Unwanted female facial hair has always caused concern for women who desire to appear more feminine. The appearance of thick dark hairs on the chin and above the upper lip encourages a woman to reach for the tweezers. Hair plucking becomes a daily routine.
Both males and females produce two types of hair—vellus and terminal. Vellus hair is the soft, fine, usually short and “colourless” hair that covers most of our body and gives it that “hairless” appearance. Terminal hair is dark, long and coarse. Terminal facial hair is the “unwanted” type.
Removing Terminal Hair
Terminal hair growth is controlled by androgen, a steroid hormone. While androgen levels are highest in men, both women and men are affected because it is produced by the adrenal glands and the ovaries. As more androgen is produced, terminal hair grows thicker and faster. With the increase in androgen, vellum hair can also turn into terminal hair.
Normally, one’s androgen levels are controlled by one’s genetics. As women age, their female hormone levels may decrease causing an imbalance in favor of androgen. Therefore, it is not usual that darker female facial hair is common in older females. An imbalance can also be caused by certain drugs such as oral contraceptives.
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