Let’s talk facial hair. We know you don’t want to – the sudden outcropping of chin foliage at menopause is one of the most taboo of subjects in an area that’s pretty overrun with shame and stigma already. Menopausal peach fuzz is not high on the list of “favorite things about menopause.”
Menopause and hair growth on legs is bad enough for many women, so let’s start with the science and ease our way in to the hairy stuff: there are two kinds of facial hair. Vellus hair is that short, soft, nearly not-there hair children and women have. Terminal hair is longer, darker, thicker, and generally worn on a man’s face.
Except at menopause.
Who gets what re: facial hair is determined mostly by our hormones. More estrogen gets you the finer, softer, lighter stuff. More testosterone, the heavier kind. In perimenopause and menopause, estrogen diminishes, but the small amount of testosterone women’s bodies produce may not.
Testosterone converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which results in the coarser, darker hairs many menopausal women see suddenly sprouting on their upper lip, chin, and jaw line.
- Menopausal hair growth (hypertrichosis) vs hirsutism
- What to do about facial hair growth during menopause
- When facial hair growth might signal something more serious*
- Combating Hair Woes During Menopause
- Hair Loss in Women: Menopause Treatment Options
- Unwanted Facial Hair: What to Do
- Unwanted Facial Hair and Menopause
- Causes of Unwanted Facial Hair After Menopause
- What Can I Do About Unwanted Facial Hair?
- If you are experiencing unwanted facial hair after menopause, or suffering from hair loss and want to do something about it, please talk to your doctor We also invite you to establish care with Dr. Aliabadi. Please or call us at (844) 863- 6700.
- Caring for Your Skin and Hair During Menopause
- Throw on the towel.Canyon Ranch® Wellness Resorts
- Hair loss due to hormones: will it grow back?
- Menopausal hair loss prevention: five simple tips
- Menopause and Facial Hair: Some Solutions
- I’m 49 – why am I getting even more facial hair now?
- Female Treatments
- Facial hair removal: 6 methods
- What causes facial hair on women?
- Preparation is key
- What is the best way to get rid of it?
Menopausal hair growth (hypertrichosis) vs hirsutism
Some use the term “hirsutism” to describe any unwanted hair growth, but the few chin hairs of menopause don’t meet the definition.
Hirsutism is a medical condition characterized by terminal hair growth in lots of places common on men but not on women: face, chest, stomach, and back. Caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Cushing’s syndrome, tumors in the adrenal glands or ovaries, or certain medications that change the level of hormones in the body, actual hirsutism affects about 5-10 percent of women.
What to do about facial hair growth during menopause
“Nothing” is a totally legitimate choice here. There’s nothing dangerous about a few extra chin hairs, after all. But if it bothers you, there are things you can do to get rid of menopausal facial hair, or minimize its appearance. So, what is the best way to remove facial hair during and after menopause?
Plucking, waxing, or threading. These are all basically the same thing – pulling the hair out at the root. Waxing is just plucking in bulk, but done improperly can lead to ingrown hairs, so be sure you’re doing it (or having it done to you) right. Plucking is easy and cheap but slow. And be sure to clean your tweezers periodically with soap to reduce the chance of infection. Threading is the practice of using thin, doubled thread pulled tight and rolled over the face. Quicker than tweezing, it might require help from an expert.
Contrary to any tales you may have heard, plucking via any method will not cause hair to grow back darker or coarser.
Shaving. Many women balk a little at the idea of shaving their faces, but it’s a cheap and effective – if temporary – way to deal with facial hair. Plan on shaving in or just after a shower when hair is softer, and use a sharp razor to prevent rashes or ingrown hairs. PS: hair doesn’t grow back coarser after shaving, either.
Creams and prescriptions. If you once answered the question, “Who wears short shortsd” you might remember depilatory creams. And their smell. While depilatory creams have come a long way and are kinder and less fragrant, some women are sensitive to the chemicals that break down the hair. Always do a small patch test somewhere else on your body to check for any reaction.
A dermatologist can prescribe a topical treatment like VANIQA, but these can be expensive and have to be used continuously or the hair grows back.
Laser. Beams of light shoot over the skin. The dark hair picks up the light and turns it to heat, which overheats the follicle and damages it so it can’t grow more hair. Pros: pretty much permanent. Cons: expensive, doesn’t work on fine or light-colored hair, and may require multiple sessions to destroy the hair follicle. Still, permanent is nice.
Electrolysis. Like using tweezers, electrolysis zaps hairs one at a time. A thin probe goes directly into the hair follicle, and a wee electrical current heats the follicle to the point of destruction. Because it’s a one-at-a-time deal, it can take up to 18 months’ worth of treatments to get where you’re going. So, pros: permanent and can work on any color hair. Cons: expensive, slow, can hurt or even scar a little.
When facial hair growth might signal something more serious*
Facial hair growth in itself isn’t a danger, except perhaps to our self-confidence, but in some cases, it can signal a more serious problem.
PCOS. If the hair is growing on other places of the body where it normally only grows on men, and it’s accompanied by fatigue, pelvic pain, acne, difficulty managing weight, and sleep disruption, you may be dealing with polycystic ovary syndrome, where small cysts form on the ovaries.
Adrenal gland issues. Your adrenal glands perform hormone production. Dysfunction here can be the result of adrenal tumors or cancer; congenital adrenal hyperplasia or Cushing’s disease, any of which can result in excess hair growth. Talk with a doctor if you also have high blood pressure, weakness, upper body weight gain, difficulty managing blood sugar, or headaches. HRT helps curb facial hair growth by addressing these issues, but this approach should be taken on an extremely sensitive case-by-case basis.
Growing facial hair can feel like a final blow to our femininity at a time when we’re losing our waistlines, glowing skin, and fertility. But it can be managed, fairly easily, if you feel you need to to recover your sense of self. If you’re dealing with this issue, we’d love to hear how you’re managing, both emotionally and physically. Please share with the community: leave us a comment below, or talk to us on our Facebook page or in Midlife & Menopause Solutions, our closed Facebook group.
*This blog is not intended to replace care by a health care professional. If you are experiencing any condition that gives you cause for concern, give yourself peace of mind by seeing a doctor. Right away, please. Now would be good.
Combating Hair Woes During Menopause
It’s bad enough that menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings can turn your life upside down, but menopause can also lead to some serious changes in your hair. Menopause can cause the hair on your head to start thinning and the hair on your upper lip or chin to get thicker.
Thinning hair happens to about half of all women by age 50, while up to 15 percent of women experience hair growth on their chin, upper lip, or cheeks after menopause, according to the North American Menopause Society.
“Sometimes women experience both, sometimes it’s one or the other,” says Mary Polan, MD, a gynecologist at Columbia Doctors Eastside in New York City.
The culprit: changes in estrogen and androgen levels during menopause. Both levels of hormones go down during menopause, but at different rates. Estrogen levels drop severely while androgen levels drop more slowly over time. As a result, the ratio of estrogen to androgen levels changes dramatically, Dr. Polan says.
That can lead to scalp hair loss in women (who may already be prone to thinning hair due to genetics or aging) and the arrival of fine hair, or “peach fuzz,” on the upper lip or chin, or dark, wiry, hairs on the chin that grow quickly.
Hair Loss in Women: Menopause Treatment Options
While there are not a lot of menopause treatment options for women experiencing thinning hair, you might try these steps:
Consider hormone therapy. Some women who have high levels of androgens before menopause and are experiencing hair loss in the perimenopausal stage (the years leading up to menopause) can be treated with a combination of birth control pills and medications that lower androgen levels. However, this is something to try before going through menopause. After menopause, the risks of hormonal treatments — including increased risk of heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, and blood clots — generally outweigh their benefits.
Try regrowth solutions. Using the over-the-counter liquid minoxidil (Rogaine) can help promote hair growth in women, but you may not see results for three or four months after you start treatment. Also, you have to continue applying it to your scalp indefinitely in order to continue seeing results.
Ask about finasteride (Propecia). Although this prescription treatment is typically used by men experiencing hair loss, women may also use it, Polan says. But there is little evidence that it is beneficial in women.
If you are obese, lose the excess pounds. Androgen levels tend to be higher in women who are obese, so maintaining a normal weight can help reduce the imbalance in hormones after menopause that contributes to hair thinning.
Unwanted Facial Hair: What to Do
It’s easier to remove the hairs you don’t want than it is to make hair grow where you do want it. Luckily, women have a host of ways to get rid of unwanted hair:
Try to prevent it with the Pill if you’re pre- or perimenopausal. Taking birth control pills before you’re going through menopause can help prevent facial hair growth, Polan says.
Go with the old stand-bys — tweezing, bleaching, and waxing. If you don’t have a lot of unwanted facial hair, you can probably spend a little bit of time removing it yourself with a pair of tweezers or by waxing the hair away. Another option is to bleach the hairs on your face with an over-the-counter face and body cream bleach kit.
Try a prescription cream. The topical cream eflornithine (Vaniqa) slows the growth of facial hair. If facial hair is bothering you, it may be worth a try, Polan says. You’ll need to ask your doctor for a prescription and it may take four to eight weeks to see results.
Laser them away. A dermatologist can remove facial hair by using a laser to damage the hair follicle and slow down hair growth. But this technique works best on dark hairs, and is less effective for blonde or peach-fuzz type hair growth.
Every woman will approach thinning hair and facial hair differently. For some, it’s no big deal, while others want to try to find effective fixes. Whatever camp you fall in, know it’s a common part of aging and menopause, and talk to your doctor about your options.
TELL US: Have you experience hair loss due to menopause? How did you cope? (Note: Mobile users won’t be able to comment.)
Unwanted Facial Hair and Menopause
Your hormone levels shift periodically and throughout your life because of aging, weight gain, and other factors, including pregnancy and menopause.
Many post-menopausal women find that their hair just won’t grow like it used to. The hair on their scalp thins, while the chin or upper lip sprouts patches of “peach fuzz.” These changes are very normal. In fact, one study found that almost 40% of women age 45 and older have an excess of facial hair growth, especially on the chin. According to another study, it is very likely you will experience unwanted facial hair after menopause.
Causes of Unwanted Facial Hair After Menopause
Just like men, women have hair follicles all over their faces. However, for most women, these follicles grow tiny, soft hairs that are barely noticeable.
During menopause, a woman’s body stops circulating estrogen but continues to circulate the same amounts of testosterone. The imbalance of hormones causes the appearance of some male secondary sex characteristics, like coarse facial hair.
You should let your doctor know if your facial and body hairs are growing quickly. This might signal a more serious medical condition. Tumors of the ovaries or adrenal glands that produce testosterone could be stimulating your hair growth, or you may have Cushing syndrome, a disease in which the adrenal glands secrete excessive male hormones, resulting in excess hair growth.
What Can I Do About Unwanted Facial Hair?
There’s nothing wrong or unhealthy about growing sparse facial hair. There’s nothing dangerous about a few extra chin hairs, after all. But if it bothers you, there are things you can do to remove the hair or minimize its appearance. It is understandable that some women won’t welcome this change in appearance. Waxing, shaving, and tweezing are perfectly acceptable ways to deal with unwanted hairs. Based on the degree of growth, plucking, tweezing, threading, or waxing may do the trick.
Your doctor can also prescribe a topical cream to slow the growth or refer you to a clinic that can perform electrolysis or laser treatment for hair removal. Electrolysis eliminates hairs by killing hair follicles with a targeted electric current. If you can afford it, electrolysis or laser hair removal may be options. These result in the permanent destruction of the hair follicle so it can’t grow back.
But this technique works best on dark hairs and is less effective for blonde or peach-fuzz type hair growth.
If you are experiencing unwanted facial hair after menopause, or suffering from hair loss and want to do something about it, please talk to your doctor
We also invite you to establish care with Dr. Aliabadi. Please or call us at (844) 863- 6700.
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Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi
Highly-trained and honored by the medical community, Dr. Thais Aliabadi is certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Diplomat of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She implements the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology and treatment options. Dr. Aliabadi specializes in up-to-date, minimally invasive surgical techniques, promising her patients shorter recovery times, reduced pain, and the least interruption to their daily lives.
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Caring for Your Skin and Hair During Menopause
Hot flashes. Forgetfulness. Irritability. Weight gain. Without saying much more than that, you’re probably already thinking menopause. These classic signs and symptoms have come to define this life stage for many women. And that’s why many others are taken by surprise when it also brings on less-talked-about changes, like those involving skin and hair. Dryness, thinning strands, acne: These and other beauty concerns are related to hormonal shifts that happen during menopause and in the time leading up to it (called perimenopause), and falling levels of estrogen are largely to blame.
Transitioning to menopause can be an emotional experience. You’re moving from one stage of your life to another, perhaps even struggling to get comfortable not only with what’s going on on the inside, but the outside too. Be kind to yourself and remember that what you experience is unique to you. Tune into your body and focus on what you need to do to feel well and put your best self forward.
What follows may help you better understand what changes to your appearance can come with menopause and what you can do about them.
Your Complexion During Menopause
While aging will naturally have an effect on the appearance of your skin, menopause can accelerate that process and create new issues you may have never had to deal with before. Here’s how your complexion might change:
- Sagging and Wrinkles The two components of skin that help keep it firm, smooth and plump—collagen and elastin—naturally diminish with age. However, declining estrogen levels can speed up that decline, causing sagging skin and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Suggestion: Try a night cream that contains retinol, a derivative of vitamin A that’s been shown to trigger new collagen production and gradually help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles.
- Dryness Blood capillaries under your skin’s surface work to bring oxygen and nutrients to the top, helping to strengthen the barrier function of the skin. Since estrogen partially controls their growth and maintenance, blood flow to the skin is often reduced during menopause, contributing to a thinning and increased water loss through the dermal layer. The result: chapped, flaky, scaly dry skin.
Suggestion: Avoid long, steamy showers (which can dry out your skin even further) and use a facial moisturizer or oil with hydrating ingredients, such as shea butter, coconut or jojoba oil and hyaluronic acid.
- Acne It may feel unfair, but if you experienced acne during puberty, you’re likely to have a recurrence during perimenopause. This is due to the shift in the balance of estrogen and testosterone; breakouts are common on the chin and neck.
Suggestion: Look for cleansers and spot treatments containing either salicylic acid (which helps unclog pores and keep them clear) or benzoyl peroxide (which helps dry up excess oil).
- Oily Skin Higher levels of testosterone may prompt sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete thicker sebum, causing an oilier appearance and even leading to acne, in some cases.
Suggestion: Try a gentle cleanser, avoid over-washing and consider applying a clay mask to especially oily areas to help spot treat.
- Facial Hair The shift in the balance between androgen and estrogen levels can lead to excessive hair growth (called hirsutism)—particularly on the chin, upper lip and cheeks. You might experience growth of single, thick dark hairs on your chin or notice peach fuzz–like hair on your face.
Suggestion: Tweezing, waxing, threading and other hair removal techniques can help you get rid of unwanted facial hair.
- Sun Damage Estrogen regulates the maintenance of melanocytes in the skin. As menopause progresses, these cells—which manufacture melanin, your natural protection from UVA and UVB rays—degenerate, making skin more prone to sun damage.
Suggestion: Though you may already be applying sunscreen daily, you might want to opt for a higher SPF (50 filters up to 98 percent of the sun’s rays)—particularly between the peak hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Your Hair During Menopause
Even if you had long, thick locks as a young woman, this transformative time can change the look and feel of your hair and scalp in a dramatic or subtle manner. Here’s what may happen—and what you can do to minimize symptoms:
- Hair Loss and Thinning As your estrogen and progesterone production declines, you may begin to notice hair loss or thinning—a side effect of menopause that about half of women say they experience to some degree before they turn 50.
Suggestion: Use gentle products and styling techniques (avoiding heated tools or tying hair back tightly, for example) and talk to your stylist about a shorter ‘do that can help disguise thinning.
- Dry Scalp Just like the hormonal shift can cause skin to lose moisture, your scalp and hair may also become dry and brittle.
Suggestion: If you’re dealing with dandruff, consider using a shampoo that contains zinc or selenium. You may also want to try a deep conditioner to soften locks, and limit the amount of heat styling you do, putting dryers and curling and straightening irons aside for days at a time.
An Integrative Perspective
Of course, like everything related to your health, these skin and hair issues can be improved by taking a broader approach and looking beyond beauty products and routines.
If you’re experiencing one or more of these skin or hair issues, you may want to think about having your thyroid checked. Levels of thyroid hormone can decrease in menopausal women, and that drop can contribute to dry skin and hair.
Once this has been ruled out, a few simple lifestyle changes can go a long way toward helping your complexion and hair look their best during menopause:
- Quit smoking. Tobacco use has been shown to reduce estrogen levels in a woman’s body. Plus, the act of smoking—pursing your lips, squinting your eyes—contributes to fine lines and wrinkles. Now’s an especially good time to kick the habit; a change that not only will benefit your looks but your overall health.
- Manage stress. While this is certainly easier said than done, there’s a biological reason to relax more: Stress can lower your body’s levels of estrogen and thyroid hormone, contributing to the hormonal imbalance that causes these skin and hair issues. Whether you carve out time to meditate or commit to taking a daily walk, finding ways to decompress can go a long way toward countering the negative effects of your shifting hormones.
- Eat smart. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and increasing the amount of healthy fats you’re eating, such as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon, walnuts and hemp seeds). A healthy diet will help boost your skin’s protective barrier, preventing dehydration.
Of course, if any of the changes you’re experiencing are extreme, or if you’re especially worried that they aren’t normal, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
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Throw on the towel.Canyon Ranch® Wellness Resorts
Hair loss due to hormones: will it grow back?
Hair loss due to hormones is a reality for many women during menopause and even during pregnancy. But will it grow back? The answer is yes, but there are also things that you can do to help your body along.
Wash your hair regularly (every 2–3 days) with a mild shampoo free of added chemicals. Treat your hair gently. Don’t comb or brush your hair when it’s wet. Using your fingers to detangle is a gentler option. Putting your hair up in a tight bun or ponytail can cause added stress on the hair and its follicle.
Finally, try to limit the use of hair dryers or irons on your hair. They can dry and damage your hair.
Menopausal hair loss prevention: five simple tips
Here are five tips to prevent hair loss during your menopausal transition.
1. More movement
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and wellbeing during menopause. Regular exercise can decrease your chances of heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. This is because as we exercise, we improve circulation and muscle tone and can better maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can also improve symptoms associated with perimenopause, including bloating, mood swings, stress, and sleep disturbances.
2. More water
One of the most apparent physical changes you will notice during menopause is in the appearance of your skin and hair. Many women report that their skin becomes dryer and thinner as they age. You will sometimes hear this referred to as “crepey” skin. Dry skin can be treated with topical lotions. An easy way to combat dry skin and hair during menopause is to drink more water.
If you are experiencing hot flashes and night sweats, it is especially important to drink more water. Water is also helpful in flushing toxins and other waste products from your body. This helps alleviate symptoms such as joint pain, constipation, bloating, and fatigue.
3. Less stress
Stress can cause unwanted health outcomes regardless of your age. One of the best things that you can do for your overall health is to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Lower estrogen levels can cause menopausal hair loss as well as mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Stress only adds to this. To reduce stress levels, try yoga, tai chi, or other exercises that help you clear your mind and relax.
Menopause and Facial Hair: Some Solutions
There is no reason not to remove this fine blond hair by waxing, which is probably the treatment of choice for her problem. Plucking hairs, which is what waxing does, will not cause them to coarsen over time—that is an “old wives’ tale” (pardon the antiquated phrase). She can also use a chemical depilatory if it is not too irritating. A common technique called “threading” has become popular in some cosmetic salons, using a twisted string to snag and pluck unwanted facial hairs. Electrolysis is undesirable for so many small, fine hairs.
Most lasers used for hair removal are not useful for blond (non-pigmented) hair. There are some lasers (Q-switched Nd:YAG) that work by rubbing carbon particles into the skin prior to treatment. They may be useful, but are expensive and get mixed reviews from experts in the field. Finally, there is a medication called eflornithine hydrochloride (brand name Vaniqua) that can be used to slow hair regrowth after removal by any of the aforementioned methods. Thirty percent of women experience marked or complete control of their hypertrichosis using this cream twice daily for 2-6 months.
Finally, if she likes using scissors to cut the facial hair, why not get a little electric trimmer that would work much better to “amputate” those nasty 1/4-inch hair shafts right at the skin level? (Of course, we must never refer to this technique as–GASP!–shaving!) The good news is that this reader has lots of relatively simple and easy ways to solve her problem.
The most common spots where you’ll notice hairs: the chin, cheeks, and the upper lip. Laser hair removal is a pretty surefire way to get rid of them, as are waxing and threading, but there’s no magic potion or silver bullet. With laser hair removal, a laser zaps a hair follicle with heat, destroying it. Meanwhile, medical electrolysis devices “destroy hair growth with a shortwave radio frequency after a thin probe is placed in the hair follicle,” per the FDA. The hair is then plucked out.
“The most effective way to eliminate unwanted hair in the nose or on the chin is with a laser. This is the only treatment modality available that can permanently eliminate unwanted hair. Thirty minutes of numbing cream will make the treatment comfortable and pain-free,” says Kristina Goldenberg of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York City.
But, you’re thinking, every drugstore is crammed with creams promising hairless glory in mere minutes. Yes, but. There’s always a but, you see. “Over-the-counter options are generally limited to depilatories, which break down the chemical bond in hair follicles so they are weak enough to rub off. Depilatory creams and gels can be irritating to gentle facial skin and should be used with caution,” says Nazarian.
young woman remove hair from her mustache using tweezersVladimirFLoyd
Friends of mine take a razor to their faces, which sort of freaks me out. But doctors say it’s actually an easy way to get results.
“Shaving is safest but less efficient because it must be repeated frequently and is ‘unfeminine,’ so many women object even to the idea. One thing to note: Shaving does not make the hairs thicker or coarser,” says Schultz, dispelling a common myth. “Electrolysis is effective but very time-intensive and sometimes causes scars. Truthfully, there is no perfect method of hair removal other than laser.”
There are plenty of home devices available that zap unwanted hairs. But, says Schultz, resist the lure of the tweezers. “Do not pluck them,” he says, especially when it comes to the hairs in your schnoz. “That can cause an infection by the bacteria that normally live inside the nose.”
Concurs Nazarian: “Stick to shaving, or one of the permanent solutions to hair removal, like laser or electrolysis.”
If you’re loath to go the Gillette route, you can try Vaniqa, available by prescription. It’s “a product that’s available for women with unwanted hair. It slows hair growth in the areas in which it is applied. It has to be used for several weeks before a significant result becomes apparent. Unfortunately, no product offers a permanent solution,” says Goldenberg.
Which means, for all intents and purposes: Hair today, and hair tomorrow.
Everything you’ve wanted to know about hair but were afraid to ask:
- Thinking About Laser Hair Removal? Read This First
- The Gender Politics of Hair Removal
- Why Your Hair Is Shedding and What You Can Do About It
Watch Emily Ratajkowski Transform Into Sex Symbol Sophia Loren:
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I’m 49 – why am I getting even more facial hair now?
I’m getting increased facial hair even though I’m using laser therapy! I am 49 and just started skipping periods—I seem to alternate between a skip and two periods a month (!) with lots of stretchy mucus and constant breast pain. I don’t have PCOS and I’m not heavy. I first had a problem with facial hair when I was 24. I associate this starting when I was put on a progesterone only pill for painful periods.
Would the hair get even worse if I took progesterone again now?
You didn’t take progesterone when you were on that contraceptive “mini-pill” years ago. The progestin-only (NOT “progesterone only”) pill is usually a testosterone-based derivative (norethindrone) that may have male hormone-like, androgenic effects such as stimulating the growth of unwanted facial hair.
I’m not surprised that you are confused because doctors and health information for women commonly mix up women’s own ovulation hormone, progesterone, with synthetic derivatives called progestins or “progestogens.” Progesterone is not progestin or progestin. NOTE—every time you hear someone say “progesterone,” ask yourself if they really mean a synthetic knock-off!
Progesterone, women’s natural ovarian hormone that is high after ovulation, not only has no androgenic effects it prevents them. In fact, by suppressing luteinizing hormone (LH) levels it decreases the stimulation of the theca (male-hormone producing) cells in our ovaries. Progesterone also decreases the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), the male hormone that directly makes dark, coarse facial hair grow.
Two common things make increased facial hair and other androgen-related adverse effects:
1. When women gain weight. The reason appears to be that weight gain increases the pulsation of LH that stimulates the theca to make more ovarian androgens. (These androgens are a normal part of the menstrual cycle when they are in balance with estrogen and progesterone in ovulatory cycles.)
2. When women’s cycles are not normally ovulatory. This is because they are lacking progesterone that provides our natural and normal anti-androgen effects.
With all that out of the way, I can now answer your question:
I believe that treatment with cyclic progesterone would be very helpful for you.
Why are you getting increased facial hair now? I believe you are not ovulating (as is common in perimenopause and almost universal when cycles become irregular in perimenopause). It is also likely that you are gaining weight as almost all perimenopausal women do (even if you are not now overweight).
Hope this is helpful for you,
All the best,
Topic: PCOS (Anovulatory Androgen Excess) Life Phase: Premenopause, Perimenopause Updated Date: Friday, July 8, 2016 – 16:00
Menopause – how Permanence can help
Unwanted hair will have different characteristics for every woman. On the face it will vary from a few hairs on the chin, light growth on the upper lip through to heavy beard-like growth. Menopause is inextricably linked with unwanted hair growth because both are caused by the same hormonal changes. Some medications, including hormone replacement products, may also contribute to a degree of facial and body hair.
The key hormone controlling the type of hair you grow, either fine peach-fuzz (vellus) or thick, dark (terminal) hair is an androgen called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Higher DHT levels cause hair to convert from growing vellus hair to terminal hair production. During your reproductive years, the higher relative levels of oestrogen keep production of DHT low. However, as menopause sets in and oestrogen levels drop, DHT increases.
It is at this point that you may begin to see frustratingly wiry hairs on the face and outbreaks of male-pattern body hair. Unfortunately, once a hair follicle converts from growing vellus to terminal hair there is no going back and the only solution is to permanently kill the follicle. Plucking, waxing and laser can only remove the hair stem and, in the case of laser, do some damage to the bulb from which it grows, but in each case the hair will recover and eventually grow back.
The galvanic multi-probe electrolysis method used by Permanence is guaranteed to kill terminal hairs at the bulb, destroy the bulge from which it regenerates, and prevent regrowth. This is a guarantee we back in writing. The electrology equipment used by Permanence has been custom-designed for our clinic. It is fast, minimises pain and is safe. The fine control unique to our machines means minimal discomfort during the procedure and reduced recovery time for your skin.
Our therapists can put together a treatment plan that will see your beauty and confidence restored and banish this most visible sign of menopause permanently.
Menopause – in detail
Your hair doesn’t feel as bouncy or full as it once did, you find yourself relying on your eyebrow pencil to fill out your brows, and then you find hairs growing on your chin. What is going on here!
It’s bad enough that hot flushes and mood swings can turn your life upside down, but menopause can also lead to some serious changes in your hair. Hair on your head can start thinning and, rubbing salt into that wound, hair can start sprouting in all sorts of odd places.
According to the North American Menopause Society, thinning hair happens to half of all women by age 50 while 15 percent of women encounter hair growing on their chin, upper lip, or cheeks once menopause sets in.
The culprit in all these changes is oestrogen and androgen (male type sex hormone) levels. Levels of both hormones go down during menopause but at different rates. Oestrogen levels drop severely while androgen levels taper off slowly. As a result, the ratio of oestrogen to androgen changes dramatically at the start of menopause before eventually reaching a new steady state.
Officially, menopause is reached when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months indicating permanent cessation of menstruation. The average age for reaching menopause is 51.
Symptoms of Transition
Every woman’s experience of transition into menopause is slightly different but the most common symptoms are:
Irregular periods – Leading up to menopause hormones hover around the tipping point of being able to instigate a menstrual cycle or not resulting in periods becoming more and more irregular before ceasing altogether. Associated with this may be unusually light or heavy periods as the cycle itself is sped up or slowed down.
Hot Flushes – These occur when a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which regulates body temperature, is tricked into believing the body is too hot. To cool the body down it dilates blood vessels near the surface of the skin and increases blood flow. You will feel a rapid increase in heart rate, a reddening of the face and neck followed by a cold chill as the body realises its mistake.
Difficulty sleeping – Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating sleep cycles but it also regulates the start and length of your menstrual cycle. Lower oestrogen levels have the flow-on effect of lower melatonin production which, in turn, disrupts regulation of sleep.
Vaginal dryness – This is cause by a thinning and lower elasticity of the vaginal wall. Again, this is due to lower oestrogen levels. Associated with this may be pain during intercourse.
Hirsutism – Defined as male pattern hair growth in women and ovarian hyperthecosis in menopausal women. This can vary from inconsequential to severe depending on your body’s androgen sensitivity.
Varying sex drive – As the balance between oestrogen and androgen changes, sex drive may increase before settling to a lower level. Again, the extent of this is related to your body’s androgen sensitivity.
Several prescription hormone therapies are available to help relieve menopause-related symptoms and decrease the long-term risk of heart disease and osteoporosis across the menopause transition and beyond.
- Oestrogen hormone therapy has been widely studied and used for more than 50 years by millions of women. A variety of oestrogen types, delivery systems, and dosage strengths give you a better chance of finding out which option is best for you. Oestrogen-only therapy is usually only taken by women who have had a hysterectomy now days.
- Progestogen, another hormone, is sometimes used alone during menopause transition to treat symptoms such as hot flushes or to manage abnormal uterine bleeding. There are various progestogen options, and they allow tailoring to each woman’s needs.
- Combined estrogen-progestogen therapy (EPT) with various dosing schedules can also be used for menopause-related symptoms. These regimens can involve taking oestrogen and progestogen separately or through combination EPT products.
Facial hair removal: 6 methods
Facial hair removal – the good, the bad and the, well, just plain hairy. Few women will escape the inevitable appearance of chin hairs, fluff or whiskers in their lifetimes, but there’s no need to put up with them. Whatever euphemism you give the wiry little stragglers, they’re unanimously unwanted and they can really knock our confidence. Here are six of the best ways to get rid of facial hair. as well as the best products gransnetters recommend.
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What causes facial hair on women?
As women age, our bodies produce less estrogen and, as a result, the remaining testosterone starts to make itself known, springing gaily up on chins and upper lips in the form of facial fuzz. Many older women find that they are particularly prone to facial hair after the onset of menopause due to a hormone imbalance and women with dark hair often report it being more of a problem. As if hair on the the bikini line wasn’t enough…
Preparation is key
Before you begin whichever method you’re going for, ensure that your skin is super clean and free of bacteria as well as completely dry so that excess sebum doesn’t halt the process. If you’re waxing, plucking or using hair removal cream, DO NOT apply any moisturiser or oils as things will get slippy and your efforts rendered ineffective!
What is the best way to get rid of it?
While inconvenient, there are some simple removal solutions for annoying, unwanted hairs. These vary widely in both pain and expense so you’ll need to evaluate your limits in each department first. Whether it’s an excess of peach fuzz getting clogged with makeup, or a wiry chin hair sprouting overnight, there’s an effective way of dealing with facial hair in all its forms. Here are the most common methods used to remove facial hair, ranked from best to worst.
“I have an Epilady for removing hair on my face and it really does work very well. It does hurt on the upper lip, but no more than the wax strips that I used to use.”
Epilating is a system that rips hair out at the root using a spinning wheel of tweezers. If that sounds scary, don’t worry. Even though it might nip sharply at those hairs, this method is very effective and is particularly popular among older women. Like waxing, epilating ensures the hair is taken out at the root, which means it’ll take some time to grow back, but the additional advantage here is that you can do it yourself and bypass both the salon and the mess of waxing. Hooray!
- Braun Silk-épil 5 5780 Epilator, £49.99, Amazon
- Wizzit Epilator, £9.98, Amazon
- Braun Face 810 Facial Epilator and Cleansing Brush, £31.50, Amazon
- EpiLady Electric Facial Hair Remover, £19.95, Amazon
2. IPL and Electrolysis
“If I didn’t have regular electrolysis, I would have a beard to rival my husband’s!”
Electrolysis: This involves destroying the hair follicle using heat applied via an electrical current. It may not be the most comfortable of experiences, but it is permanent. This means that pesky chin hair could be gone for good. Length of courses and results vary from person to person but, unlike IPL, electrolysis works on white and grey hair.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light): While this isn’t strictly proven to be permanent yet, many people get very good results from IPL treatments. The catch is that the hair in question must be pigmented, so if you’ve got white hair you want to get rid of, this probably isn’t the method for you. It’s also not suitable for people with darker skin tones.
While most opt to undergo electrolysis, IPL or laser hair removal at a professional salon, you can also do it yourself using IPL technology for home use. Be warned though… this option doesn’t come cheap.
- Philips Lumea Precision Plus SC2006/11 IPL Hair Removal System, £261.55, Amazon
- no!no! 8800 Thermicon™ Hair Removal System, £199, Amazon
“I always stick to waxing – it discourages hair growth and leaves a nice smooth finish.”
Waxing involves ripping the hair out at the root, so there’s no chance of coarse stubble being left behind. As skin on the face is more delicate than elsewhere, it’s best to book in with a professional and have them remove the offending hairs – you might be asked to leave the hair to grow for a short while, so keep that in mind. There may be a few blotches to put up with straight afterward, but the two to three weeks between waxing sessions should be worth it. Plus, the more you have it done, the finer your hair should become each time it grows back.
As a middle of the road option, cost-wise, this is your best bet. You’ll find many beauticians offer reasonable rates, especially if you want to have two areas waxed at once. However, if you really don’t want to spend a penny, another option is to make your own wax using simple kitchen ingredients!
“Anyone who does eyebrow threading will also do facial hair. Threading keeps facial hair at bay for a long time, and cheaply too.”
Threading tends to result in fewer ingrown hairs for many people, puts less stress on the skin and (bonus) is generally cheaper than waxing as you can often leave three to four weeks between visits. What’s not to like about that? Alright, it’s not entirely painless, but a skilled threader will have you fuzz-free in no time, with change for a coffee too.
“I only pluck for summer as there are some good part-time jobs as Father Christmas around in winter <wink>.”
Arm yourself with a decent pair of tweezers and a good magnifying mirror (illuminated is best), and you’re all set with the best way to remove the odd chin straggler. Be warned though – covering larger areas and fine hair with a pair of tweezers will be time consuming, so you may want to look to other methods if your facial hair is more ‘full beard’ than ‘pre-pubescent smattering’. Great for a couple of plucks, but no good if you’re in need of a more permanent solution.
- Tweezerman Tweezermate Lighted Mirror, £18, lookfantastic.com
- Tweezerman Green Tea Mini Slant Tweezers, £10.17, Amazon
6. Shaving and depilatory creams
“These methods will, of course, remove the hairs, but in my experience they grow back stubbly, which is not a good look!”
Pain-free and an easy way to remove facial hair…but far from ideal. If you shave, you run the risk of dark stubble showing through, not to mention a shaving rash. As for hair removal cream, it might be quick, convenient and affordable, but it can also be messy, smelly (if fragrance-free) and irritable to sensitive skin – plus, it won’t leave you completely hair free as it only reduces hair to just below the surface.
So, as methods go, these come bottom of the list. It’s much better to take hair out at the root or eliminate it altogether via electrolysis, but if you’re in need of a quick fix, these might just be your way to go. And remember to do a patch test before using depilatory cream if your skin is sensitive.
Prices correct as of 28/06/18