The Causes of Excess Hair and Effective Ways to Treat It

Written by on December 18, 2012 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page

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tria-step5For centuries, women have been seeking fast, efficient ways to remove hair. Some medical conditions can cause unwanted or excess hair, which can then create anxiety and even depression, as the need to remove hair becomes a constant battle.

While it is not exactly clear what causes specific medical conditions, some ethnic minorities, including Spanish, Mediterranean, Italians, Portuguese, Greens and the French, tend to be hairier.

Systemic changes or glandular disturbances are linked to the endocrine (hormone) system, which controls the health and growth of our immune system. Since the endocrine system is linked to the development of hair, excess hair growth could be linked to an imbalance. The two-pronged approach to treating excess hair problems is to consult the expertise of an endocrinologist, who treats disorders in the hormone system, plus an electrologist, who treats hair removal. Permanent hair removal treatments coupled with medication can treat even the most challenging cases of hirsutism.

The Causes of Hirsutism

  • Excess hair is caused by an over production or over sensitivity to androgens (male sex hormones). Hirsutism is thought to affect 1 to 3 in every 20 women who have yet to reach the menopause. The change in the endocrine system can make the body more susceptible to excess hair growth.
  • A polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one such condition that is known to cause unwanted excess hair on the face, chest, lower back and buttocks. Women with PCOS may also have diabetes, acne, menstrual trouble, and weight issues.
  • Unwanted hair growth can also occur through normal systemic changes. Puberty can become especially troublesome for some women, as the hair can appear darker and thicker.
  • Pregnancy is also though to affect the hormones, with excess hair growth making an appearance.
  • Another likely reason why the body can produce excess hair is due to some medications. High blood pressure medications and cortisone are known to stimulate hair growth.
  • Topical influences, including scars, x-rays, sunburn, depilatories, waxing and prolonged tweezing, can also increase hair growth, due to the extra supply of blood being pumped to the skin.
  • Stress can also cause hormonal changes in the body, which can lead to excessive hair problems. Emotional and physical changes can trigger a hormonal reaction in the adrenal glands, which then causes fine body hair to grow back thicker and more noticeable.
  • Cushing syndrome occurs when the body is overexposed to the steroid hormone cortisol. Other corticosteroid medications, including prednisolone and prednisone, are used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
  • Cushing disease occurs when the pituitary gland, part of the endocrine system, overproduces adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone, as it is released during stressful periods. Cortisol controls the way the body uses fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, plus it supports the immune system’s response to inflammation. The symptoms of cushing disease include a full round face, upper body obesity (no weight on the arms and legs), thin skin that easily bruises, backache, weak muscles, excess hair on the neck, chest, abdomen, thighs and face, and acne.

Ways to Treat Excess Hair Growth

  • Since many hormonal changes can occur in overweight women, it makes great sense to lose weight, which will often have a doubling effect on reducing hair growth.
  • Many women do not want to shave the upper lip, for fear it will grow back more noticeable, so lightening or bleaching the hair is a sensible option.
  • Temporary hair removal includes shaving, plucking and waxing. Hair removal creams are also useful, but some can have an unpleasant odour.
  • Finally, permanent hair removal options include electrolysis, which target individual hair follicles to kill the root and stop regrowth. Although this method is expensive, it is better suited toward larger areas.

Trying to treat excess hair growth with weight loss is a healthy option, but buying a device that can provide permanent hair removal at home is another sensible option.

This is a guest post.  Hazel is a freelance writer who blogs about beauty, health and fashion.

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