Combating Facial Hair With PCOS

Androgens are hormones produced by the testes, ovaries, and adrenal glands and are responsible for encouraging masculine characteristics like growth of hair on face and body. Though it is produced in both male and female, males have much higher levels. In women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) there may be excess secretion of androgen which may result in excessive growth of facial or body hair. This condition is also known as Hirsutism. This may be a matter of concern as excessive facial hair can result in poor body image and can affect mental health of the patient lowering their self confidence because of their physical appearance. This can be a trying time for any woman. Here are some ways to get rid of facial hair problems.

Treatment and management for Hirsutism

Hirsutism is a very common condition and can be treated or managed early with the right approach by a qualified medical practitioner (gynaecologist, dermatologist or endocrinologist). The hair growth is usually coarser and thicker than the natural normal hair and may appear on the face, chin, neck, chest, belly inner thighs and back. However identifying the underlying cause is very important to make sure the right treatment is given because conditions like tumors on adrenal or pituitary glands and Cushing’s Syndrome can also cause hirsutism.

Temporary hair removal

For a less severe condition, procedures like plucking, waxing, threading and hair removal creams can help to get rid of facial hair. Bleaching helps lighten facial hair to an extent but may not suit certain skin types because of the chemicals present in the creams. Shaving is another simple and safe method many women opt for but may not be an ideal or satisfying one because of the stubble it leaves and rapid hair growth rate. The doctor may also recommend facial cream with eflornithine hydrochloride to slow the rate of hair growth in combination with these procedures but this may also result in acne for some.


Certain steroids help in treating overactive adrenal glands but come with a hoard of side effects like weight gain, thinning of the skin and bones, and decreased immunity. Hormone pills may help in suppressing release of androgen levels in the ovaries and may cause menopause like symptoms and are complimented with estrogen or progesterone pills. Any medication should be taken only under supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.

Permanent hair removal

Electrolysis is a procedure used for a small area of hair growth where the hair follicle is burnt with a mild current passed through a needle. Laser therapy, though expensive, is the go to treatment for larger areas as it is comparatively less painful or almost painless. However, these therapies work best if they are used in sequel to the medical treatment for the underlying condition causing hirsutism in the first place.

Living with a condition like this on a regular basis can be very challenging. However with the recent body positivity movement gaining momentum, many women all over the world are learning to embrace and accept their body hair and celebrate their looks for what it is.

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Tasneem Akbari Kutubuddin has done her masters in Journalism & Communication and has worked as a senior journalist, editor and columnist for leading publications like The Logical Indian, Deccan Chronicle, Worldwide Media Corporation, The Bridge and Provoke. With Infano, she hopes to create more awareness about women’s health issues. Suffering with Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, she has also been advocating for its awareness through media.

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