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What Causes Facial Hair in Women (and How to Combat It)

Unwanted facial hair can be treated medically, with lasers, or with drugs like Vaniqa.

Unwanted facial hair can be treated medically, with lasers, or with drugs like Vaniqa.

Having a thick, full head of hair is a point of pride for many women, but most would just as soon hair not have it grow elsewhere, like on the face, back, or chest.

When women discover unwanted facial hair, their first course of action is usually to simply get rid of it. Most of the time, this type of hair growth does not indicate an underlying medical problem, but in some cases, excess facial hair can be caused by a treatable medical condition: when the condition is treated, the problem goes away.

Statistics, Signs, and Symptoms
Around 8% of women in the United States report unwanted facial hair growth.

If you’re a woman with unwanted facial hair growth, it’s important to learn whether it is harmless, or caused by a medical condition. Certain ethnicities, including women of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and European ancestry are more likely to develop unwanted facial hair growth than others. However, if you have excess facial hair growth along with any of the following symptoms, you should visit your doctor to determine if there is an underlying cause for the hair growth:

  • irregular periods
  • increased acne
  • increased “masculinity” in the form of deeper voice, enlarged shoulder muscles, or male pattern hair loss
  • obesity, particularly when weight gain occurs in the midsection
  • high blood pressure
  • symptoms of diabetes

Causes of Unwanted Hair Growth in Women
Around half of the women who experience increased facial hair have higher than normal levels of male sex hormones, or androgens. There are many possible causes of high androgen levels in women, including the following:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can result in infertility

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  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Ovarian tumors
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Medications like pheytoin, minoxidil, diazoxide, and cyclosporine
  • Use of anabolic steroids
  • Danazol, a drug used to treat endometriosis
Some medical conditions, including some that cause excess facial hair growth, are at least partly inherited.

Some medical conditions, including some that cause excess facial hair growth, are at least partly inherited.

Risk Factors

While genetic inheritance and ethnicity may play a role in whether a woman develops unwanted facial hair, genetics may also come into play with certain medical conditions. For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, can often be linked with family history. In women with PCOS, a diet and exercise program that helps control weight can help control unwanted hair growth as well. Women with PCOS who are also obese may cut their risk of unwanted facial hair growth if they consume a low-calorie diet.

What You Can Do About It
You have options when it comes to removal of unwanted facial hair growth. Some women are good candidates for laser hair removal. This hair removal technique works best in people with a combination of fair skin and dark hair. But your best solution to unwanted hair growth starts with finding out if there is an underlying medical cause, and if so, getting treated for it.

If there is no clear medical cause for your excess facial hair growth, your doctor may prescribe a drug specifically designed to combat excess facial hair, like Vaniqa. Vaniqa is a prescription drug that works within the hair follicle, blocking formation of the building blocks for enzymes responsible for synthesis of hairs. It causes hair re-growth to be slower, so that you can use other hair control methods (like waxing, shaving, or tweezing) less frequently.

Many women find that the new hair that grows in is finer and less noticeable after using Vaniqa. Vaniqa can also be used in conjunction with laser hair removal.

Vaniqa is a long-term medication: if you stop using it, your hair will go back to the way it was, so combining Vaniqa with laser hair removal may be worth exploring for a more thorough solution to unwanted facial hair.

AccessRx.com is an online medical facilitator that dispenses Vaniqa through US-licensed pharmacists and ships the product quickly and discreetly directly to customers. AccessRx.com is strongly committed to competitive prices, online security, and preservation of customer privacy.

Photos Credits: marin / freedigitalphotos.net, Ambro / freedigitalphotos.net

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About Don Amerman

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Don Amerman has spent more than three decades in the business of writing and editing. During the last 15 years, his focus has been on freelance writing. For almost all of his writing, He has done all of his own research, both online and off, including telephone and face-to-face interviews where possible. Don Amerman on Google+

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