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Excessive Hair Growth

Excessive hair growth can be very embarrassing condition deal with. The occurrence of excessive hair growth atypical for the person’s age, sex, and race is known as hypertrichosis. In comparison, in women and, excessive hair growth on the androgen sensitive areas of the body such as face, chest, arms and back is known as hirsutism. This condition in women is caused by an excess of male hormones known as androgens.

What are the causes of hypertrichosis?

The causes of hypertrichosis are generally poorly understood. In some cases, the condition is congenital, and in others, it develops later in life. Congenital forms of hypertrichosis are due to the presence of genetic mutations, and are very rare. Acquired forms of hypertrichosis are more common, and can result from side effects of drug use, cancer and in some cases, eating disorders.

What is the cause of hirsutism?

In contrast to hypertrichosis, in women, hirsutism is the presence of hair on parts of the body where usually hair is absent or minimal. This is caused by a rise in male hormone or androgen levels and manifestly predominantly as facial hair. Hirsutism in women is a clinical manifestation of an underlying disease rather than the disease itself. Some of the underlying causes of androgen imbalance in women are:

  1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  2. Cushing’s Disease
  3. Insulin Resistance
  4. Obesity
  5. Adrenal gland cancer or von-hippel Lindau disease.

Although both hypertrichosis and hirsutism are not harmful per se to patients, they have a high psychosocial impact. Patients often suffer from anxiety, depression, and social isolation due to excessive hair growth. Excessive hair growth treatment is often necessary for these patients to correct the problem in order to restore their emotional wellbeing and self-esteem. Excessive hair growth treatment should be sought from a well-established dermatologist or cosmetologist. Excessive hair growth treatment includes hypertrichosis treatment and hirsutism treatment.

Hypertrichosis treatment-. Excessive hair growth treatment essentially involves the temporary or permanent removal of the unwanted hair from the patient’s body. Hypertrichosis treatment can be temporary in the form of conventional hair removal techniques like waxing, bleaching or shaving. Other forms of depilatory creams can also be prescribed as hypertrichosis treatment. A formulation containing eflornithine has been proven effective in the case of removing facial hair in women. More permanent methods of hair removal include electrolysis and laser hair removal. In electrolysis, needles are inserted into the hair follicles and a current is passed in order to inactivate the hair follicles, and prevent new hair from growing. In laser hair removal, minute pulses of laser light are directed into the skin. These laser pulses destroy the resident hair follicles and thereby, lead to permanent removal of hair.

Hirsutism treatment – Unlike hypertrichosis treatment, hirsutism treatment is focussed on identifying the underlying cause of the hirsutism, and treating the condition. Since hirsutism is usually caused by an imbalance in androgen levels in the female body, hirsutism treatment may involve medication to balance the levels of androgens in the body. These medications include spironolactone, metformin, flutamide and cyproterone acetate. Women may also benefit from taking oral contraceptive pills, and they have been reported to improve hirsutism. The cosmetic component of hirsutism treatment involves hair removal by temporary or permanent means.