Unwanted hair – hypertrichosis

Not all extra hair on a woman is hormonal. Some have “hypertrichosis” instead. Either way, laser or IPL hair removal is your best way forward if there is at least some pigment in your hair.

Hypertrichosis describes the situation in which a woman has more hair than she wants but the distribution and form of the hair is not of a specifically male pattern. Typically, the hair is of a fine vellus type, short and wispy, and the hair may be seen around the forehead or over the cheeks, perhaps on the neck. There may be fine downy hair over the shoulders or over the abdomen. Indeed, hypertrichosis hair may occur anywhere, but the key here is that the hair is fine and there tends to be an even coverage in the affected area as opposed to the often sharply demarcated hair patterns of hirsutism.

Hypertrichosis has a lot to do with genetics, and a lot to do with fashion, and varying perceptions of what constitutes a “normal” hair distribution. In some parts of the world the local women develop very little body hair. In others, normal body hair growth is more substantial. So, what looks like normal hair growth in one country may look excessive in another country.

Regardless of whether it is biologically normal or not, hypertrichosis is well worth treating if someone is aware of having what they consider to be excessive hair.

If the hair is dark and the skin reasonably fair, laser or IPL treatments are worth trying. Results with hypertrichosis do not come as easily as they do with coarse hair because fine hairs do not pick up as much of the laser/IPL light, so do not get as hot, so do not damage their follicles quite as effectively. Hence, reductions come more slowly. Nonetheless, many patients like the prolonged period of hair control that comes with laser and IPL treatments, and choose to come into the practice from time to time to keep hair growth suppressed.

(See general information about hair removal)