Having hair on your chin or cheeks when you're a woman is not a shame! Almost everyone has it. Usually, the amount is determined by hormones and can fluctuate over your age. Some have only thin hairs above the lip and cheek, which is usually referred to as peach fuzz on face. But others will see coarser and thicker hairs all over the face and down to the neck, this condition is called hirsutism which is one of the more distressing and visible symptoms of Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Are you suffering from unwanted PCOS facial hair? You're not alone. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 72 to 82 percent of women with PCOS have an excess of hair growth on the face and body, making it difficult for them to lead a normal life. Don't worry. In this article, we will talk about causes, solutions, preventions to PCOS facial hair.
Why can PCOS cause excess hair to grow on the face?
Hair growth is highly affected by androgens, sometimes referred to as male hormones. These hormones are responsible for stimulating hair follicles, converting soft, finner vellus hairs into thicker, darker terminal hair. This is why men are hairier than women.
However, androgens are not exclusively "male" hormones. they are also produced in small amounts by women's ovaries to help with ovarian maintenance, bone metabolism, and sexual behaviors. In women who have PCOS, approximately 50-70% of them will have insulin resistance (IR), which indicates their bodies can make insulin but can't break them down effectively. As more and more insulin accumulated, the ovaries will stop ovulating and produce a higher than normal amount of androgens. As a result, they end up with long, dark facial hair other than vellus hair.
Does facial or chin hair mean PCOS?
It's most often though not always. Excess facial hair is just one of the common symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, but it's not accurate to indicate that you have PCOS based on this point. There are other things that can cause hirsutism.
"In about 7 out of 10 cases, hirsutism with irregular periods is related to a hormonal imbalance in the ovaries called PCOS", explains Dr. Geoffroy Robin, gynecologist and head of the endocrine gynecology functional unit at the Mayo Clinic. However, it happens that in about 20% of cases, hirsutism is triggered without any hormonal imbalance being involved. "It may be because they inherited hair follicles that are more sensitive to androgens. In addition, drugs that stimulate testosterone production can also result in this hirsutism." continues Dr. Robin.
How to check if I have PCOS?
PCOS is a condition in which not all symptoms are always present. For this reason, some guidelines have been established to be able to identify it. A woman is considered to have PCOS if she meets two of the following characteristics:
No periods (amenorrhea) or irregular periods.
Hyperandrogenism - signs of elevated testosterone levels such as excess hair (hirsutism) or acne.
Presence of cysts in the ovaries on an ultrasound.
Hirsutism is one of the most visible externally. But on many occasions, it happens that women with PCOS are not diagnosed. They assume being overweight, acne, or excess hair as something unique to their body without knowing that it is due to a disease and that there are effective ways to alleviate it.
The first thing you should do if you suspect that you may have PCOS is to see your doctor so that he can do the necessary tests (physical exam, blood test, ultrasound scan, etc.) and can give you a diagnosis. Once you confirm that you have PCOS (or not), you can start working to improve your body's levels.
How do I get rid of facial hair from PCOS?
Whatever the reason for the appearance of excessive hair on a woman’s face, the issue remains embarrassing and worrying for her, so it was necessary to search for ways to reduce or hide this hair as well, the following are some common methods to remove PCOS facial hair.
An easy and quick solution, shaving is a widely used method to get rid of bothersome hairs, especially facial hair. It cuts the hair directly on the surface of the skin, leaving a shadow. And, despite what some people may tell you, it doesn't actually cause the coat to darken or thicken.
However, sometimes the shaving shadow can be seen if the hair is particularly dark or thick. Additionally, shaving should generally be done daily to maintain a hairless appearance. The problem with daily shaving is that it can lead to the development of ingrown hairs on the face. A dull blade can also contribute to this problem. To minimize skin irritation, always use a sharp blade and moisturizer. This article will help you choose the best disposable razor.
Waxing involves applying a thin layer of heated wax to the surface of hairy skin. A cloth is then applied to the wax and held in place until the wax is hardened. The cloth is then removed with a pull tab, which allows the hair to be completely removed from the rod. This can be done using a home hair removal kit purchased at a pharmacy. Unlike shaving, waxing should only be done every three weeks or so.
Although it is effective, waxing can cause redness and swelling in the short term. Depending on the amount of hair to be plucked, it can also be quite painful. Ingrown hairs may also appear.
- Are you afraid of pain? Here are methods of painless hair removal.
Hair removal cream
Hair removal creams are able to dissolve hair using chemicals like calcium thioglycolate or potassium thioglycolate. It is relatively easy to use and only requires a fine application, a short waiting period, and a simple wash.
However, pay attention to the composition of these, in addition to strong odors, they can contain substances that are sometimes harmful to the skin and the environment. Hair removal creams can cause skin irritation in people with sensitive skin if left on for a long time. Results can only last up to two to three days.
Bleaching is a chemical hair removal method, but it is on the way to removing the hair pigments from your hair, making the hair less noticeable. This method is often used for those who have thin and dark facial hair. As facial hair takes 2 to 4 weeks to grow, the effect of bleaching will go away.
The main disadvantage of these products is the harshness of the chemicals, especially if they are used on the face. To avoid this, you should test the cream on a small area of skin and wait at least an hour to see if there is a reaction.
Laser hair removal
During laser hair removal, a qualified dermatologist will apply an intense laser light beam to an area of hairy skin. Although the procedure is not permanent, it can remove hair safely and over a longer period of time. In general, you need at least 6 sessions to achieve the best result. If you decide to go down this route, always find a dermatologist who is very experienced in this technology.
Laser hair removal typically costs $200-$400 for one session. That is freaking expensive! If you have dark-colored hair or fine hair, laser hair removal is recommended. You can expect a slight tingling sensation during the procedure, and there may be some redness and swelling in the short term. Other side effects, although infrequent, include laser hair removal burns, blisters, scabs, and changes in skin pigmentation, most of which are caused by untrained or untrained providers.
- Do you want to know the laser hair removal prices on different body parts? Check how much does laser hair removal cost.
At-home IPL hair removal devices
Are you tired of shaving, plucking, waxing every 1-2 days? Don't want to go out because people always staring at your mustache and beard? Do you think laser hair removal terribly expensive? If so, home IPL hair removal devices, like a DIY version of laser treatment, would be the best option. IPL technology or Intense Pulsed Light is a modern method that used intense flashes of light to remove unwanted hair from the face and body. Unlike other traditional hair removal methods, IPL can destroy the hair root and permanently prevent hair growth. That means you can achieve a long-lasting hair removal result without ingrown hair.
Choose the best IPL hair removal device
Since IPL is safe and has no usage restrictions, there are even IPL devices on the market for home use like MissPeachy. MissPeachy IPL Laser hair removal handset promises you a noticeable hair reduction after 6-8 sessions in just 4 weeks. This FDA-compliant IPL hair removal machine has a higher fluence of 6 J/c㎡ and a longer wavelength of 510nm than others, so it can target the melanin in hair follicles precisely without damaging the surrounding skin. With two different sizes of windows, you can treat your large areas like legs and small facial areas like your upper lip with ease. And it has 7 intensity levels suitable for different sensitive areas. More importantly, Misspeachy can only cost as little as $199 for 10 years of flashes. It offers free shipping worldwide and $20 off your first purchase. If you are not satisfied with the quality of the product, you can ask for the 90-day money-back guarantee.
This technique is not as effective in people with very light, red, or gray hair and in people with dark skin. So first check which skin type you are and which category your hair belongs to before you decide on the treatment. In general, IPL hair removal is very well tolerated and does not require any major follow-up treatment. Small reddened skin or crusts will disappear on their own after a short time. If you opt for smooth legs in the summer months, you shouldn't lie in the sun for too long with no protection. Because UV rays could additionally damage the skin regions, which are already stressed by the treatment. Improper use can cause burns.
During electrolysis, a small needle is inserted into a follicle to deliver an electrical charge, killing the hair down to its root. While this procedure is considered a safe and effective form of permanent hair removal, any hair that is darker or thicker may require multiple treatments. It requires 10-12 sessions to see results.
The procedure itself can be a bit painful for some, although most describe it as a slight tingling sensation. Short-lived redness and tenderness are also common. The only other real hurdle is the cost. Electrolysis is more expensive than laser, which charges $400 per visit. If you decide to resort to electrolysis, seek the services of a licensed electrologist who has passed national testing. You can confirm the status of certification through the American Electrology Association.
Other home remedies for PCOS facial hair
Fortunately, there are some natural ingredients that make it easier to remove hair without causing skin irritation, and which are very easy to use at home without spending too much money.
1. Homemade sugar wax for facial hair
Sugar mixed with water and lemon juice will help cleanse the face. It is also a natural and homemade wax. In addition, the lemon juice helps to lighten the face a little and to get a more even complexion. The three active ingredients together represent an effective way to gently remove hair on the face and other parts of the body.
Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 10 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl. Then apply the wax to the facial hair in the direction of hair growth. Then leave it on for about 20 minutes. After that, quickly pull sugar wax away from your face against the skin. Wash off thoroughly and repeat this process three times a week. As a result, your hair growth should be permanently reduced. But you shouldn't use this mixture on sensitive areas.
2. Hair removal with baking soda
You can also remove facial hair by using baking soda regularly. If your facial hair isn't too thick and long, this very affordable facial hair removal method might be right for you.
To do this, take a teaspoon of baking soda and mix this with two teaspoons of water. Apply the masks to your face and the hairy areas and let it work for 15 minutes. Then wash off the paste with warm water. To see success, you should repeat the process three times a week. However, the visible success only sets in after about three weeks and the annoying facial hair does not always go away. Above all, the baking powder makes the hairs softer and lighter, which makes them less noticeable.
3. Natural hair removal with turmeric mixture
Turmeric mixture is a natural treatment widely used by women in India to eliminate their hair. These methods are inexpensive, easy to perform, and effective. It's up to you to discover the ideal hair removal method for you and make good use of it.
Mix 2 tablespoons of chickpea flour and 1 tablespoon of turmeric. Add a little plain yogurt and mix until it forms a very thick paste. Apply the mixture to areas with hair and leave to act until the mask dries on the skin. Remove with hot water. This method can be done once a week.
How to prevent facial hair from PCOS?
The best way to stop facial hair from PCOS is to resolve the hormonal imbalance. With healthy habits in your diet, physical activity, and medications, your unwanted facial hair will become finer, lighter, and then disappear.
women with hirsutism often need immediate means to minimize the visible effects. Here are a few options that may help you, along with the pros and cons of each:
Mediation treatment options
Depending on the intensity of the symptom, there are pills that can help correct the hormonal imbalance and reduce the number of androgens circulating in the blood.
Among the options currently approved:
Oral contraceptives can help by increasing the level of female hormones while curbing the production and effects of circulating androgens
The anti-androgen drug Aldactone (spironolactone) inhibits the production of testosterone while blocking the receptors for androgenic hormones on the hair follicles
Flutamide is a drug that suppresses the production of androgens without increasing the levels of female hormones. Due to the risk of liver toxicity, it should only be used under the close supervision of a doctor.
As with all medications, there is the potential for side effects. Talk to your doctor to fully understand the benefits and possible consequences of consumption. Many of these medications may be covered by insurance, but check with your provider just in case.
Natural remedies for PCOS facial hair
Several studies show that food and lifestyle play a key role in the development of PCOS. Depending on your type of PCOS, it may be more important to target one or two spots. Here are the tips:
Stabilize your blood sugar level: stabilizing insulin, by choosing a diet with a low glycemic index, is an essential element for a good hormonal balance. Chronically elevated insulin levels also activate inflammation in the body;
Reduce Chronic Inflammation: As stated above, PCOS is often linked to chronic inflammation in the body, and eliminating all pro-inflammatory foods such as lactose, gluten, and refined sugar strongly helps reduce symptoms;
Dare to fat (coconut oil, avocado oil, animal fats such as bacon, duck fat, but also olive oil and ghee): our sex hormones are made up of cholesterol and protein. If you don't eat enough good fats, your body will be unable to produce them.
Take a detox: Women with PCOS are often more sensitive to endocrine disruptors such as plastics, makeup products rich in heavy metals, etc. As if this were not enough, women suffering from hormonal disorders and more specifically PCOS eliminate their toxins badly! So how do you do it? Well, apart from following the most anti-inflammatory diet possible, avoid tobacco, excess alcohol, too many chemicals, and toxic substances both in the body and in household cleaning products;
Favor a food dense in nutrients such as organ meats (real bombs of vitamins and minerals and in particular iron and vitamin A), oily fish (full of Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory effect) and which contain vitamin D ( important for the production of sex hormones), avocados (for good fats) and seafood (for zinc and iodine).
Facial hair is a very normal side effect of PCOS. And, although it goes without saying, there is no harm in repeating it again: there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a beard. If it doesn't bother you, that's great. If so, you have a choice. After all, the important thing is that you be yourself.