Hirsutism is a condition of male pattern growth in women. It’s often a symptom of PCOS that is most harrowing to women. If you were wondering how to stop facial hair growth due to PCOS then you’re in the right place. Hirutism can also include unwanted body hair. As a PCOS patient myself, I often find unwanted dark chin hair, a mustache that grows almost immediately even though I visited the the salon less than a week ago and even some stray dark hair on my breasts. While in the beginning I thought it was hereditary (and it well enough could be), the minute I started noticing an irregular period despite taking my thyroid medication; I got tested for PCOS through a scan. And, now all the symptoms made sense.
Currently, I’m actively leading a closed Facebook group for fellow PCOS sufferers. On a survey with these 40+ women, hirsutism came as a third concern, after weight gain & depression as their top three struggles with PCOS. I’ve already listed down 6 effective ways to manage PCOS, however because hirsutism is such a leading concern, I’ve decided to do this post on how to stop facial hair growth due to PCOS.
Why does this happen to me?
Hirsutism is a symptom of PCOS, which means that it’s caused due to a hormonal imbalance when there are excess androgens (male sex hormones) in your system. This is also because of insulin resistance – an instance where there is an excess insulin in your body, leading to high sugar levels. Insulin resistance is tied to obesity as well. The natural methods of getting rid of it are prescribed below and should be pretty effective in getting rid of unwanted hair.
How to stop facial hair growth due to PCOS
A. Natural methods
1. Eliminate dairy
Surprise, surprise. The no.1 way to stop facial hair growth due to PCOS is by eliminating dairy. Besides the fact that most of us are lactose intolerant, dairy has both casein and lactose that raise sugar levels. Do you also have acne thanks to PCOS? Eliminate dairy and see if it goes away for two weeks. Rajajeih et al. (2014) found a direct relationship between dairy and risk of PCOS in their study.
2. Get rid of sugar
No surprise here either, is it? Sugar has absolutely no nutritional value, so the sooner you get it out of your system, the better. Opt for low glycemic index fruit instead to stave off your cravings, but make sure you only have one of these fruit a day. Berries are your best option, the others are to be consumed either before or after your workout. It’s preferable to eat them on the first half of your day. Sugar fuels insulin resistance, so you need to get it out of your diet as soon as possible. If a craving hits you, you can also try having 2-3 dates or figs, or even 70%> dark chocolate. Have this as sparingly as possible.
3. Strength training
Now this is a tried and tested way on how to stop facial hair growth due to PCOS. I’ve found that if I work out with a combination of strength training atleast 3 out of 6 days a week, I was able to slow down the rate of facial hair growth. There seemed to be a significant difference. The thought process behind this is, if you do strength training on the regular, it not only stabilises your insulin levels, but it also reverses excess production of the androgens (male hormones) that result in dark hair growth. Besides this, you’ll improve your muscle weight (which means you’ll burn more calories) and see your body shaping up.
B. Aesthetic methods
These more conventional methods are what I’ve mostly been used time and time again by not just me, but several of us who suffer from PCOS. Unfortunately, none of these tried and tested techniques can ensure permanent hair removal and will need regular sessions to manage the hair growth you face.
Simple hair removal method to remove hair from face include waxing, threading or plucking the hair. Also, very commonly used. You can do it by yourself or go to your nearest salon to get it done. Depending on your hair growth, expect to repeat this process minimum once in two weeks. Often a quite painful process, that doesn’t always work for sensitive skin. If you do have sensitive skin, proceed with caution and use some rose water or lacto calamine to cool your skin down.
2. Laser hair removal
Usually, expected to be permanent, but varies from person to person. I’ve found fellow PCOS sufferers who have been through laser hair removal often still find a few stray hairs here and there. A few even have even found thicker hair growth, as you need to shave the affected area between and after laser treatments. No laser hair removal procedures come with guarantees. Also, they are quite expensive. Make sure you go to an expert and don’t cheap out on this procedure.
3. Hair removal creams
Probably the most painless procedure of the lot, but make sure you test it on another area of your skin before trying it out on your face.
It’s a process by which an electric current makes contact your hair roots, through which it kills the follicle; thereby reducing growth. It’s considered the most contemporary “permanent solutions” of hair removal. But, just like laser hair removal, it’s not a guaranteed procedure. Reactions include redness or darkening of the skin.
An important note on body positivity & PCOS
While having hair in unwanted places can be viewed as embarassing and an excuse for body shaming, it’s really important for you to learn to love your body. It’s literally doing everything it can to keep you alive. As your body cannot speak, it’s giving you signals that it’s not ok. Learn to be patient and compassionate to it. In a world where aesthetics is everything, it’s also important to be true to yourself and make yourself understand your body is your friend and you owe it to yourself to be happy, no matter what shape or size you come in and what flaws your body has – including hair on your skin and face. This is its coping mechanism for poor lifestyle choices you have made in the first place! Take charge of your situation and create a loving relationship with your body. It’s the only one you have for life.
I’d love for fellow PCOS sufferers to actually take things into their own hands and try to make the right dietary changes for themselves to see lasting results. Join my 3-month Facebook PCOS Warriors group so we can go on this journey to fight PCOS today. Hope you enjoyed my article on how to stop facial hair growth due to PCOS. I have more posts scheduled during the following weeks, so stay tuned!
Cover photo & pin image by Tommy Gilligan.