What is Excess Hair?
Excess hair involves having more hair that one is comfortable with in various areas of the body. It can affect both men and women. One category of excess hair is hirsutism, which affects only women and causes male-like patterns of hair on the individual. While not a life-threatening condition, excess hair can cause emotional stress, and many seek out treatment for the condition. In rare cases, excess facial or body hair may indicate an underlying medical condition.
Signs and Symptoms of Excess Hair
Signs of excess hair vary from patient to patient. Some common signs include:
- Hair on the face, back or chest on a woman
- Thick hair on the arms, legs or upper back
In women, the signs of hirsutism can involve several other symptoms, including a deepening voice, acne, balding and increased muscle mass.
What Causes Excess Hair?
Having excess hair is usually hereditary. As one could inherit a gene for red hair, one might also have a hereditary tendency to grow excess hair. Hirsutism is different and is typically caused by hormonal imbalances. In rare cases, this condition can be triggered by a tumor near the adrenal gland or ovaries. Some medications can cause hirsutism as well.
How Excess Hair is Treated
The two most common procedures for treating excess hair are laser therapy and electrolysis. Both of these techniques endeavor to stop the hair follicles from growing by addressing the root of each hair. In cases of hirsutism, a patient may require medication, including oral contraceptives, anti-androgens and topical creams that can slow hair growth. Creams are typically used in tandem with laser therapy to get the best results.