I’m a woman and I’ve got whiskers! 

Hair doesn’t always behave, and often appears in places where we don’t want it.

But why is it on my chin?

First a little background…

Did you know we’re born with every hair follicle we’ll ever have?

And did you know those hair follicles are distributed all over our body – except for our feet and hands (unless, you’re a hobbit).  

And over time our baby hair (known as vellus hair) turns into terminal hair (our thick, coarser hair) usually visible on our head, pubic area and underarms. For men that can also mean body and facial hair.

But what happens when you’re a woman and you see unusual hair growth on your face?

Hirsutism (the clinical name) is a condition where women have unnecessary and unwanted body and facial hair. The pattern of growth in hirsutism is similar to the growth of hair in males.

There are several reasons why women could be experiencing excessive and unwanted hair on their face.

  1. Genetics

This one you can blame on your parents.  It’s not a topic that would come up around the dinner table however if Mum and/or Grandma felt a bit spikey when you gave them a kiss….

And then there’s…

  1. Race

Women from certain ethnic groups such as the Indian sub-continent or Mediterranean countries are more likely to have unwanted hair growth than women from Anglo, European or East Asian origin.

  1. Hormonal Imbalance

The most common type of hormonal imbalance causing hirsutism in women is polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.  While PCOS is a common disorder it needs to be diagnosed by your doctor. Once you have a definitive diagnosis your hair reduction program can be maintained through a variety of methods.

  1. Medications

Some medications may cause hirsutism these include;

  • Testosterone
  • Cyclosporine
  • Anabolic steroids

Birth control pills often influence androgen levels and other drugs used to treat to seizures, migraines, schizophrenia, high blood pressures and headaches may increase hair production. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist for potential side effects of any medication. Once again your hair removal methods will be influenced by your medications.

 Remedies and treatments

There are many short-term remedies such as depilatory creams, waxing, shaving and plucking. While the result is immediate your hair will return. Plus, there’s the added problems of..

  • Shaving Rash
  • Ingrown Hairs
  • Folliculitis
  • Skin irritation (from depilatory creams)
  • Scarring (over plucking and tweezing can result in permanently scarred skin)

Long term treatments include…

Thermal Light-Based treatments such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or Laser offer real solutions for permanent hair reduction.

IPL successfully reduces and permanently removes unwanted hair by a process called “selective photothermolysis”.

When the pigment in your hair follicle absorbs the IPL light, energy is converted into heat, resulting in the thermal damage to the and hair follicle and papilla (where your hair actively grows).

Electrolysis can also treat unwanted facial hair and can, with perseverance, treat grey hair.

Any permanent hair removal program will need multiple treatments. The number of treatments you need varies and depends on several variables including hair colour and skin colour. And while treatments will help any underlying hormonal health issues will continue hair growth.

Before any hair removal program, you should have a comprehensive consultation and patch test with a trained IPL technician.