Girls commonly have a fine growth of hair on their bodies and face. But some girls have excessive and coarse hair growth on their face and body. In medical terms, this condition is referred to as hirsutism. It is said that around 5-10% of women have hirsutism (1).
In this post, MomJunction tells you about the possible reasons for facial hair growth and the various treatments available.
What Causes Facial Hair In Girls?
The onset of hirsutism or excessive hair growth begins during the teenage years. Unwanted hair growth can be caused due to hormones, side-effects of certain drugs, or your genetic structure. Let’s study each of them in detail.
The most common cause behind excessive growth in females is abnormal or higher-than-normal levels of androgens (male hormone testosterone) (1).
Androgens are the hormones that regulate the masculine characteristics in a human body. Women and men produce both masculine and feminine hormones. But some girls may have excess production of androgens resulting in male pattern hair growth, deep voice like a male, fluctuation in weight, etc.
The excess production of androgens could be due to health problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome, Cushing syndrome, and thyroid imbalance (1). PCOS is the most common cause, accounting for three out of every four cases of hirsutism (2).
If a girl is having regular periods and has no other disorders, then the reason for excess hair could probably be genetical (3). If your grandmother, mother, or other women in the lineage have excess facial hair, then you are likely to have too (4).
3. Side-effects of medicines
Certain drugs, such as anabolic steroids, glucocorticoids, and minoxidil can cause hirsutism or excessive hair growth as a side effect (5).
Sometimes, the cause of hirsutism is not known, and this is called idiopathic hirsutism. About less than 20% of all cases of hirsutism are idiopathic, which means there might be excess male-like hair even when you are having normal androgen levels and regular periods (4).
How To Identify Hirsutism?
Here are some symptoms to look out for:
- Growth of excessive hair in places where girls usually have fine growth.
- Male pattern hair growth, such as mustache, beard, chin hair, etc.
- The coarse, thick, and dark texture of hair, especially in areas where girls have softer hair.
Remember, not all excessive hair growth is hirsutism. Consulting a doctor and undergoing prescribed tests will help you understand the real reason behind the hair growth.
Is There A Permanent Fix For Removing Facial Hair?
There are only temporary hair removal methods available for now. The procedures lead to a reduction in hair growth but not permanent hair removal. Laser and electrolysis are long-lasting and help in killing or damaging the hair follicle, but some may experience regrowth (6) (7).
If the underlying cause is identified and treated, then the hairs might become finer and less visible.
How To Remove Excess Facial Hair In Girls?
Facial hair can be removed temporarily using external procedures. These methods may suit teenage girls. However, it is important to know the root cause and treat it. This might have a better chance of stopping facial hair growth. Also, do not proceed with any facial hair removal method without consulting your doctor.
External hair removal options
- Epilation techniques such as waxing, threading, or shaving can be helpful in the temporary removal of hair. These methods are simple, inexpensive, and can be tried at home or a salon (8).
- Electrolysis is another method that has proven results of hair loss. This process helps in the removal of hair roots. According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, you can have 15 to 50% permanent hair loss with repeated treatments (1).
- A prominent method of hair removal is the laser technique. Laser method helps in the destruction of hair follicles and the reduction of hair growth but cannot remove permanently (9).
- Depilatories, which are alkaline in nature, are available in a gel or lotion form. When these are applied topically, they dissolve on the skin and gently remove the hair (8).
In this, medications are given to treat the condition that might be causing excessive facial hair.
- Your doctor is the best person to prescribe the right medications for your condition. Drugs for androgen receptor blockers, contraceptives, and medication for PCOS are considered suitable oral remedies for regulating excessive hair growth (1).
Note that any hair removal method can lead to pigmentation or irritable skin. Apply sunscreen and avoid prolonged exposure to UV rays to mitigate the effects.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Facial Hair Removal?
The process of removing excessive hair growth might have some side-effects (1). Let’s have a look at some of them:
- Itching or burning sensation
Certain hair removal processes may cause itching or inflammation. This may vary from case to case and depends on the type of hair growth too.
Hair removal is different from hair-cutting, and therefore, it is not a pleasant or comfortable experience. When the hair is removed from the root or hair follicles are burnt to reduce their growth, it may cause discomfort and pain.
- Discoloration and scarring
Due to the application of heat, some girls may experience mild to severe scarring. This can be mitigated with proper aftercare.
Removal of facial hair takes time, and every procedure is different. Epilation methods may give instant but temporary relief. But laser takes time and requires multiple sessions over months to show results.
Each method has its own merits and demerits. Therefore, talk to your doctor, and if you know someone who has undergone such treatments, then take their feedback. It is advisable to leave the excess hair if they are not causing any discomfort and interruption to day to day activities. But, if it is affecting your self-esteem, then first get your doctor to find out the cause, as it will help to treat better.
Have you gone through any hair removal treatments? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.
2. David bode, et al; Hirsutism in Women; American Academy of Family Physicians (2012)
3. Hirsutism- what is it; Harvard Health Publishing
4. Hirsutism in women; American Family Physician
5. Wissem Hafsi and Talel Badri; Hirsutism; National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
6. Shenenberger DW and Utecht LM; Removal of unwanted facial hair; National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
7. Shapiro J and Lui H; Treatments for unwanted facial hair; National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
8. Removing Hair Safely; US Food and Drug Administration
9.Tanvi Vaidya and Dinesh Kumar D; Laser Hair Removal; National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine