Facial hair growth is a common symptom of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. PCOS is caused by an imbalance of androgens, the male hormones, that hampers ovulation and disrupts the menstrual cycle.
Excessive hair growth is a result of increased androgen levels, and it can be distressing for affected women. Facial hair, characterized by thick, dark, and coarse hair growth on the chin, upper lip, and cheeks can affect self-confidence and cause social anxiety.
In this article, we will explore how to reduce facial hair growth in women with PCOS, and the treatments and natural remedies that can help manage this symptom.
Cleansing and exfoliation
The first step in managing facial hair growth in women with PCOS is to keep the skin clean and free of dirt, oil, and impurities.
Oil cleansing is a popular method of deep cleansing the skin to remove dirt, oil, and impurities. It involves using oil as a cleanser, which dissolves impurities and debris on the skin surface, leaving the skin deeply cleansed and nourished.
To oil cleanse, use a non-comedogenic oil like jojoba or almond oil. Apply a small amount of oil to the palms of your hands and massage onto your skin in circular motions for 1-2 minutes. Wash off with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Exfoliating the skin helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog the pores, reducing the risk of ingrown hairs.
To exfoliate, use a gentle scrub or a chemical exfoliant like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs).
Hair removal methods
There are various hair removal methods that women with PCOS can use to manage facial hair growth. These include:
Shaving is a quick and easy solution for hair removal that women can do themselves at home.
Shaving does not make hair grow back thicker, coarser, or faster and is one of the most cost-effective hair removal methods available.
Waxing involves applying warm wax to the skin and removing it with a cloth strip, taking hair along with it.
Waxing can be painful and may cause skin irritation, redness, and ingrown hairs. However, it is a more long-term solution than shaving as it removes hair from the root, reducing regrowth time.
Laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is considered the most effective method for reducing hair growth.
Laser hair removal involves using a laser to target the pigment in the hair shaft, heating and destroying the follicle.
Laser hair removal is a permanent hair reduction method as it destroys the hair follicle, causing hair to grow back thinner, lighter, and slower.
Topical treatments can help reduce hair growth and improve the appearance of skin that has been affected by facial hair growth.
Eflornithine cream is a prescription cream used to treat excessive facial hair growth in women. It works by inhibiting the production of an enzyme in hair follicles that is responsible for hair growth.
The cream is applied twice daily and can take up to 6-8 weeks to start showing results.
Retinoids are a class of compounds derived from vitamin A that are known for their anti-aging and skincare benefits. Retinoids work by increasing cell turnover and unclogging pores, which can reduce the risk of ingrown hairs caused by facial hair growth.
Retinoids are available over the counter or can be prescribed by a doctor.
There are various natural remedies that women with PCOS can use to manage facial hair growth. These include:
Turmeric is a natural anti-androgen that can help to reduce hair growth in women with PCOS.
Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk and drink daily. Alternatively, you can apply a turmeric paste to your skin and leave for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Saw palmetto is a herb that has anti-androgenic effects and can help to reduce hair growth in women with PCOS.
Saw palmetto supplements are available over the counter and should be taken as directed by the manufacturer.
Spearmint tea is a natural anti-androgen that can help to balance hormone levels and reduce facial hair growth in women with PCOS.
Drink 2-3 cups of spearmint tea daily for best results.
PCOS is a metabolic disorder, and lifestyle changes can help to regulate hormones and reduce hair growth.
Exercise can help to reduce insulin resistance and regulate hormone levels in women with PCOS.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, such as brisk walking, jogging, or cycling.
Dietary changes can help to improve insulin resistance and hormone levels in women with PCOS.
- Avoid sugary and processed foods
- Eat a balanced and nutritious diet
- Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods like leafy greens, berries, and fatty fish into your diet
Stress can exacerbate PCOS symptoms, including facial hair growth. Practice stress management techniques like meditation or yoga to reduce stress levels.
Consult a Doctor
If facial hair growth is causing significant discomfort or impacting your quality of life, you should consult a doctor.
Your doctor may recommend prescription medication or suggest a combination of treatments to help manage this symptom.
Facial hair growth can be a distressing symptom of PCOS, but there are various treatments, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes that can help to manage this symptom.
By keeping the skin clean and exfoliated, using hair removal methods, and incorporating topical treatments and natural remedies, women can manage facial hair growth and improve their self-confidence.
Is facial hair growth common in women with PCOS?
Yes, facial hair growth is a common symptom of PCOS caused by an excess of androgen hormones.
What is the best hair removal method for women with PCOS?
The best hair removal method for women with PCOS might differ from person to person depending on hair growth severity and skin sensitivity. Shaving, waxing, and laser hair removal are some of the options available.
Are there any natural remedies to reduce facial hair growth in women with PCOS?
Yes, turmeric, saw palmetto, and spearmint tea are natural remedies that can help reduce facial hair growth in women with PCOS.
Can exercise and diet help reduce facial hair growth in women with PCOS?
Yes, exercise and diet can help to regulate insulin resistance and hormone levels in women with PCOS, subsequently reducing facial hair growth.
- Barrionuevo, P., & Crandall, C. J. (2016). Management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Obstetrics and gynecology clinics of North America, 43(2), 283-300. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ogc.2016.02.002
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic [online]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353443
- Mehta, T., & Amladi, S. (2020). Hirsutism and polycystic ovary syndrome: Role of Ayurvedic and Herbal medicines. Journal of Immunoassay and Immunochemistry, 41(3), 399-408. https://doi.org/10.1080/15321819.2019.1702591