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Excess hair growth

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What is it?

Unwanted hair growth is a common concern for both men and women. For some, removing hair is a huge factor to increase confidence, improve skin and stop temporary hair removal treatments like waxing.

Excess Hair Growth Conditions

Hypertrichosis is an abnormal amount of hair growth on the body. The two distinct types of this condition are the generalised hypertrichosis, which occurs over the entire body, and the localised hypertrichosis, which is restricted to a certain area.

Hirsutism is the medical condition specific to women, which is the occurrence of excessive body hair on parts of the body where hair is normally absent or minimal, such as on the mouth, chin, chest, abdomen, or back.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms for Hypertrichosis can be either congenital (present at birth), or acquired later in life. The excess growth of hair occurs in areas of the skin, with the exception of the pubic area, face, and axillary regions. The symptoms for Hirsutism will develop particularly in locations where women normally do not develop terminal hair, specifically during puberty, such as the chest, abdomen, back, and face.

What are the causes?

Hypertrichosis can be caused by a number of factors. The first is genetics, as some people are naturally born with excessive hair growth. Some medical conditions and metabolic disorders are a second cause. Oral and topical treatments that contain male hormones, such as steroids, are also known to trigger acquired generalized hypertrichosis. Medication for preventing hair loss is thought to activate acquired localized hypertrichosis. Hirsutism in women can be instigated by either an increased level of androgens (male hormones such as testosterone) or an over-sensitivity of hair follicles to androgens. Growing evidence links high circulating levels of insulin in women with the development of hirsutism. Medical conditions and medications that modify hormones can cause an increase in a woman’s normally low level of male hormones.

What should you avoid?

As excessive hair growth is mostly a natural condition, the best preventive measure is to manage the hair by trying a hair reduction treatment.

Who is affected?

Anyone can be affected by excess hair growth. Women who are most prone to getting excessive hair growth are those with irregular periods, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and older women with menopause. It is presumed that obese women are at higher risk of becoming hirsute because they are insulin resistant – hyperinsulinemic. People, usually athletes or body builders, who are on medication with anabolic steroids, are also affected.

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