniqa.

What does eflornithine do?

Who can have eflornithine?

  • Under 18s cannot have this

  • You cannot have this if you are pregnant, or might become pregnant

How long does eflornithine last?

Eflornithine only works while being regularly applied and stops working within weeks if application is stopped. The cream may take up to 24 weeks to reach its maximum effect.

Why might I want to use eflornithine?

You might use it as a temporary alternative measure for managing facial hair while you are waiting to access more permanent approaches, such as laser hair reduction or electrolysis hair removal 1. This might be useful if:

  • you cannot afford to pay for permanent approaches yet, and there is no funding for it in your area
  • you are delaying permanent approaches until you are prescribed GnRH agonists or other anti-androgens so that a better result can be achieved

You may also choose to use eflornithine because you do not wish to make a permanent change to your body but would like less hair regrowth after shaving.

Why might I not want to use eflornithine?

If you have very light coloured facial hair or minimal facial hair growth, and shaving is effective at reducing the visibility of your facial hair, eflornithine might be unnecessary.

Eflornithine appears to only be effective for some people, and a significant proportion of people stop using Eflornithine because they see little or no effect from eflornithine 2.

How do I get eflornithine?

Eflornithine is only available in the UK by prescription 2.

How do I use eflornithine?

Eflornithine is a cream, applied to an area of the body twice a day, at least eight hours apart. Eflornithine takes up to eight weeks to work, and the original rate of hair growth resumes within eight weeks of stopping eflornithine.

Where can I learn more?

You can read more about eflornithine cream on the EMC website.

How does it work?

Eflornithine inhibits an enzyme (ornithine decarboxylase) that is part of the process of hair growth 3, p.165.


  1. 1.
    National Gender Identity Clinical Network Scotland (2020) “Facial Hair Removal for Transgender Patients.” Link
  2. 2.
    Electronic Medicines Compendium (2017) “Vaniqa 11.5% cream.” Link
  3. 3.
    Seal, Leighton J (2007) “The practical management of hormonal treatment in adults with gender dysphoria,” in Barrett, J. (ed.), Transsexual and other disorders of gender identity: A practical guide to management, Radcliffe Publishing, pp. 157–190. Link

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