Unwanted facial hair can deliver a knock to your confidence, but understanding more about the condition can give you the tools to tackle it effectively

A significant number of women live with unwanted facial hair every day. But although many women have experienced the condition, it still isn’t often talked about. Overcoming the embarrassment surrounding unwanted facial hair is key to understanding the condition and ultimately treating it.

Excessive hair growth in women is otherwise known as hirsutism. This is defined by the appearance of thick, dark hair on their face, neck, chest, tummy, lower back, thighs or buttocks.[1] But for some women, facial hair only becomes an issue as they get older. Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between unwanted facial hair and age.

What causes unwanted facial hair?

According to the Indian journal of Dermatology, hirsutism affects as many as one in 10 women, and can run in families. Women of South Asian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean descent are also more likely to develop the condition.[2]

There are also several underlying conditions which are associated with unwanted facial hair. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common, accounting for as much as 75% of all hirsutism cases.[3] This can also result in other symptoms like acne and weight gain.

Certain medications can also result in unwanted facial hair. In rare cases, it may be the result of a tumour.

Unwanted facial hair and hormones

No matter what lies behind your unwanted facial hair, the cause is almost always hormonal. Whether it’s a condition like PCOS or a particular medication, the reason that facial hair occurs is due to the change in hormones brought on by these factors, rather than the factors themselves.

Most commonly, unwanted facial hair is caused by an increase in hormones called androgens, or the fact that your body is more sensitive to these hormones.

In fact, during the diagnosis process for hirsutism, your doctor will likely complete blood tests in order to measure your hormone levels.[4]

Hormonal shifts occur during the menopause, but this is often different to hirsutism

Like PCOS and medication, the menopause is just another factor which can alter your balance of hormones. This means that, for some women, facial hair can occur for the first time in later life.

However, the facial hair that some women experience as they age, particularly after the menopause, is different from the coarse hair associated with hirsutism. This hair is commonly finer.[5]

The kind of facial hair which might appear during the menopause is determined by the way your hormones have changed. In simple terms, higher oestrogen levels result in finer, softer, lighter hair, while more testosterone leads to heavier hair. During the menopause, oestrogen levels often diminish but testosterone levels may not.[6] This means that, even if unwanted facial hair has never been an issue before, it can appear during or after the menopause.

Tackling unwanted facial hair

Unless it is a sign of an underlying tumour or growth, excess facial hair is rarely dangerous to your health. So if It doesn’t bother you, you aren’t obliged to treat it at all. However, many women wish to do something about their unwanted facial hair. Thankfully, there are plenty of options available, including laser treatment, electrolysis and topical creams.

Studies have shown that using topical creams like Vaniqa is an effective way to successfully remove unwanted facial hair, especially when combined with other kinds of treatment such as lasers.[7]

Get safe and effective hair removal treatment like Vaniqa right here at Express Pharmacy. Contact our team of pharmacists today by calling 0208 123 07 03 or by using our discreet online Live Chat system.

[1] NHS UK. Excessive hair growth (hirsutism).2019

[2] Sachdeva, S. Hirsutism: Evaluation and Treatment. Indian Journal of Dermatology. 2010

[3] Bode, D. et al. Hirsutism in Women. American Family Physician. 2012

[4] British Skin Foundation. Hirsutism. 2016

[5] NHS UK. Excessive hair growth (hirsutism). 2019

[6] Perry, S. Menopause and new facial hair: oh, pluck this… Gennev. 2018

[7] Shapiro, J. and Lui, H. Treatments for unwanted facial hair. Skin Therapy Letter. 2005