Unwanted Hair

About Unwanted Hair

Having thick, lustrous locks is one thing - but having hair crop up in unwanted places is quite another. Unwanted hair can appear around the lip and chin areas, or elsewhere on the body. It leads to many feeling extremely self-conscious, and to taking drastic actions such as shaving the affected area (which often makes the condition worse). This condition is more common in people of a South Asian, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean background, and can also be hereditary.

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What causes unwanted hair?

The cause of unwanted hair is not always known, especially in men. The condition in women, however, is called hirsutism - which is hair that presents itself in a male pattern. For instance, women with hirsutism commonly
develop hair on their chin, upper lips and chest; while legs and back can also be affected.

The biggest cause of hirsutism in women is a hormonal imbalance - with symptoms ranging from severe to mild. Hormonal balances in women occur when there are excess male hormones (called androgens) in the body. The most well-known androgen is testosterone, and having too much of this male hormone (as well as others) can lead to unwanted hair, as well as an irregular menstrual cycle.

Women who have the above symptoms might have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), with the three main symptoms being: irregular periods, ovaries becoming enlarged and containing fluid-filled sacs, and unwanted hair. Acne, especially on or around the chin area, is another common symptom of PCOS. The menopause can also trigger hormonal imbalances and lead to excess hair growth as a result.

If you think your hair growth patterns are abnormal, book an appointment with your GP to identify the cause.

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