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Unwanted Female Facial Hair

In females, growth of coarse and dark hair on the face similar to male is observed the condition is called as hirsutism. Excess male hormones (androgens), primarily testosterones, is main cause behind the excess hair growth.

Unwanted facial hair is a medical condition and more than that it is a symptom of various underlying problems. In most cases, the underlying problem is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is often associated with irregular menstrual cycles, acne, obesity, infertility and an increased risk of diabetes and osteoporosis.

Mostly one in 10 women is affected with the unwanted facial hair problem.

Taking self-care by home remedies and medical treatment can be the options for women who wants to get rid of unwanted hair.

Other Symptoms:
In addition to the unwanted hair on the face, hirsutism may have other symptoms such as:

  • Other skin conditions such as acne or seborrhoea

  • Development of warts within skin folds (acanthosis nigricans)

  • Unexplained increase in sex drive

  • Masculine characteristics such as deepened voice or increased muscle mass

  • Irregular or absent menstrual periods

  • High levels of insulin

  • Infertility

  • Decreased breast size

  • Enlargement of the clitoris

Causes:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-

PCOS mostly started with puberty and causes an imbalance of sex hormones. Over the period, PCOS may slowly result in excess hair growth on body and face, irregular periods, obesity, infertility and sometimes multiple cysts on the ovaries.

  • Cushing syndrome- 

This is a group of hormonal disorders and resulted when body is exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol. It can develop from your adrenal glands making too much cortisol or from taking medications such as prednisone over a long period.

  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia-

This is collection of disorders which is characterized by abnormal production of steroid hormones, including cortisol and androgen, by your adrenal glands.

  • Tumors-

In rare situation, abnormal growth on the ovaries or adrenal glands can produce androgen.

  • Medications-

Some medications which used to treat endometriosis; such as testosterone (Androgel, Testim); and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may result into unwanted hair growth. Other medicines include minoxidil (Minoxidil, Rogaine); danazol. If partner of woman uses androgens containing topical products, then woman can be affected through the skin-to-skin contact.

Diagnosis:
It can be diagnosed as mentioned below:

  • medical history 

  • physical examination

  • specific questioning – for example, about whether the onset of hairiness was gradual or sudden

  • assessment of body hair using a standard scoring system

  • blood tests to check testosterone levels

  • thyroid function tests

  • tests to check for PCOS – hormone tests and ultrasound scan of the ovaries

  • tests to check for an androgen-secreting tumor – diagnostic scanning

Treatment:
Depending upon the underlying cause, treatment and management may vary. It is recommended to consult with the specialist such as an endocrinologist or a gynecologist.

Treatment options may include:

  • Medications to block the effects of androgens

  • Anti-androgen medications to reduce body’s ability to make androgens

  • Medications to help block production of androgens in the ovaries, such as the oral contraceptive pill

  • Insulin medications, if hyperinsulinaemia is present

  • Surgical removal of an adrenal or ovarian tumor

Self-care:
Taking care with hair removal treatment can help to temporarily remove or reduce the visibility of unwanted facial and body hair. There is no evidence that self-removal of hair lead to heavier hair growth.

Plucking-
To remove hair from small area plucking is a good method, but is not useful for removing a large area of hair. Plucked hair usually regrows. This hair removal method may be done with tweezers, thin threads (threading) or other devices designed for this purpose.

Shaving-
Shaving is quick and inexpensive, but it needs to be repeated regularly.

Waxing-
Waxing can used to remove hairs from large area but it may sting temporarily and sometimes causes skin irritation and redness.

Depilation-
Chemical depilatories are applied to the affected skin, where they dissolve hair. These products are available in a variety of forms, such as gel, cream or lotion. They may irritate the skin and cause dermatitis. You'll need to repeat depilation regularly to maintain the effect.

Bleaching-
Bleaching lightens hair color, making it less noticeable on people with light skin. Hair-bleaching products, which usually contain hydrogen peroxide, may cause skin irritation. Test any product you use on a small area of skin first.

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