Will Laser Hair Removal Work on Women Facial Hair?
Excess facial or body hair (hirsutism) is an embarrassing condition for many women. While hair growth might be genetic or even caused by medication, excessive male hormones and hair growth are linked in women. Laser hair removal is currently the best option for removing dark hair in multiple facial or body areas, but does it work on hair growth caused by these hormones?
Hormones and Hair Growth: Laser hair Removal May Not Work
Before undergoing laser hair removal, women with excessive facial or body hair should determine if there is a hormonal imbalance. A medical evaluation is important, examining whether growth is sudden, if there are problems, such as acne and obesity, or if there is a family tendency for hirsutism. In some patients with hormonal imbalance, laser treatments can stimulate increased hair regrowth or the laser treatments may remove the existing hair, but the excess male hormones will stimulate regrowth quickly. The good news is that hormonal imbalance is treatable with medication, or in some cases surgery. If any of these concerns apply to you learn more about hormonal imbalance and excess hair growth before considering laser hair removal.
Causes of Excessive Hair Growth:
• Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): This is a common cause of unwanted hair growth. Other symptoms include acne, irregular menstrual periods, difficulty losing weight, and diabetes. Pelvic ultrasound shows cysts on the ovaries.
• Tumors or diseases of the adrenal gland: The adrenal gland produces DHEAS, a type of androgen or male hormone, as well as other hormones. Diseases of the adrenal gland that cause excess hair growth include Cushing Syndrome and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.
• Medications: Oral cortisone, phenytoin, minoxidil, and testosterone are medications that cause excess hair growth.
• Familial: Excess hair growth in women can be genetic and not associated with excess male hormone. The exact cause is unknown.
• Post menopause: After menopause women have a relative decrease in estrogen and increase in testosterone. This may cause a moderate increase in dark facial hair.
Evaluation of Hormones and Hair Growth
Depending on the symptoms you experience there are lab and radiology tests that can determine the exact cause. Some of the blood tests that may be done are:
• Serum testosterone
• 17 OH progesterone
• ACTH stimulation test
If there is suspicion of PCOS, a pelvic ultrasound may be necessary. Other radiology tests such as CT or MRI may be done if there is suspicion of an adrenal tumor.
Treatment for Hormonal Health Issues
⁃ PCOS: There are several medications that will reduce excess hair growth. Oral contraceptives are prescribed to suppress female testosterone produced by the ovaries. Spironolactone is often prescribed with birth control pills to suppress DHEAS or adrenal testosterone. For patients with diabetes or pre-diabetes, metformin is used to control excess insulin. When the hormonal issues are normalized, patients with PCOS can achieve successful laser hair removal treatments.
⁃ Hirsutism with normal Hormones: Oral contraceptives and/or spironolactone may still be helpful in reducing regrowth of facial or body hair. This can lead to less regrowth after laser hair removal.
⁃ Post Menopause Facial Hair: Low dose hormone replacement, either oral or topical may decrease facial hair regrowth
Laser Hair Removal, Hormones and Hair Growth
Laser hair removal does not work well for women with hormonal imbalances. For these individuals the results are temporary, unless the underlying problem is treated. When the hormonal imbalance is treated, laser hair removal treatments can begin and excellent results can be achieved.
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