Causes of Too Much Facial Hair Growth in Women

A condition of when women have too much /excess facial hair growth is medically called hirsutism. It is also often characterized by excessive hair growth on other areas of the bodies. It can affect both women and men. But many times, it can be a problem for women. How do you get it and what are the causes?

How much facial hair is normal for a woman?

The normal amount of facial and body hairs for women can vary. But in general, most of them usually only has peach fuzz, or fine hair on the chest, chin, above lips, back, or abdomen.

Most women can experience some changes with their facial hair. Experts believe that it may be correlated with the hormonal changes as the age.

The hormonal changes can affect the life cycle of hair follicles. Even it may also cause changes in hair type that will grow.

If the subtle of hair at age 40 is compared at age 20, most women will notice that it increases with age. While it is usually a part of aging, it can be bothersome because can be a cosmetically disturbing facial spot.

In men, androgens (male hormones) can play a key role in triggering the male body to make some facial hairs such as beards or mustache. Normally, the female body produces lower levels of this hormone than the male body.

But at menopause, the production of this male hormone can change. As a result, you may have mild increase level in your facial hair.

In a few women, the growth of hair on the face can be more dense than average. However medically, the term of ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ for female facial hair is commonly considered into a subject whether or not it points to a certain health condition.

image_illustration109Some women with a good amount of hair on the face are healthy and not related with any health problem. For instance, some families or ethnic groups tend to have facial hair than others. In other words, having heavy facial hair is not always a sign of a problem.

But sometime the excessive hair growth also can point to a health problem. As mentioned before, there is a condition called hirsutism.

However, excessive growth of hair is not the single symptom of hirsutism. It can come with other unusual symptoms such as cessation of menstrual period and change in voice (deepening of the voice). So, too much facial growth may not be considered as a disorder if it is not followed with other symptoms [1].

Generally, why do men have facial hair and women don’t?

Actually, both men and women can have hair on the face, but typically it is more likely to occur in men than in women. The key reason is the production of hormone called androgen.

Normally, women should produce lower levels of androgens than men. But a few women (particularly those with hirsutism) can produce it higher than normal which then cause too much hair growth on the body and face.

What are the symptoms of hirsutism?

Having some fine facial hair (almost invisible) in women is not commonly considered as a problem, and many women can have it.

But if it comes with coarse, dark hairs on the unusual sites of the skin in women (such as back, abdomen, chest, certain spots on the face ‘like on the chin or above the lips’), it may be a symptom of hirsutism [2].

Again, excessive hair growth is not the only symptom of hirsutism. Many times, it can be followed with other signs and symptoms, as noted before.

Other symptoms may include:

  1. Loss in feminine, especially loss in femininity in the body shape.
  2. Increasing masculinity, such as enlarged clitoris, balding, enlarged muscles of the shoulders, or changes in voice (deepening voices), as noted before.
  3. Changes in the period of menstruation which then eventually may end with cessation of menstruation.
  4. Acne flare-ups. This symptom may be one of consequences of menstrual period problem in the point ‘3’.

In women, what are the causes of having too much facial hair?

Unfortunately, the exact cause of hirsutism is not clear yet, however there are some theories.

The good news, though it is considered as disorder and can be very bothersome for women, but it is usually harmless. However, though it is often not severe, it may be triggered by certain health condition (such as Cushing’s syndrome) that can be serious [3].

Cushing’s syndrome is a kind of hormonal disorder, and excess hair growth in women is one of the major symptoms. Other common symptoms are thinning skin, high blood sugar (diabetes), hypertension (frequently high blood pressure), and obesity (particularly around the middle part of the body) [4].

Experts theorize that hirsutism may run in families. In other words, if you have a close family member with it, you may be at higher risk than others to develop and have the same problem.

There are some possible factors and reasons that can make a female body produce high level of androgens (the key reason that may cause hirsutism). These include: