How is hirsutism treated?
Treatment depends on personal preference. Hair growth causes no physical harm. The decision to remove or reduce hair varies from person to person.
Methods to remove or reduce unwanted hair include:
Reading: Hair on upper back female
- Shaving. This is a way to remove hair with thin blades moved across the skin. Hair will start growing back right away, so shaving needs to be repeated often.
- Depilatory lotion. This is a type of hair removal done with chemicals put on the skin. It softens hair above the skin so it can be wiped away.
- Waxing. Hot or cold wax can be used to pull out hair from the root. This treatment needs to be done every 2 to 3 weeks.
- Bleaching. Chemicals can lighten the color of the hair and make it less easy to see.
- Electrolysis. A very thin needle is put into a hair follicle. Electricity is sent through the needle. This damages the hair follicle. This method is done over several sessions. This can reduce and remove hair for months or longer.
- Laser hair removal. A special laser is pointed at the skin. The light from the laser is absorbed by color (pigment) in the hair and destroys the hair. This works best on people with dark hair and light skin. This method is done over several sessions. This can reduce and remove hair for months or longer.
- Medicated cream. Skin cream with eflornithine can slow hair growth. Results show up in 6 to 8 weeks. The hair will regrow in about 8 weeks if you stop using the cream.
Other medicines can reduce the hormones that cause hair growth. It can take 6 months or longer for you to see results from these medicines. This is because hair grows, rests, falls out, and regrows in cycles that last for months. And not all hairs are in the same part of the cycle at the same time. Because of this, treatments that affect the hair you have now may need to be repeated over time. Medicines that can change hormones to affect hair growth include:
- Birth control pills. These are different kinds of hormone pills that prevent pregnancy. They can reduce the amount of androgens in your body. Most women will notice a change in body hair growth when taking birth control pills.
- Antiandrogen medicine. This type of medicine can reduce your body’s androgen levels. Or it may stop the effects of androgens on hair follicles. The most common type is spironolactone. The medicines can cause birth defects, so a woman must use birth control while taking them.
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Other factors that can lessen excess hair growth include:
- Treating another condition. Treating disorders of the pituitary gland, adrenal gland, or thyroid gland can lessen excess hair growth.
- Weight loss. In some women, losing weight can reduce androgen levels and cause hair growth to slow.
- Aging. Women age 30 and older have decreasing androgen levels. Hair growth may lessen over time.
Talk with your healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.
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