Skin Academy > Hair & Hormones

Hair & Hormones

The information within the Skin Academy website describes clinical conditions of unwanted hair growth, their potential causes and how to seek medical help and advice on the symptoms and concerns typically associated with hirsutism.Patterns of body hair vary widely and are largely determined by our genes. However, excessive and unwanted hair on the face or body in women – in places where hair is more usually found in men – can be distressing and many women are keen to seek a solution to removing or reducing such unwanted hair growth.

Hirsutism is the term used for excess facial and body hair growth in women. Hirsutism typically refers to excessive or unwanted hair growth in a pattern more usually seen in men – on the upper lip, chin, tummy, extending from the groin area, or on the chest or back.

There is another medical term that is used to describe a slightly different form of unwanted hair growth – hypertrichosis – this is excess growth of hair at any site in the body and can occur in either men or women.

What is considered normal hair growth and pattern for a woman and what is considered as “hirsutism” depends on factors such as culture and race.

Unwanted facial hair is usually the main concern to hirsute women.

Around a quarter of middle-aged women have some unwanted facial hair. Additionally, women from certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop hirsutism. These include women of Middle Eastern, South Asian and Mediterranean descent.

Many women do not realise that effective treatment options for unwanted hair are available.
In some cases, hirsutism may be as a result of an underlying medical disorder. This can easily be ruled out with a medical history and some simple blood tests (see section on Causes for more detail).

Hirsutism is not a disease and it is rarely caused by a serious illness, but it can be worth seeking medical advice on possible underlying causes, factors that may be causing altered hair growth and the best clinically-proven options for treatment.