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HORMONES AND UNWANTED HAIR
by Geoffrey Redmond, MD

FACIAL AND BODY HAIR

Medical Terms for Extra Hair
Hirsutism
refers to increased hair in the so-called sexual distribution. Sexual distribution simply means skin areas on which men and women have different amounts of hair. Hair growth on these areas is due to the effect of testosterone on the hair follicle. As I have just mentioned, hirsutism can affect chin, upper lip, sideburn area, neck, chest, abdomen and pubic region as well as upper thighs.

Hypertrichosis refers to extra hair on other areas and which is not caused by testosterone.  Areas which can be affected by hypertrichosis include the forehead, upper cheeks or, in the case of prepubertal children, anywhere on the body. Hair on the forearms and lower legs can be hormonal or non-hormonal. More than mild hypertrichosis is uncommon.  Certain infrequently used drugs can cause it, for example, cyclosporin, used to prevent transplant rejection.

The dark, stiff opaque hairs found with hirsutism are called terminal hairs. Very light, fine hairs which are barely visible are termed vellus. With testosterone stimulation vellus hairs develop into terminal ones. Sometimes the vellus hairs start to become more noticeable but are still fine – a situation colloquially referred to as “peach fuzz.” This sort of hair can appear at or after menopause.

Almost all women concerned about increased hair growth have hirsutism, not hypertrichosis.

<- Previous      Next ->

How Much Hair Is Normal
Medical Terms For Extra Hair
Ethnic Variations In Facial And Body Hair
What Causes Increased Hair
Lab Tests For Increased Hair
I Have Too Much Hair But My Hormone Tests Are Normal – How Can This Be?
Other Reasons For Hirsutism With Normal Testosterone
Treatments For Increased Hair
Medications For Increased Hair
Hope For Women With Unwanted Hair

 

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