Hirsutism – what is it?

Hirsutism can be a very sensitive  subject to discuss. Hirsutism only impacts women. The confidence and psychological impact hirsutism has on women can be detrimental and can impair the quality of life. Many women feel they can not speak openly about hirsutism. Hirsutism can be emotionally distressing to the individual due to the  unwanted hair growth. Hirsute women spend many hours trying to cover their hair or remove the unwanted hair.

Hirsutism is the presence of male like hair growth in women with varied aetiology. Hirsutism is usually secondary to Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and indicates high levels of the male hormones, androgens (Pate,2013). Idiopathic hirsutism is a condition where no medical conditions are present and women still have excessive hair growth (Lipton et al., 2006). Hirsutism affects around 5-10% of women (Sanchez, 2002). Further studies have said, hirsutism prevalence varies from 5% – 32% across the world (Alizadeh et al., 2017). On average, hirsute women spend 104 minutes a week on hair removal (Lipton et al., 2006) and laser hair removal (LHR) can help reduce this time (Pate 2015).

Hair growth with hirsutism can occur anywhere in the body however the main areas can be:

  • Face
  • Chest
  • Abdomen
  • Inner thigh
  • Hands
  • Feet

Body image within hirsute women leads to body dissatisfaction and emotional distress (Lipton et al., 2006 and Shokeir et al., 2018). Studies conducted have shown benefits of laser hair removal in hirsute women along with psychological benefits, although studies have been limited to certain Fitzpatrick Skin Types (FST) (Pate,2013). Although hirsutism is an aesthetic imperfection it can cause tremendous amounts of distress to the individuals. Individuals with hirsutism often suffer from anxiety disorder and depression.

Shaving and waxing can be time consuming for hirsute women. A study has shown on average women with hirsutism spend over 104 minutes a week on hair removal. Many women lose their confidence and self esteem due to the unsightly hair growth. Hirsutism can have a negative impact on body image and confidence.

Hair removal techniques are required even with hormonal therapy as shaving and depilatory creams do not remove the hair follicle. Laser Hair removal destroys the hair follicle reducing the growth. Laser hair removal offers a permanent reduction of hair. Each session of laser hair removal  is 10-20% of the active hair growth phase. A course of 6 laser hair removal sessions can offer hirsutism sufferers a reduction of 50- 80% depending on if hormonal medication is being taken.

Laser hair removal can help reduce the time spent on removing hair. Treatments are performed every 4-6 weeks. After laser hair removal the hair will grow back finer, reduced in density; patchy hair growth areas will become prominent as sessions progress.

Laser hair removal offers a safe and effective alternative to continuously shaving and waxing the hair. Laser hair removal can help boost confidence in individuals with hirsutism.

At Envie our highly trained therapists are there to guide you throughout your laser hair removal journey. The hair will be assessed prior to any treatment. A full consultation will be carried out with a patch test for you to feel how the laser is on the skin. Any concerns or questions you may have with laser hair removal and hirsutism can be discussed with the therapist. Whilst the therapist may be able to offer a listening ear to the concerns, the therapist will not be able to give medical advice. Therefore, we recommend that you book in with GP to go over concerns related to hirsutism and to gain the diagnosis. 

Laser hair removal sessions may vary depending on individuals needs. 6-12 sessions are recommended as minimum. Each session the therapist will assess your hair follicles. Some clients may require more sessions than others due to the androgen hormone levels that are present with hirsutism. 

Book your no obligation consultation with Envie today. Starting your laser hair removal journey can be nerve-wracking, however our therapists will be able to put you at ease form the moment you walk through the door.

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