What causes facial hair to grow
Facial Hair Removal | 22 October 2017

What causes facial hair to grow?

Hirsutism is the most common condition that causes excess facial hair growth in women. If you are seeing hair growth on your face you are definitely not on your own. Thousands of women are also dealing with this on a daily basis. Although it can be distressing there are many reasons why facial hair may start to grow.  Increased levels of androgens can be a reason why this happens.

The following list contains some of the main causes of hair growth on the face.

  • Hirsutism
  • Genetics/ Hereditary factors
  • Thyroid conditions
  • PCOS
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy

So what are androgens?

Androgens are male hormones but women have a certain amount of them too which is normal.  Some women may start to overproduce androgens causing an imbalance.

Androgens affect hair growth on the face in two ways.

1. Androgen levels in the blood.

Women and men have the exact same amount of hair follicles on the face. The differences in growth patterns are due to hormone levels and how sensitive your follicles are to these hormones. When a woman has high levels of androgens present she may start to see hair grow. Growth can mainly occur around the facial area. But other areas such as the areola, navel, chest and lower back are also common.

2. Sensitivity of follicles which respond to androgens.

Many women will have had their hormone levels checked by a doctor. With the results coming back showing no signs of elevated levels of androgens. This can be frustrating when you are searching for a cause. Another reason for excess hair growth may be that the cells within your follicles have become sensitive to these hormones even though the levels of androgens are normal. Because hormones fluctuate regularly this can be very hard to find an answer for.

How can I find out if I have Hirsutism?

You can find out if you have Hirsutism by arranging to have some blood tests with your GP. Hormone levels in your blood can be checked for any signs of this condition and a treatment plan can be put in place to help control this issue.

We know that this can be a very sensitive subject for most women. You may feel embarrassed to talk about but please don’t be. We successfully treat 100’s of women with this condition every year.  It’s essential you come in for an assessment before treatment so we can check you are suitable. As some facial hair can be very fine and light it’s important for us to see the hair before commencing with treatment.

Can some medications cause facial hair to grow?

Some medications can cause facial hair to grow. They may affect the way your body naturally produces hormones. The contraceptive pill is an example of this. Some women may find that hair growth can increase when they have been put on the pill. For others, they might see the exact opposite happen. If you are experiencing this we would recommend talking to your doctor if you are concerned.

Are there any hormonal conditions that cause excess facial hair growth?

The most common hormonal condition we see is PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). It is a very common condition that can cause facial hair growth.  If you are concerned that you may have this your GP can carry out various blood tests to check this for you. Laser hair removal can be very successful if you have PCOS. In most cases, more treatments may be needed to achieve results. This would be normal for this condition. Generally, you may also need top ups 2-4 times a year.

There are also other conditions such as abnormalities in your adrenal glands or pituitary glands that may cause hormonal imbalances. Again your GP can send you for tests if you are concerned about any of these issues.

Laser works best on hairs that are dark in colour and coarse in texture. Due to the lack of pigment in blond, red, grey and white hairs they will not respond to treatment. If your facial hair is very light in texture this may also not respond to treatment. We will only recommend you start treatment if you are suitable. We recommend you come in to see us for a consultation with growth on your face. This way we can assess your skin and hair and advise you properly.

If you suffer from excess facial hair growth and would like to speak to an expert about facial hair removal please contact us. Our dedicated team of hair removal specialists are on hand to answer any of your questions.