What are the causes of excess hair?

Laser hair removal

Understanding the reasons behind excessive hair growth and what you can do to treat it.

Excessive hair growth – otherwise known as hirsutism – can be a difficult condition to deal with, but it's actually more common than you might think. According to a 2010 study, hirsutism affects around 5-10% of women.  

There are a number of options available for treating the symptoms of excessive hair growth, so we're breaking down some of the causes behind this condition and how it can be treated. 

Symptoms of hirsutism 

While all women have facial and body hair, hirsutism refers to a condition where the hair growth is thicker, darker and coarser than usual.  

It occurs in areas where men typically grow hair and women usually have fine or lightly coloured hair, such as the face, stomach, chest, lower back and others.  

Causes of hirsutism 

Excessive hair growth can happen for a variety of different reasons.  

One cause is an imbalance of hormones, where more male androgens (such as testosterone) are produced. 

Sometimes hirsutism can also occur because hair follicles are more sensitive to testosterone, even if it's present in normal amounts. 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - a separate condition where cysts form on the ovaries - can also cause hirsutism. 

Your family history and ethnicity can also affect whether you're more likely to have excessive hair growth. Hirsutism can be more common among women of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or Asian descent. 

Treatment options 

While excessive hair growth is typically a long-term condition, there are treatments that can offer effective results. 

Shaving, waxing or depilatory creams can help remove the hair for a short period of time but will need to be used constantly to achieve the same results. 

Laser hair removal is a more permanent option, using targeted light beams to disable the cells involved in hair growth. This treatment works under the skin to produce long-lasting results, but not everyone is suitable and the number of treatments needed to remove the hair can vary from person to person. 

For more information, we'd highly recommend booking a free consultation to learn more about your options. 

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