The most common factor contributing to an excessive growth of hair is heredity. Other factors are changes in hormonal balance from pregnancy, birth control pills, medication such as anti-depressants, possible malfunctioning of adrenal, thyroid or pituitary glands and menopause. Cortisone, and some medications used for high blood pressure and epilepsy can also affect this condition. We suggest that you first check with a doctor, dermatologist or endocrinologist to see if there is a medical reason for this problem. Of all methods of hair removal, electrolysis is most often recognized as a permanent one. You should be aware that it can be costly to treat a large area such as the upper leg as the course of treatment takes time. You pay by the time booked per visit. For example, a half hour may be approximately $20 and you would have to have regular treatments, perhaps once a week.

An esthetician can temporarily remove the hair using a warm wax method. This special wax is spread on the skin in the direction of the hair growth, allowed to dry then quickly pulled off. The hair is caught in the hardened wax and is pulled out by the roots. For some people, repeated waxing causes the hair to grow back finer or in less quantity, although this is individual and not always the case. It is better to have a professional do this but there are some home waxes available. If you do it at home, be sure to apply and remove the wax in the correct direction to avoid breaking the hair within the follicle.

Other methods of handling the problem are bleaching and using chemical depilatories. You haven’t stated which method it is that causes the rash so we suggest that you do a patch test with these methods. Follow the directions, then wait 24 hours to see if there is a reaction. If not, proceed with the whole upper leg. After using either method, be sure to rinse thoroughly and apply a moisturizing body cream or lotion.

The latest word is that a moisturizer works best when applied to a damp skin, sealing in the moisture. But skin-care instructions still use the “cleanse, tone, moisturize” system with a toner that dries quickly. If the line of products is for dry skin, often no water is used even in the cleansing stage. I am confused. (I am 43 with a T- zone combination skin that breaks out if I use too much in the way of creams.)

Perhaps you are confusing “damp” with “wet.” “Damp” refers simply to a skin that is not dried after the lotion has been applied and the moisturizer is used immediately before all traces of the lotion have a chance to evaporate. If your skin is dry immediately, it could be that there is too much alcohol in the toner or that you are not using enough of it.

Here are the steps to follow in cleansing, toning and moisturizing.

When you are cleansing your skin, tie back your hair so you can get near the hairline and well onto the neck. Wet the skin with tepid water, apply the cleanser onto the fingers and then onto the face – past the jawbone and well onto the neckline. Massage the cleanser gently, using circular motions. Following this you can use a facial sponge or a clean face- cloth to further cleanse. The slight abrasiveness of the sponge will help eliminate some of the dead skin cells on the surface. The total cleansing time should be 30 to 45 seconds. Vigorous massaging while cleansing will not make the product work any better for you. The less you irritate, pull and stretch the skin now, the better it will be in the future.

Rinse the face with 20 to 30 splashes of lukewarm water as it is running from the tap. Do not fill the basin and rinse over and over with the same dirty water. Most cleansers can be followed with a water rinse as the skin will not be totally cleaned when the cleanser is just tissued off. Pat your face with a towel, apply the toner with a pure cotton pad then apply the moisturizer over the slightly dampened skin. (Rayon cosmetic balls absorb too much of the toner.) We have found that by applying it over a dampened skin, the moisturizer spreads more easily and evenly and you do not need to use as much of the cream.

For your combination skin, apply the cream on the drier areas first and finish off on the T-zone with the last bit of your fingertips. If your T- zone has a shiny appearance in an hour or two, either this area does not need as much cream as you have applied or it requires a different moisturizer than the rest of your face.