PCOS is difficult enough to live with, and some of its symptoms such as facial hair make it more distressing. What causes PCOS facial hair, and what can be done about it? Let’s tackle this issue at length in this article.Contents:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is characterised by an imbalance in your hormones where your body produces an abnormal amount of male hormones called androgens. This gives rise to problems with ovulation and menstrual cycles and PCOS symptoms such as facial hair growth.
This type of facial hair growth in women is called hirsutism. Here, thick, dark or coarse hair grows on your face and other areas on the body such as your chest, back, upper arms or abdomen.
Androgens are male hormones that stimulate male characteristics including deepening of your voice, male-pattern baldness, increase in muscle mass, and excess hair growth.
While all women have vellus hair or thin hair (peach fuzz) on their face, women with PCOS have higher than normal levels of androgens and thus develop darker and thicker hair on their face and body like the hair found on the scalp, underarms, and genital areas.
Androgen-sensitive areas of hair growth include:
It is important to note that PCOS is not the only cause of hirsutism, but it is one of the most common causes. Around 70% to 80% of PCOS patients develop hirsutism.
The treatment and management of PCOS facial hair involve multiple options. Your doctor will analyse your symptoms before planning the right kind of treatment for you.
For PCOS-related facial hair growth, treatment methods include:
Losing even a little bit of weight, as less as 5% of your body weight, can lower your androgen levels and help control excessive facial hair growth.
Hormonal birth control pills help regulate the hormonal imbalance in PCOS. For managing PCOS, doctors generally use combination birth control pills that contain two hormones. These hormones are usually oestrogen, and a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin.
This modality helps increase the amount of oestrogen (female sex hormone) levels in your body and lowers the level of testosterone (male sex hormone). As the hormone levels gradually normalise, it improves PCOS symptoms such as facial hair growth.
Anti-androgenic medicines block the effect of androgens such as testosterone. They do this by binding to proteins called androgen receptors. This can help reduce facial hair growth, and other PCOS symptoms such as hair loss on your scalp, the growth of body hair, and acne.
It is important to consult your doctor before starting on these medications because of their possible side effects such as birth defects.
Eflornithine is a prescription medication in topical form, designed specifically for excessive facial hair in women. It is applied directly to the affected area of your face. It is important to note that Eflornithine can help slow down the growth of new hair but does not get rid of existing hair.
There are two types of permanent hair removal: electrolysis and laser treatment. During electrolysis, a very fine needle is inserted into the hair follicle. A mild electric current is sent through the needle to permanently destroy the hair follicle’s ability to produce hair.
Laser treatments may be used on large areas of the body. During laser hair treatment, a beam of highly concentrated light (laser) is passed through the skin to the hair follicle to destroy it and prevent hair from growing. Laser hair removal needs multiple sittings to work.
Self-care methods such as plucking, shaving, waxing, and chemical depilation can be used for PCOS facial hair removal. These methods, along with bleaching can temporarily remove or reduce the visibility of unwanted facial hair and reduce the psychological distress assoc
It is not always possible to prevent facial hair growth with PCOS. You can manage the condition well with healthy lifestyle changes and medications that help balance your hormone levels. If you do not have facial hair with PCOS, these steps may reduce your risk of developing it.
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