Women are born beautiful! It is their right to feel and look fabulous. Nothing is more painful for a girl or woman to hear "girl with a moustache" or "woman with a beard". Excessive or unwanted facial hair in women is a massive embarrassment for an otherwise attractive or a pretty face. Unfortunately, some pretty faces have excessive facial hair that not only shatters their confidence but also becomes a point of shame and embarrassment for those lovely faces.
It is usually typical for females to have fine hair all over the body, including the face. However, women may often develop coarse, dark hair growth on the upper lip, chin, chest, abdomen, or back instead of the typical fine hair, sometimes referred to as "peach fuzz", that usually grows in those areas. Although this condition can cause much distress, it is treatable.
All individuals, male or female, have typical hair growth on their bodies as they mature sexually. However, if a woman has excessive dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern on her face, chest and back, she might be suffering from a condition called Hirsutism. This condition occurs when hormones cause hair to grow in the female body after puberty in areas where it typically only grows in males. It is quite common and affects 5% to 10% of women of child-bearing potential. It tends to run in families. You will likely inherit it if your mother or sister has this issue.
What causes excessive facial hair in females, and how to treat them is a concern for many women? We have compiled some significant causes that cause facial hair in females and some standard treatments that help you overcome the problem.
Causes of unwanted female facial hair (Hirsutism)
The exact cause of unwanted female facial hair (Hirsutism) is unknown in many cases. Hirsutism may occur due to several underlying medical conditions. In some cases, there may not be an underlying cause. However, various scenarios may contribute to causing Hirsutism, like:
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is women's most common hormonal disorder. It is the most common cause of women's excess facial or body hair. This condition often begins with puberty and causes an imbalance of sex hormones. It accounts for more than 70 % of hirsutism cases. PCOS causes women to produce too many androgens that slowly result in excess hair growth. Women with PCOS issues may also have irregular or absent menstrual periods, acne, diabetes, weight gain/obesity, multiple cysts of the ovaries, and problems with fertility.
Cushing syndrome occurs when your body is exposed to high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cushing disease has higher than normal levels of cortisol. It may develop if a woman's adrenal gland makes too much cortisol or if she takes medication, like prednisone, over a long period.
Natural production of male hormones (androgens)
Women naturally produce male hormones (androgens), primarily testosterone. However, if a woman's androgen levels are too higher or her hair follicles are sensitive to androgens, she may develop Hirsutism.
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is an inherited and rare disorder that affects the adrenal glands. Women with this condition are born without an enzyme vital for hormone production. This occurs when your adrenal glands work abnormally and produce steroid hormones like cortisol and androgen. This condition may lead to various symptoms, including excessive hair growth.
An androgen-secreting tumour in the ovaries or adrenal glands may cause unwanted hair to grow on a woman's face. Although it's rare still, this condition may be causing Hirsutism. Research suggests that 0.3% of hirsutism cases happen due to a tumour that releases androgens.
Obesity is another significant cause of promoting conditions favourable for excess facial hair in women. Obesity can alter the way your body produces and processes hormones. Being obese causes an increase in androgen production, which can worsen Hirsutism.
Hormonal changes of menopause
The hormonal changes that usually occur during menopause may also significantly cause unwanted female facial hair. In addition, these hormonal changes may lead to increased facial hair, like moustache and whiskers.
Women from Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, or South Asian backgrounds are more likely to have extra body hair.
Medications that cause Hirsutism
Some medications are also likely to cause unwanted facial hair in women. Be aware of the drastic side effects if you are taking any of these medicines:
- Minoxidil (Rogaine)
- Antipsychotic drugs
- Anti-seizure medications
- Testosterone (Androgel, Testim)
- Anabolic steroids
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
Treatments for Unwanted Facial Hair in Females
Many options, such as Vaniqa Cream, exist when it comes to removing facial hair. All you have to do is select the one that suits you best. The available options you have are:
Waxing and shaving
Waxing and shaving are non-medical ways to get rid of excessive facial hair. If you have Hirsutism, you must be more proactive about waxing and shaving your face. You may have to shave daily to avoid stubble growth. These are affordable and take effect immediately, but they require continual treatment. In addition, frequent shaving may irritate your skin, and you may develop ingrown hair.
Similarly, wax can irritate or burn your skin. Waxing can be a harsh exfoliation process with side effects like residual redness, especially if you've got sensitive skin. Waxing takes practice to learn.
Some creams consist of solid chemicals called depilatories. Apply the cream and just let it sit for a while, and the hair gets removed when you wipe it off. This process takes five to ten minutes, depending on hair texture and the product's formula. Depilatories may irritate sensitive skin, so test a small spot before using one on a large area. If you experience stinging or burning, don't use the product. Instead, find another depilatory to test.
Laser hair removal
The laser hair removal technique uses concentrated light rays to damage hair follicles. Damaged follicles cannot produce hair, and the hair that is present falls out. The laser treatment targets hair at the root, so it is painful and could damage your skin. However, sufficient laser hair removal treatments can provide permanent or near-permanent results. About six dermatologists' treatments destroy a follicle; the hair will grow thinner and finer after each treatment. It is an expensive treatment and requires multiple sessions. In addition, laser hair removal won't work on white, grey, blonde, or red hair because lasers cannot effectively target light-coloured hair.
Electrolysis is the technique of removing hair using an electric current. It zaps hair at the root through the current. Electrolysis treats each hair follicle individually, so the sessions can take longer. When you repeat the process several times, hair stops growing in treated areas. It can permanently remove unwanted hair. Once your hair is gone, there is no need for maintenance treatments. It works on all hair types, including light-coloured hairs, which lasers cannot remove.
You may find electrolysis expensive, uncomfortable, or slightly painful, like laser treatment. It may take longer to achieve the desired outcome.
Combination-birth control pills
Combination-birth control pills have estrogen and progesterone and may help shrink PCOS cysts. The estrogen may also reduce excessive hair. Birth control pills are usually a long-term solution for Hirsutism. You'll most likely notice improvement after 3 to 6 months of the drug therapy.
Anti-androgens aid the body in making and using fewer male hormones. Steroidal and non-steroidal (or pure) anti-androgens can block androgen receptors and lower androgen production from the adrenal glands, ovaries, and pituitary glands.
Prescription Cream (Vaniqa)
Vaniqa or Eflornithine is a face cream that helps slow hair growth. The active ingredient, Eflornithine hydrochloride, helps prevent new hair from growing. You may see this medication advertised as Vaniqa or Eflora. The cream cannot remove existing hair, so you need to remove unwanted hair in that area and any stray hairs that grow. Apply this cream twice daily for as long as you want to see results. Once you stop applying the medication, your hair will regrow.
It is usually typical for females to have fine hair all over the body, including the face. In addition, women will often develop coarse, dark hair growth on the upper lip, chin, chest, abdomen, or back instead of the typical fine hair, sometimes referred to as "peach fuzz", that usually grows in those areas.
If a woman has excessive growth of dark or coarse hair in a male-like pattern on her face, chest and back, she might be suffering from a condition called Hirsutism. It may occur due to several underlying medical conditions. However, in some cases, there may not be an underlying cause. To remove facial hair, you may have many options to choose from.