All About Unwanted Hair                               

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Much of this information was gathered from Dr. Sara Rosenthal's recent book Women and Unwanted Hair, as well as Sheila Godfrey's Principles and Practice of Electrical Epilation.  While this information is no substitute for consulting a physician, we are dedicated to helping everyone learn about unwanted hair. This page discusses different aspects of unwanted hair and targets females.  Many men also deal with unwanted hair, we are by no means ignoring their issues.  For more information, please contact your physician.  

Hair That Is "Not Supposed to Be There"
Excessive hair growth can be identified by many different terms.  You have probably run across the term Hirsutism, perhaps Hypertrichosis, and even superfluous hair.  In many resources these terms are used interchangeably but there are important distinctions.                                                        

Excessive hair (key word here is excessive) on the face, especially around the chin, upper lip, breasts or chests, or basically hair on a woman that matches a male hair pattern on a female body is known as hirsutism.  Men can have hirsutism when their hair is truly excessive in hormonally dependent areas.  A diabetic woman with a full male pattern beard would be said to have hirsutism.  

Hypertrichosis is basically excessive hair on men or women that tends to be in places that are outside the pattern areas described above.   Someone who has a cast on their leg who grows unusually large patches of hair under the cast could be said to have Hypertrichosis (hyper=excessive/accelerated trich=hair).  

Superfluous hair or garden variety  “unwanted hair” is considered such whenever it appears on areas of the body that are considered to be either culturally unacceptable, or unattractive.  It isn't an abnormal amount or location when considering the makeup of the whole population, it is just undesirable for a woman to have a noticeable light mustache.  The color of the unwanted hair is also key; the darker it is, the more visible—which makes it more of a problem for dark haired women than for fair haired women.  If you are dark haired, for example, the fine hair on the upper lip or around the hairline may feel abnormal but it’s not; it’s merely visible. And even though excessive hair growth on the face or male-patterned hair growth on the body is considered “abnormal” in women, it’s actually very, very common.

Common Causes of Abnormally Excessive Hair Growth

Hormonal Treatment for Unwanted Hair
Much unwanted hair growth occurs as a result of hormonal imbalances, which are correctable. Ironically, many women actually uncover a potential underlying hormonal problem during a visit with an electrologist (a person who performs electrolysis). And while hormone therapy will not make the hairs you already have disappear, it can stop the growth of new hairs. Be sure to ask your doctor about common side effects of each of the following therapies before you say “yes” to hormone therapy.

Removing Unwanted Hair
The following are methods most people consider once an underlying hormonal problem causing excessive, unwanted hair growth has been ruled out, or dealt with.

 

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