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Facial Hair

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Definition

Growth of excessive dark, coarse hair on the face. Hormonal changes play avery vital role in a woman's life causing changes in the production of facial hair. Before puberty, the facial hairs are fine and thin. With the onset of puberty, some of the hair on the face get transformed into coarse and pigmented variety. Increase in the number, pigmentation and coarseness of facial hair can be generally associated with aging skin changes.

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Causes

  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Idiopathic or no known cause
  • Old age
  • Heredity or familial tendency
  • Racial
  • Ovarian tumor e.g. Polycystic Ovarian Disease
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Endocrine abnormalities such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, Cushing's syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia or precocious puberty, overproduction of androgens by the ovaries
  • Drugs such as aminoglutethimide, cyclosporine, drugs containing progestins, glucocorticoid, metoclopramide, minoxidil, androgenic steroids or testosterone

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Implications

Excessive facial hair is considered abnormal, embarrassing and disturbing. Methods to remove facial hair such as tweezing, waxing, shaving, electrolysis) or hide (disguise) facial hair (like bleaching) can cause irritation, pigmentation and coarseness of skin. These factors can result in great deal of anxiety and loss of self confidence. However, hair removal products should be carefully selected as they may contain harsh chemicals that can cause superficial burns or provoke allergic reactions.

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What You Can Do

  • Several cosmetic treatment methods are available, consult your physician or dermatologist before selecting any of the options discussed below:
    • Plucking - This is a painful method and should be used to remove hairs from small areas like reshaping your eyebrows or pulling out those few hairs that may appear on your chin, especially for a woman. This method should not be used for larger areas because it can cause ingrown hairs or scarring.
    • Depilation - Specific over-the-counter hair removal creams are meant to remove hairs from different parts of the body and should be used for those areas only.
    • Hot Waxing - this can be easily done at home or in a professional salon.
    • Laser Hair Removal - This method generally requires 3-4 or more treatment sessions and can remove hair permanently.
    • Electrolysis - This method of hair removal can be used on all parts of the body to remove unwanted hair.
  • Consult your physician about estrogen replacement therapy if you have menopausal symptoms.

  • For ovarian cysts or tumors, consult your doctor about removal of the tumor or other treatment options.

  • For medications, consult your health care provider about switching or discontinuing them.

  • If excessive facial hair is due to elevated androgen levels, it may be treated with low dose dexamethasone, oral contraceptives or anti-androgen medications.

  • If the cause of excessive facial hairs is due to an underlying endocrine disorder, treatment of the disorder may resolve the excessive hair growth and other symptoms

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Facial Hair