A little hair makeover can change your overall look. A certain hairstyle or hair color can make you look younger or older. Your hair plays a huge role in improving your self-image, but what if your hair problems go beyond the latest hairstyles? What if your hair grows in the most unusual parts of your body? What if your hair keeps shedding excessively?

Many women suffer from hair problems and are curious to know if they are normal or not. If you are one of these women, here are 15 common questions you probably are asking about abnormal hair growth:

1. What are the Common Hair Disorders that Affect Most Women?

alopecia areata
Photo by David71bc / CC BY-SA

Hair disorders in women come in two categories: hair loss and excessive hair growth. Common hair loss disorders include alopecia aerate, telogen effluvium and androgenetic alopecia. Excessive hair growth, on the other hand, primarily consists of hirsutism.

Just a fun fact, some people have trichotillomania, a self-inflicted hair plucking done subconsciously. It is common in children and adolescents. Children may outgrow this habit on their own while adolescents may need psychiatric help.

2. What is a Normal Amount of Hairiness?

Some women do not have to shave their legs or constantly pluck hair on their armpits. Lucky for them, but still unfortunate for you, if you find you’re shaving and plucking often. Some people normally have less hair compared to other people. Women normally grow a stray hair under the chin, on the nipples, around the breasts, or on the beard or mustache area. Peach fuzz or an occasional tiny hair on your face is nothing to worry about.

There are no specific guidelines or rules as to how much hair you should or should not have. A good basis for you to get your hairiness checked will be if it causes you inconvenience or affects your quality of life. You do not have to look naturally like models, but you do not have to look like Chewbacca either. See your doctor if you have uncontrollable hair growth that shaving or waxing does not seem to improve.

3. What Can Cause Excessive Hair Growth?

Excessive hair growth in women is mainly due to the abnormally high levels of androgen or male hormones, such as testosterone, in the body. Your body normally produce androgens, but too much of them can lead to excessive hair growth on unlikely areas, and the development of male characteristics, such as a low deep voice.

Certain medical conditions can make your body produce abnormal levels of androgen. These include:

Adrenal CancerA. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

B. Adrenal Gland Disorders

i. Adrenal Cancer

ii. Adrenal Tumors

iii. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

iv. Cushing Disease

The adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones including androgen. People who suffer from congenital hyperplasia do not have enzymes needed for hormone production, while people with Cushing syndrome have too much cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a hormone, and too much of it might interfere with the production of other hormones.

In addition, certain medications can cause excessive hair growth as a side effect. These include:

a. Anabolic Steroids

b. Minoxidil

c. Cyclosporine

d. Testosterone Replacements

If you experience excessive hair growth for reasons unknown to you, check with your doctor. It may help diagnose an underlying health problem you may not be aware that you have.

4. I Have Heard About Hirsutism. What is it?

HirsutismHirsutism refers to theexcessive growth of hair on areas of the body where women usually do not grow hair or grow fine hair. These include:

i. Upper Lip

ii. Side Burns

iii. Chin

iv. Neck

v. Chest

vi. Abdomen

vii. Back

viii. Pubic Areas

ix. Upper Thighs

It may be hirsutism if the hair that grows in these areas is coarse and black and if they grow rapidly.

You may get hirsutism if you have abnormally high levels of androgen in your body due to polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. PCOS is a chronic condition where benign cysts form in the ovaries, interfering with hormone production. Women with PCOS have irregular menstrual cycles, tend to be infertile, overweight and suffer from moderate to severe acne breakouts.

Hirsutism can also occur with no identifiable cause, also referred to as idiopathic hirsutism. Hair growth is mild and gradual compared to hirsutism due to PCOS.

5. What if I Have Excessive Hair Growth, Yet I Have Normal Testosterone Levels. Do I Have Hirsutism?

Yes, you may be suffering from hirsutism. Hirsutism is mainly due to the hormone testosterone, which stimulates the hair follicle. And, even if you have normal testosterone levels, you may still suffer from hirsutism if your hair follicles are overly sensitive to testosterone. For example, some men are hairier than other men, even if they similar levels of testosterone in the body.

Additionally, your hair follicles can stay active once stimulated by testosterone. You may have your testosterone peak when you were younger, but its effect on your hair follicles lingers.

6. At What Age Does hirsutism Occur?

teenage girlsPolycystic ovarian syndrome and other causes of hirsutism can occur early in life. It can occur in teenage girls who are at the stage of gaining acceptance from other people or who feel they are yet to gain self-acceptance.

7. Is There a Cure For Hirsutism?

Hirsutism is not a life-threatening condition. Problems usually arise for cosmetic reasons and these can have psychological impacts on a person, too. Some women are able to handle hirsutism mildly, while others may find it embarrassing and disabling.

If hirsutism affects your day to day life, you can choose to undergo treatment. But, before you do that, you must undergo a thorough process of diagnosing and evaluating your condition. This will help your doctor come up with the most suitable and effective treatment.

Treatment for hirsutism mainly involves decreasing androgen levels and counteracting its effect on hair growth. Your doctor may prescribe drugs and oral contraceptives to regulate your hormones and stunt hair growth. However, this process may take long because the changes will not be visible for six months, which is the normal life cycle of a hair follicle. Therefore, it can take six months to determine if these drugs work for you.

While waiting for these drugs to take effect, you can mechanically remove your excess hair by shaving, waxing or undergoing laser therapy. To learn more about treatments for hirsutism, check this page out.

8. I Have Hair on My Nipples. Is it Normal?

Many women don’t mind discussing hair problems on most areas, but most are reluctant to admit their issues with nipple hair. Should you be scared of nipple hair? Definitely not. According to experts, about 30 percent of women will get nipple hair. Not so uncommon and unusual, right?

Nipple hair is normal, and it will grow due to hormonal changes women experience during puberty, pregnancy and their menstrual cycles. There is no need to pluck nipple hair unless it makes you feel embarrassed or unconfident. A few strands won’t hurt.

9. How Do I Remove Unwanted Hair?

unwanted hairHirsutism is not a serious disorder, but the excessive hair growth can hugely impact your self-esteem, which may lead to psychological issues.

Even without hirsutism, you can get rid of unwanted hair if you want to, especially in the warmer months when you wear less clothing, leaving more exposed skin. Here are several ways for you to remove unwanted body or facial hair:

Bleaching: Plucking or shaving causes the hair to thicken it; therefore, these are not good ideas for facial hair. If you have hair on the upper lip, bleaching will help you disguise it and make it less noticeable. Hydrogen peroxide is a readily available bleach. Use it with caution to avoid skin irritation.

Shaving: Shaving is good if you have to cover a larger skin area like the legs. The downsides are, shaving can leave stubble and thicken the hair when it grows back. It can also damage the skin as its strips off the outermost layer of the skin.

Threading: This hair removal technique, similar to tweezing, is popular in some parts of Asia. It requires the use of a regular sewing thread.

Waxing: Waxing provides a smoother result than shaving or plucking, but you will have to endure the hot wax.

Plucking: Plucking is good for plucking a few strands on an area, but not for wider coverage. Plucking is also a no-no for facial hair because it can leave scars.

Depilatories: These are creams that remove hair by just applying on the skin without the need for sharp blades. But, depilatories are likely to contain irritants. Apply on a small area first to make sure you do not develop a reaction to it.

Laser Therapy
Photo by Jpalaia / CC BY-SA

Laser Therapy: Laser therapy provides faster and better results. After many sessions, hair regrowth becomes thin and sparse. However, laser therapy may not be an option for you if you have light-colored hair and skin. The pigment in the hair and skin helps transmit laser deep into the hair follicle to interrupt hair growth. Laser therapy may not provide good results on redheads and blondes with fair skin.

Electrolysis: Electrolysis provides the best results because the procedure involves removing hair individually. A registered practitioner will insert a fine needle into the hair follicle to destroy the hair root. Results may last for a long time or can be permanent. Expect the procedure to be costly and time-consuming.

It is important to weigh each methods pros and cons first before doing it, especially if it involves risks.

10. Why is My Hair Thinning? I Though Hair Loss Only Happens in Aging Men?

Thinking that only men, particularly older men, under go hair thinning is wrong. About 40 percent of people who suffer from hair loss are women.

People normally lose hair at about 50 to 100 strands every day. If you see hair on your hairbrush or after finger combing your hair, do not panic. But, if you notice bald patches, the wider gap on the center part or a thinner ponytail you may be losing hair fast.

Hair loss in women can occur for several reasons, such as:

A. Genetics

B. Certain Medical Conditions

C. Nutrient Deficiencies like:

Severe Stressi. Iron deficiency anemia

ii. Vitamin D deficiency

D. Hormonal Imbalance

E. Severe Stress

F. Giving Birth

G. Fungal Infection

H. Tight Hairstyles

I. Frequent Ironing

J. Harsh Chemicals

K. Contraceptive Pills

Hair loss in women not only means losing hair from the follicles. Hair thinning can also result from breakage when your hair is weak and brittle.

11. Is there a cure for hair loss?

Determining the cause of your hair loss is necessary to come up with the most effective treatment.

If your hair loss is due to nutritional deficiencies or as a sign of an underlying medical condition, hair may grow back once you address these causes. For female pattern hair loss, applying minoxidil may help your hair grow back. It has been proven effective to treat hair loss in 25 percent of women who use it for treatment. Topical steroids can stimulate hair growth in women with alopecia areata.

Laser therapy can also encourage hair growth. You might wonder how laser therapy is a cure for hair growth when it can also get rid of unwanted hair. Laser therapy for hair regrowth uses low-energy laser light. This is why it does not stunt growth.

The low-energy laser light stimulates your hair follicles. These laser devices are available in clinics or as hand held devices to use at home. Noticeable improvements may take two to four months.Hair transplant is also possible. It involves relocating hair from other parts of the body to balding sites.

argan oil
Photo by Arnaud 25 / CC BY-SA

For weak hair prone to breakage, you can restore your skin’s health and strength in many ways. Avoid heavy styling and ironing for the meantime. You can try using natural remedies to restore your hair’s health.

One of the popular natural remedies for the hair is the use of argan oil. It is anex tract of the kernels of the argan tree, and the oil is used for both culinary and cosmetic purposes. Argan oil contains vitamin E and healthy fats that help keep your hair healthy.

You can apply argan oil on your hair and leave it on as a conditioner. It protects your hair from damage caused by chemicals from hair products and extreme heat from styling irons. One study showed argan oil may help in hair regrowth. Simply massage two to three drops of argan oil into your scalp, and then apply the remaining oil on your palm on the strands.

12. Does Alopecia Areata Cause Permanent Baldness?

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly targets the hair follicles, just like it is attacking a foreign body, and that results in hair loss.People with alopecia areata may lose hair on the scalp, face or body. In some cases, it may lead to total loss of hair on the scalp or all over the body.

Fortunately, there is a high chance of growing your back with alopecia. You may lose hair on certain parts of the body, lose them again then grow them again. Alopecia is not likely to cause permanent blindness. Treatments are also available to speed up hair growth. There is no cure for alopecia so you can only avail of drugs that improve hair loss.

13. What is the Difference Between Alopecia Areata and Androgenetic Alopecia?

hair lossThe two may contain the same word alopecia, but they are entirely two different types of hair loss. Alopecia areata, as mentioned, is an autoimmune disease that leads to hair loss. Androgenetic alopecia, as the first word implies, it has something to do with the hormone testosterone and is hereditary. Women with androgenetic alopecia tend to lose hair on the top of the scalp. Men, in contrast, lose hair along the front hairline.

14. Is My Hair Loss or Excessive Hair Growth a Sign of a Serious Medical Condition?

If you notice you are losing an unusual number of hairs on a regular basis, or growing them in unusual parts of your body more rapidly, do not hesitate to see your doctor.

Excessive hair loss or hair growth especially when accompanied by other new symptoms may be a sign of an underlying condition. You can do your research, but seek professional medical help, as well. An accurate diagnosis can save you from a lot of trouble.

15. Why Do Women Lose Hair After Giving Birth?

On normal conditions, your hair goes through a cycle of growing phase or anagen, and a resting phase or telogen. However, when your body goes through a lot of stress emotionally and physically, such as suffering from an illness or during pregnancy, some hair, or a lot of hair may change to the resting phase and shed off. Medications and hypothyroidism may also be the cause of telogen effluvium.

Hair loss starts three to six months after experiencing major stress. This is why hair loss does not start during pregnancy, but after giving birth. If due to stress, there is no specific cure for telogen effluvium, but rest assured, your hair will always grow back in time. All you can do is wait and free yourself from stress.

see your doctorThere is no rule as to how much hair you should or should not have. The thickness, volume and amount of hair can vary from person to person. With these answered questions, you’ll get an idea if your hair growth is normal or not, but the main thing is to take note of any sudden changes in your hair.

Any dramatic change can indicate something more serious, so don’t hesitate to see your doctor should you notice anything different. You may even nip potential problems in the bud by receiving an early diagnosis and treatment plan.

PLEASE SHARE: and Skin CareA little hair makeover can change your overall look. A certain hairstyle or hair color can make you look younger or older. Your hair plays a huge role in improving your self-image, but what if your hair problems go beyond the latest hairstyles? What if your hair grows in...Look Your Best With Argan Oil