UNWANTED FACIAL HAIR​

OVERVIEW

There are two types:

Hirsutism: excess hair growth in women caused by having too much androgens (male hormones) in the body.

Hypertrichosis: excess hair growth independent of male hormones.

Hirsutism

Their are many different things that can cause increased levels of androgens in your body:

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  • Genetics: Some women just happen to have increased levels of male hormones in there body.

  • Obesity

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: This is characterised by high levels of androgens, menstrual disturbances and follicles in the ovaries. The high levels of androgens lead to women having hirsutism and acne!

  • Cushing's Syndrome: Leads to increased levels of cortisol in your body

  • Medications: Steroids or Phenytoin

MANAGEMENT

1. Weight Loss: Losing weight (if you're overweight) is beneficial for all areas of your health! 

2. Manual hair removal

  • Bleaching: removing the colour of the hair on your facial can make them a lot less noticeable. It is important to perform a 'patch test' at least 24 hours before you administer the bleach to your skin as some people burn and react quite poorly to the bleach.It works best for upper lip hair and sideburns but make sure to avoid using it on areas of hypersensitive or damaged skin as this can add to the irritation. 

  • Depilatory cream: Using chemicals within the cream to break down the hair shaft in order to easily remove and wash them away. This technique is not painful however can result in burning and irritation. It is a quick fix however they only remove hair above the skins surface. This means that hair will keep growing almost immediately.

  • Epilators: Electrical devices that pluck out each individual hair straight from the root. This is an excellent method of hair removal however it can be quite painful. It is a lot longer lasting then the above methods. It is also recommended to exfoliate regularly when using the epilator as this prevents ingrown hairs.

  • Shaving: Girls, please don't shave your face.

  • Waxing: Helps to remove hair from the root and so is longer-lasting then some of the other methods. Exfoliating is key to the success of waxing to prevent ingrown hairs. 

  • Tweeze: A great way to manage eyebrow hairs. Make sure to tweeze in the direction that hair is growing. Grab the hair from the root and never tug to hard on the hairs to avoid damaging the delicate skin around your eyebrows. Use aloe vera gel afterward or a cold, damp face towel to reduce inflammation and redness. 

3. The Oral Contraceptive Pill: Certain types of OCP (Yasmin and Dianette) have anti-androgen effects on the body. The reduction of male hormones in your blood will help to reduce hirsutism. Make sure you double check this medication with your GP as long-term use of these types of OCP can predispose  women to deep vein thrombosis.

4. Topical Eflornithine: This can be prescribed by your family doctor and works by slowing down the growth of your hair follicles.

 

Should I see my General Practitioner?

It could be a good idea! A lot of the time hirsutism is an annoying inconvenience but sometimes it can be a sign of a deeper issue. If it's worrying you and you're noticing other symptoms alongside hirsutism then you should book an appointment to see your family doctor.

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