Facial Hair in Women


Hirsutism is a condition characterised by excessive, unwanted facial hair and body hair in woman body.  All women naturally have hair on their body and face.  The difference with hirsutism is that the hair is coarse and dark. Women with this condition present with hair growth characteristics more common in men, which are associated with the male hormone. Hirsutism is excessive hair in body regions such as the face, back, chest and abdomen.

This condition may affect from 5 to 10% of all women.  The condition is known to run in families.  Women from Middle Eastern and Mediterranean heritage are more prone to develop this condition.

Hirsutism is not a dangerous condition, but it can make women feel very self-conscious and also affect confidence in public. The abnormal hormonal levels may, however, compromise a woman’s health in the future.

We look forward to your visit.


Dr Rahma Targett

Dr. Rahma Targett

“Trust Your Face to a Doctor Trained in Dermatology and Cosmetic Medicine”

Why Do Women Develop Excessive Unwanted Hair?

Excessive body hair and facial hair in women is due to high levels of testosterone and androgens in women.  Androgens are produced naturally by all women, but the levels usually remain at a low level.

There are some medical conditions that can cause women to produce excessive androgens.  Other male characteristics may also result from excessive androgens such as a deep voice.

1) Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Also known as PCOS, is one of the most common reasons for developing hirsutism (facial hair and body hair), accounting for three out of every four presentations.  In this condition, benign cysts form on the ovaries which can affect hormonal production as well as irregular menstrual cycles and reduced fertility. Women with PCOS tend to be overweight and have severe acne.  Other symptoms of PCOS include; mood changes, fatigue, infertility, headaches, pelvic pain and sleep problems.

2) Adrenal gland disorders

Excessive facial hair and body hair growth may also be caused by adrenal gland disorders.  Adrenal gland disorders may be brought about by Cushing’s disease, adrenal tumours and congenital adrenal hyperplasia.  The adrenal glands are located just above each kidney.  They are responsible for hormone production.  All of these conditions mentioned above can affect the way the body produces androgens. The symptoms of adrenal gland disorders may present as; high or low blood sugar, headaches, high blood pressure, excessive weight in the upper body, bone and muscle weakness.

3) Medications

Some medications may result in excessive body and facial hair growth.  Such medications may include; Minoxidil, Anabolic steroids, Testosterone, Cyclosporine.

4) Idiopathic Hirsutism

Which means there is no detectable cause for the excessive hair growth.  It is much harder to treat and is usually chronic in nature.

How Do You Diagnose Hirsutism?

To diagnose hirsutism your doctor will need to take a detailed medical history.  You will also need to provide to your doctor a list of the medications that you are taking.  Blood tests will be performed to measure the levels of hormones in your blood.

MRI and ultrasounds of your ovaries and adrenal glands will be ordered to determine if there are any cysts or tumours which may be the cause of your hirsutism.

Treatment For Excessive Unwanted Facial Hair and Body Hair

Hormone Management Of Hirsutism

Being overweight is a definite risk factor for developing hirsutism. Being overweight will change the way that your body produces and also processes hormones.  By maintaining a healthy weight you may be able to correct the level of androgens in your body and avoid the use of medications.


If your excessive hair growth is caused by PCOS or an adrenal disorder then you may need to take medications to control your condition.  Birth control pills and anti-androgen medications can be taken to help control the hormonal levels in your body.

Steroidal and non-steroidal antiandrogens are used to block androgen receptors and decrease the production of androgens from the ovaries, pituitary gland and adrenal glands.

Birth control pills contain both oestrogen and progesterone and can help to shrink any ovarian cysts.  Oestrogen can also reduce excessive hair growth.  These drugs usually take three to six months to work and are a long-term solution to hirsutism.


A special cream containing eflornithine can be a solution to help reduce the growth of facial hair.  It usually takes one or two months for it to start to work and may cause skin irritation and a rash.

Hair removal

If you are seeking a non-medical solution excessive hair growth the hair removal is possible.  Permanent hair reduction using laser hair removal is the best option that we use at Advanced Cosmetic Medicine.  This will achieve a 70-90%  reduction of hair after your treatments are complete.  This technique is commonly used by women to remove hair under arms, legs and bikini line.  You will need to have yearly maintenance as new hair may continue to emerge over time.  Laser hair removal works best on dark hair and light skin.  The pigment in the hair absorbs the laser energy to produce heat which destroys the hair follicle.  Only hairs in the active growing phase can be destroyed, which is why you will need multiple treatments.

Our Location

Advanced Cosmetic Medicine

55,55 Melbourne St,

North Adelaide

SA. 5006

Ph: 0403 690 031