Hormones & Hair Growth
Have you ever wondered why some people are hairier than others? Why some people grow hair in certain places that others don’t? Whilst hair growth cycles, location and colour are determined by our individual genetics, it is hormones that regulate the production, frequency and challenges in creating long-lasting removal.
Both male and female bodies contain androgens or male hormones. When these become imbalanced or levels become increased, hair growth can darken, thicken and appear in new places. Whilst the cause of increased androgen activity is often genetic, factors such as puberty and Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and can all contribute to increased growth of unwanted hair.
Puberty marks the moment where new hair starts to grow in new areas over the body. Existing hair may also thicken and darken. Increased growth fuelled by Luteinizing Hormone begins for most females between the ages of 8-14. This hormone stimulates the secretion of both testosterone and oestrogen. Continued growth and thickening of hair may continue into the early 20s until hormonal production subsides or rebalances. Genetically, certain people are more prone to hair growth than others during this period. This is also the same for menopause when further hair changes are initiated on the body.
As one of the major causes of hormone imbalances, PCOS may affect between 5%-10% of the population. Over half of a million Australian woman of child bearing age are believed to be affected by this disorder. Cysts (or eggs) fail to mature properly and release from the ovary. Under an ultrasound, these appear as tiny black dots on the ovary itself. Although the official cause of PCOS remains unknown, most doctors argue that Insulin Resistance is the underlying cause for most patients. This inability to produce effective insulin can then stimulate the over production of testosterone. Whilst acne and weight gain are common symptoms for most patients, excess hair growth on the face, chest, abdomen and back is typical for many sufferers.
The problem with abnormal hormone surges and hair growth is that the hormonal trigger would need to be sedated or equalised in order to regulate hair growth and thickness. Whilst treatments may include hormonal balancing medications such as the contraceptive pill, this may not offer a successful solution for many patients.
Permanent Laser Hair removal with medical grade machinery provides success for existing growth and concerns however cannot prevent future growth triggered by continuing hormonal imbalances. Once a series programme has been completed to treat the bulk of unwanted hair, ongoing maintenance treatments are required to treat new growth if, when and where it occurs.
By: Andrew R. Christie
Beauty & Skin Industry Specialist