Excessive amounts of hair on the face or body is a medical condition referred to as hirsutism. While the condition affects both genders, women are more prone to hirsutism. Women with hirsutism have excessive hair on the face, chest, abdomen and back.
Hirsutism is primarily caused by high levels of androgens or male hormones. Aside from hirsutism, high levels of androgens can cause pimples, erratic periods, a deep voice and high muscle mass. There are cases of hirsutism wherein the condition is worsened by hair follicles overreacting even when there is only a small amount of androgen present.
Some medications such as birth control pills, hormone therapy drugs and anabolic steroids are also believed to cause temporary hirsutism. When use of these medications is discontinued, the hirsutism goes away too.
Hirsutism is also thought to be hereditary and can be seen in more than one generation of women in the same family. Hirsutism, however, is not the same thing as hypertrichosis, which causes the hair to grow on the body where hair is not usually found.
Some tips on dealing with hirsutism:
- Obesity can cause the production of androgen in women. So if your weight is going up, it is best that you see a doctor and start an exercise and diet plan. Androgen levels typically go down as weight goes down. However, make sure that you lose weight properly. You can complement your exercise and diet plan with a shaving routine.
- Hair removing lotions and creams (called depilatories) also work to remove excess hair. Perform a skin patch test before using depilatories to make sure you are not allergic or sensitive to them. Place a small amount on the wrist and wait one day to see how your skin reacts to the chemicals.
- You can also make darker hair less visible by bleaching it. However, make sure to test the product out on a small area of skin to make sure that it is safe for you to use it.
- Do not use tweezers or wax to remove the hair. Doing so will cause the hair to grow due to increased blood circulation.
- Many individuals try electrolysis, which is a hair removal procedure that kills follicles by electric shock. Laser hair removal treatments are also another way of getting rid of excess hair. This procedure involves aiming a tiny laser beam to the follicle to kill it. This makes the hair fall out and not grow back. Electrolysis and laser treatments can be costly. Some of the side effects of these hair removal treatments include rashes, scarring and skin discoloration. There are home electrolysis kits available in the market, but they are usually not effective at removing unwanted body hair. These procedures are best performed by licensed professionals.
- Anti-androgen medications can be prescribed in order to lower the androgen levels in the body. However, these medications will not completely cure hirsutism. The best they could do is slow down the rate of new hair growth.