Unwanted Hair Growth
What Is It?
Unwanted hair growth, also known as hirsutism, can be defined as either a dark growth or growth on areas that makes us uncomfortable.
All women have facial and body hair, but it is usually light and fine in colour.
The main difference between typical hair on a woman’s body and face and unwanted growth is the texture. In many cases, this type of hair growth can affect your self-esteem.
What Causes It?
Unwanted hair growth can be due to many factors. Genetics and ethnicity can play a role, with people of Mediterranean, Arabic, or Indian descent being particularly prone.
A common cause is a higher-than-normal levels of androgens, including testosterone. All females produce androgens but the levels tend to stay low.
Polycystic ovarian (PCOS) syndrome accounts for three out of every four hirsutism cases. Benign cysts on the ovaries affect hormone production, leading to excess hair growth, acne, irregular menstrual cycles and decreased fertility.
Additional symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Mood changes
- Pelvic pain
- Sleep problems
Adrenal gland disorders such as adrenal tumours or Cushing's disease may lead to excessive hair growth. High cortisol (aka the stress hormone) can affect the way your body produces androgens.
Some medications may also stimulate unwanted hair growth.
In rare cases, women may experience idiopathic hirsutism, where there is no detectable cause. This type of hair growth is usually chronic and harder to treat as the driver of the growth cannot be determined or treated.
What Can I Do To Help It?
- Blood tests can be inadequate in testing for hormonal imbalances, so it is recommended to do a urine or saliva test such as the Eve Test Complete.
- Blood work may be ordered if a blood sugar imbalance is thought to be a contributing factor
- Ultrasounds or MRI scans may be necessary to detect adrenal irregularities or cysts
- Avoid at-home hair removal treatments such as supermarket wax or at-home laser machines as they may damage the skin
- You may like to seek medical treatment if excessive growth is due to PCOS or adrenal disorders to slow down the drivers of the growth
Treatments To Try
We offer a few different options for hair removal:
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) Hair Removal is our most popular and permanent method of hair removal. It works best on a lighter skin tone with a darker growth. The light is attracted to the pigment of the hair, travels down to the base of the hair follicle to cauterise the blood supply and prevent the blood supply from nourishing the follicle. It is classified as being 80-90 per cent effective as a method of permanent hair reduction.
If the growth is stimulated by a hormonal imbalance, it is best to address that issue first otherwise it will be used as a method of maintenance. A consultation and test patch are necessary for this treatment to attain suitability and to test the skin's response.
Waxing is suitable for people who may not be able to have IPL or for use on smaller areas such as the eyebrows.
Dermaplaning is a hair removal and facial treatment in one. It removes dead skin cells from the face as an exfoliating treatment as well as removing ‘peach fuzz’ hair growth. The skin looks and feels fresh, smoother, more even, and has a glow-like effect. It does need to be maintained every 4-8 weeks and can be added on to a facial treatment.