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Every woman has a certain amount of body hair, but there are those who unfortunately suffer from excess body hair. This isn't about those post-winter hairy legs that have been hidden away in jeans, that's a personal choice. Instead, it is women who for a variety of reasons grow excess hair in areas of their body, especially the face.
Excess body hair is called hirsutism, and it is when dark and coarse hairs grow excessively on the chin, chest, abdomen, above the lip or on the back. The facial hair in particular resembles that of the growth on a man's face, which can lead to ridicule, embarrassment and shame. So why does this happen? The most common cause is polycystic ovarian syndrome, a condition where multiple cysts form on the ovaries and upset the hormone balance. Sometimes hirsutism is purely hereditary, meaning it often runs in families. Often the cause is unknown, but some diseases and conditions should be ruled out, such as tumors of the adrenal gland, cancer of the ovary, Cushing's Syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Another cause can be a side effect from certain medications.
If there is no known underlying cause, it is often recommended that the woman tries to lose weight. Excess hair growth is quite common in overweight women, and by losing the weight the growth of the hair can be reduced.
Some women prefer to bleach the excess hair. This can be easier than trying to remove the hair in some cases and is relatively simple and safe to do. There are many products available for bleaching facial hair in particular, but it is important to try a small area of skin first to check for any reaction to the product.
Shaving is a popular way of removing hair, whether it is with a blade razor or an electric one. There are even shaving creams specially designed for women and their skin. Using a razor is fairly simple, and the only risks involved are tiny cuts or skin irritation. Despite the myths, shaving does not make the hair grow back thicker, but it can cause it to grow back looking darker making it more obvious, so it is not the best method for those with excess hair.
In the last twenty years or so the use of wax has become increasingly popular. In the beginning it was a treatment that was only performed in beauty salons, but now it is readily available for home use. Waxing is effective, but can be rather painful, and eventually the hair will grow back. Make sure you don't do any waxing just before you plan on going out, as the skin will be red and a little swollen.
Another form of hair removal that can be done at home is the use of depilatory creams and lotions. Generally these involve spreading the cream in a thick layer on the hair, leaving it for 5 minutes or so, and then rinsing it off. These creams usually have an unpleasant odor, and they can irritate the skin, especially those with sensitive skin. Also, it may take a few applications to be successful.