Unwanted Hair: Why it Happens and What You Can do about It

Unwanted facial and body hair can be a significant cosmetic embarrassment, especially to women. It often appears during hormonal changes that take place during puberty or menopause. While unwanted hair can be a cosmetic concern, it is not always a serious medical concern. However, when uncommon hair growth occurs in women, it can signal a condition known as hirsutism.

What is Hirsutism?

Hirsutism is the condition in which thick, dark hair grows on women in the same pattern that it usually grows on males. This condition is relatively rare, affecting only about 10 percent of all women today. However, the incidence appears to be increasing, due to changes in diet and increasing sedentary lifestyle habits.

Hirsutism may occur on many different areas of the body, including the chest, belly, chin and upper lip. There are a number of factors that might contribute to hirsutism, including genetics and hormonal fluctuations. While there is no way to prevent this condition completely, there are effective ways to remove the unwanted hair, both on a temporary and a more permanent basis.

Causes of Hirsutism

There are a number of possible causes of hirsutism, including the following:

  • Genetics – The most common factor influencing whether you will experience hirsutism is whether you have a family member that has had the condition.
  • Hormones – Hormones are also a frequent cause of hirsutism, which is why it is commonly seen around puberty or menopause. Medications containing hormones, such as oral contraceptives, can also be a factor.
  • Medications – In addition to hormone-based medications, there are other drugs that could increase your risk for hirsutism. These might include steroids, anti-seizure medications and drugs to treat hypertension.
  • Medical Conditions – Medical conditions can also increase your risk for developing hirsutism. The most common condition related to hirsutism is polycystic ovarian disease or PCOD. Other symptoms of PCOD include acne, irregular periods and difficulty losing weight.
  • Insulin Resistance – Excess insulin in the body can affect hormone levels, which can, in turn, affect the onset of hirsutism. Insulin resistance typically occurs as a result of consuming too much sugar and fat on a regular basis.

While these factors all play a role in hirsutism, not every woman with one of these medical conditions or taking these medications will develop the condition. It is best to see a doctor if you notice excessive hair growth that is not normal for you, to see if an underlying cause can be diagnosed. In some cases, the cause of the hair growth cannot be found, but you can at least rule out medical conditions that could be leading to the problem.

Treatment for Unwanted Hair and Hirsutism

Treatment for hirsutism usually consists of removal of the unwanted facial or body hair. This can be done at home, through shaving, waxing or plucking. However, if you have a significant amount of unwanted hair, professional hair removal treatments offer smoother, longer-lasting results than any of your home remedies.

One of the best methods of permanent hair reduction is laser treatment. During this procedure, laser energy is delivered directly into the hair follicle, damaging the follicle so hair falls out. The damage may also prohibit additional hair from growing in its place, offering the long-term reduction from unwanted hair. Treatments typically take less than 30 minutes to complete and there is no downtime after the procedure.

Don’t let hirsutism keep you from looking and feeling your best. Contact Umansky Plastic Surgery today at 855-338-3511 to find out if laser hair removal is right for you.