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Excessive Hair - Information, Causes and Treatment

Hirsutism is excessive hair growth that generally occurs in the midline of the body. When this is associated with recession of hairline, deepening of the voice, loss of female body shape, and the development of male pattern pubic hair it is called virulism.

Hirsutism can range from a few dark chin hairs to a miniature mustache and sideburns to a full beard and hairy chest. Many women have what they perceive to be excess hair growth. In reality, the pattern of hair growth may be normal. Ethnic variations due exist; African Americans are less susceptible to hirsutism because they have fewer hair follicles per surface area than Caucasians.

Excessive hair growth in women is usually an undesirable symptom. It can often be associated with infertility or irregular menstruation due to anovulation, but many times it occurs with no menstrual or ovulatory disturbance.

There are two types of hairs,

  • Vellus hairs - are short, fine nonpigmented hairs that have not responded to hormones.
  • Terminal hairs - are long, coarse and pigmented hairs responsive to hormonal influence.

Excess androgen hormones make terminal hairs heavier and thicker. Sometimes they can also make the fine vellus hairs convert to terminal hairs. Once the vellus hairs convert, lowering the hormonal levels will not make them go back to fine, vellus hairs. Once that happens, removal of the entire pilosebaceous unit by dilapatory creams, electrolysis or laser heating is the only way stop the excess growth.


Excessive hair growth in women is usually from too much male hormone androgen. A common cause is polycystic ovarian syndrome. In most cases, however, the specific cause is never identified. It tends to run in families. In general, hirsutism is a harmless condition. But many women find it bothersome, even embarrassing.

The main causes includes:-

  • Tumor or cancer of the adrenal gland.
  • Tumor or cancer of the ovary.
  • Cushing's syndrome.
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

A number of things can cause excessive hair loss. For example, about 3 or 4 months after an illness or a major surgery, you may suddenly lose a large amount of hair. This hair loss is related to the stress of the illness and is temporary.


The important treatments for excessive hairs are as:-

  • Waxing: It is the one of the oldest methods of temporary hair removal, it is also the least popular. It is most often used for the removal of hair from the upper lip or chin. Usually it takes several weeks for new growth to become evident.
  • Pumice stones: It is used for temporary hair removal, they are used most often for removing rough skin on heels and elbows. Rubbing pumice over the skin generates mechanical friction, which wears off hair at the skin surface.
  • Shaving: This can be done by electric razor or by hand. The secret is to use a sharp blade every time. There are throwaway, curved razors that give the equivalent of two or three dozen smooth shaves.
  • Electrolysis: This method electrolysis destroys the hair root at the bottom of the follicle and loosens the hair, which is then removed from the follicle with tweezers.