Excess and unwanted hair is a common problem. Women frequently experience this condition on the face, especially the upper lip or eyebrow area, at the bikini line, under their arms or on their legs. Men often have unwanted hair on their back or chest, between their eyebrows or on other parts of their face.
In many cases excessive hair growth runs in families. Race can also be a factor. Asians and blacks are more prone to having excess facial hair than Whites. Women of Mediterranean and the Middle East descent are more likely to have unwanted hair than women who have a Scandinavian background.
Hormones also play a role. Some people experience unwanted or excess hair from the time they reach puberty; others find it to be a condition that gets worse with age.
Some women experience additional hair growth during pregnancy or menopause. The colour and thickness of naturally growing hair is mostly determined by heredity. For example, if the women in your family have dense, dark, facial hair growth, you may as well.
THE AGING PROCESS AND HAIR GROWTH
In addition to heredity, another reason unwanted hair may begin to grow in women is the natural aging process. Every woman has a normal amount of male hormones (called "androgens") in her body. As women age, the body produces more of these androgens. Androgens may cause beard and moustache growth in men. In some women, they may cause an increase in terminal hair growth on the chin, upper cheeks or neck area, as they grow older.
UNDERLYING MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND HAIR GROWTH
Though heredity or age causes most unwanted hair, some hair growth can be linked to an underlying medical condition. Some medical conditions can cause an increase in androgen production, in turn causing unwanted body hair. One cause of excess androgens in the body is obesity. Fat retains androgen, so the more overweight a person is, the more androgen is kept in the body, potentially causing some male-patterned hair growth.
Other medical causes for excessive hair growth can be disease, such as polycentric ovary syndrome, or hormonal fluctuations due to pregnancy or menopause.
Some androgen-induced unwanted body hair that grows in a traditionally male pattern (like a moustache and beard) is referred to by doctors as "hirsutism." Androgen-induced hirsutism can be caused by heredity, or by an underlying medical condition.