Facial hair is an issue for women all over the world. Facial hair in women is something natural and normal but the problems usually begin when the facial hair becomes too dark and more visible. Recent research has shown that approximately 22 percent of the American and European women remove the unwanted one. The excessive facial hair in women can have many causes, polycystic ovary syndrome for instance or it can be simply a side effect of aging. Growth can be very concerning for a woman, making her feel less confident and unfeminine, but you should know that you are not the only one with this problem. All women and men have it but some just have darker hair than the others.
Excessive facial hair in women often appears during puberty and becomes more prolific as you age. For some women the facial hair can range from a few dark hairs on the chin and a moustache, while the others may experience “a full bread”. The most common areas where unwanted facial hair appears include: on the upper lip, on the chin, on jaw cheeks, on the neck area. The color and the thickness of the hair usually depends on the genes – some have thin and fine facial hair, while the others have darker and denser facial hair.
You should never feel embarrassed and uncomfortable about your facial hair, never. You are not the only one with this problem. This is a symptom rather than a disease and may be a sign of a more serious medical problem. This can have many causes from puberty to polycystic ovary syndrome.
- hormonal imbalance
- some medications
- overproduction of male hormones (androgens)
- polycystic ovary syndrome
- cushing’s syndrome
Menopause is one of the common causes in women.Once you reach 45/ 50 your body begins to change dramatically – deeper wrinkles appear, the hair begins to thinner, the body begins to produce more male hormones (androgens). Before and during menopause the ovaries don’t ovulate regularly and the estrogen levels drop which usually leads to an increase in the number of terminal hair.
The most common cause in women is hirsutism – a medical condition in which the body begins to produce more male hormones which leads to excessive hair growth all over the body and on the face. The symptoms of hirsutism include: thick, dark hairs on chin, on the upper lips, around the nipples, on the cheeks and on the abdomen. Hirsutism often runs in families and shows itself during puberty and menopause. The symptoms of hirsutism often get worse gradually with age if not treated properly.
Excessive facial hair in women can be hereditary (in 22 percent of the cases). This simply means that if your mother or father, your grandparents have it you are more likely to have it too. Unfortunately if the facial hair is due to genetics there is nothing you can do. You cannot change your genes.
Puberty may cause facial hair in women due to the dramatic changes in hormones in a woman’s body during puberty. Before puberty the hair is usually fine and thin (vellus hair type) but once you reach puberty your hormones as well as your hair begins to change – from thin and fine to a terminal hair. In other words the invisible hair (type vellus) that covers all your body and face becomes more visible (terminal hair).
In most of the cases the excessive growth of facial hair in women is due to hormonal changes – overproduction of male hormones called androgens. In other words the hair follicles begin to produce mostly terminal type of hair. Every woman produce both male and female hormones (androgens and estrogens), but as you age the body begins to produce more androgens which often cause an increase in facial hair and hirsutism.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common cause of facial hair in women. It is a disorder (metabolic and hormonal) that causes excessive hair growth in women, weight gain, fertility problems and even acne and an estimated 60 percent of the patients with this syndrome experience an increase in facial hair. Fortunately polycystic ovary syndrome can be successfully treated with medications. If the facial hair is due to polycystic ovary syndrome it will show up on the upper lip and on the chin.
The growth in women can also be caused by some medications, drugs and substances. These include: selegiline, atapryl, carbex, eldepryl, L-deprenyl, anabolic steroids, monoxidil, cyclosporine, phenytoin, prednisone, DHEA, testosterone, danazol.
Another common cause of facial hair in both men and women is Cushing’s syndrome due to the excessive cortisol production. As a result the hair becomes thicker, darker, coarser and more visible.
- Birth control pills are commonly used to treat it. They slow down the production of the male hormones (androgens) that often lead to excessive hair growth.
- Spironolactone (also known as Aldactone) is used to treat excessive hair growth because it blocks the effect of androgens on the hair follicles. Spironolactone binds to cell androgen receptors and blocks them from binding to naturally produced androgens.
- Ketoconazole is also used to block the production of androgens.
- VANIQA is a new product designed to prevent facial hair growth in women. It works in the hair follicle to reduce the growth of unwanted facial hair by blocking an essential enzyme in the follicle that is necessary for hair to grow. The cream should be applied with a thin layer on the affected area of the face twice a day. Most of the women using Vaniqa show improvement after seven/ eight weeks of using it.
The methods for removing unwanted facial hair include: waxing, tweezing, plucking, laser hair removal, bleaching, using depilatory creams, electrolysis.
Waxing is the most common way to remove facial hair as it removes hair for long period of time. If you have a mild facial hair problem, waxing will control the situation without causing stubble. I personally thing that waxing is the best way to remove a moustache and hairs on the chin. There are different “wax strips ” which are good way to remove upper lip hair. The areas to be treated must be wiped over with witch hazel to remove any grease. The temperature should be tested on the inside of your wrist and then applied.
Tweezing works best for removing stray hairs on the chin. Tweezing sparse hairs on the chin, around the nipple, upper lip can give you immediate short-term gratification but keep in mind that tweezing stimulates the hair follicles to grow thicker hair.
Bleaching is appropriate for those women with a faint moustache and fine hairs on the chin for example. Bleaching is often ineffective for dark hair growth, and may cause skin irritation. They are some great bleaching kits on the market that works great for bleaching upper lip hair. Try Veet Hair Lightening Cream – with it you can hide dark hair on your face, body and arms. The lightening cream works great to hide a moustache.
Depilatory creams produce results similar to shaving and after irritate the skin. I personally don’t think that they work well for removing facial hair since they offer a few days of hair-free skin. If using them too frequently the hair may become thicker and darker. Depilatories tend to have less of the effect on the follicles then methods like waxing or tweezing. They don’t provide a permanent hair removal solution, but the hair does take longer to grow back than it would if you were shaving.
Electrolysis is one of the most effective and permanent methods of hair removal. It works by destroying the hair follicles with the heat generated by an electrolic current. Electrolysis can remove the unwanted hair permanently after five/ six sessions. Unfortunately the procedure can be very painful for some patients especially if you have sensitive skin.
Laser hair removal is the best way to remove unwanted facial and body hair. Common treatment locations include legs, armpits, upper lip, bikini line, chin and back. Hair follicles absorb the light and heat up, destroying the hair and preventing re-growth. A percentage of these follicles are permanently disabled with each treatment. The laser targets only the cells under the surface and doesn’t harm the surrounding areas.
- Never shave your facial hair.
- Never feel ashamed of your facial hair – you are not the only one.
- this is a symptom rather than a disease and may be a sign of a more serious medical problem.
- Some blood tests that measure the DHEA and testosterone can pinpoint the cause.
- Feel free to talk to your doctor about your problems.
- Women of all ages and backgrounds can be affected by excessive facial growth.
- Never allow this problem to have a negative impact on your lifestyle and self-confidence.
- Let’s just hope and pray that soon there will be a new method or a product that will be able to remove unwanted hair permanently.