Unwanted facial hair, also known as hirsuitism, occurs due to an excess of male hormones in the body. In women, facial hair can be considered unaesthetic and many women with this problem would like to get rid of the excess hair.

Types of Facial Hair

There are 2 types of facial hair:

  • Vellus, also known as peach fuzz, is a soft hair, typically not visible
  • Terminal hair, which is darker and coarse

Causes of Facial Hair in Women

In women, the facial terminal hair is due to an excess of male hormones (testosterone). This can happen if the patient has a hormonal imbalance or goes through menopause.

Other causes of increased testosterone levels include:

  • Polycystic ovaries
  • Adrenal gland dysfunction
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Obesity

Women that come from families with darker hair (i.e. Mediterranean or Jewish) may have more facial hair.

Treatment Options for Unwanted Facial Hair in Women

If there is an underlying condition causing the growth of unwanted facial hair, this condition must be treated. Hormonal therapy may work well in balancing the hormones in the patient’s body. There are a few inexpensive cosmetic options such as waxing, discoloration with peroxide, tweezing or shaving the hair, which have short term effects, but offer a quick fix.

Other cosmetic facial hair removal options that have more durable effects include the laser hair removal and electrolysis, which will weaken the hair and often change the color of the hair, so that it is less disturbing.