If you have tried and gotten tired of constant shaving, painful waxing, threading to get rid of unwanted body hair; then you are not alone! Facial hair in women and excess hair growth affects as many as 1 in 14 women.
And for PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), the problem of facial hair in women becomes even bigger and stubborn! It is estimated that more than 70% of the cases of unwanted body hair is caused by PCOS.
Now, facial hair in women is not really a health concern as such. However, it causes serious damage to the mental wellness of the woman, who is constantly reminded of the societal norms of female type of skin.
So, in this post we will get to the basics of unwanted growth and facial hair in women. You will also learn about the best Ayurvedic ways to treat facial hair in women, when and why you should be concerned.
Lastly, you will get to know highly effective natural remedies, Ayurvedic herbal medicines and best foods to control the root cause of excess body hair. Let’s dive in!
Excessive growth of Facial Hair in Women | Hirsutism
Hirsutism is the excessive and unwanted growth of facial or body hair in women. This excessive hair doesn’t only appear at upper lip and chin on the face. But, it can also show up on the breasts, abdomen, back, upper arm and legs, and inner thighs.
In hirsutism, the normal fine hair on the skin gets converted into thick and dark hair. This makes it prominent, specifically when it grows on your chin and anywhere on the face.
Types of Hair
Usually, there are fine hair, known as vellus hair that covers the face and majority of the exposed skin of women. Vellus hair is very fine, small and light in color. It is almost invisible. They have various health functions, one of which is to keep the body warm.
Also, there is another type of hair, the terminal hair which is coarser, darker and at least 0.5cm/0.2 inches in length. This hair covers the under arms and the private parts.
In hirsutism, some of the vellus hair follicles turns into terminal hair follicles under the action of excessive androgens. That’s why the excess hair of hirsutism in women is so pronounced and difficult to get rid of.
Also, this action is irreversible. That means, once a vellus hair follicle turns into terminal hair, it stays and grows like that.
Hirsutism in women is Progressive | Health Risks
Now, if you notice excess hair growth or hirsutism, then delay in treatment could be dangerous. This is why:
- It could be that what you really have is PCOS. In that case, then the hirsutism is really just one of several other PCOS symptoms that could have long-term effects. So, you need treatment in time.
- Like other PCOS Symptoms, Hirsutism is also progressive in nature. If you do not address the root cause of hirsutism, it may keep on growing. This way you will be dependent on shaving or hair removal for long time.
Androgens | The Male Hormones
Male hormones are usually referred to as Androgens. However, they are also produced in females, though in much smaller quantities than in males.
When androgens are produced in excessive amount in females, then they can lead to a number of health issues. And Hirsutism or excessive body hair growth is just one of such symptoms.
Some of the known Androgens include:
- Testosterone, the typical male steroid hormone, which is also responsible for male body type
- Di-hydro-testosterone (DHT)
- De-hydro-epi-androsterone (DHEA)
- De-hydro-epi-androsterone-sulfate (DHEA-S)
High Androgens in Women
A female with excess androgen usually tends to develop some of the symptoms such as:
- Her voice thickens
- Facial hair and male pattern hair growth (hirsutism)
- Breast size shrinks
- Body fat distribution changes, tending towards belly fat.
Usually, about 80% of women, who have high androgen levels have PCOS.
Why can I become Hirsute? What Causes Hirsutism in women?
Facial hair in women or unwanted hair growth adds to the agony and distress of as many as 30% of women with PCOS.
While, hormonal imbalance (hyperandrogenism) in PCOS is of the major cause of hirsutism; it is not the only one. Here are some of the causes of excessive growth and facial hair in women are:
- Insulin resistance
- Androgen secreting tumors
- Thyroid Dysfunction
- Adrenal hyperplasia (excess growth and activity), which might result in excess production of cortisol (stress hormone)
- Cushing syndrome, resulting from high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) present in the blood for a long time
- Medications containing hormones, steroids, or drugs that induce hair growth like Rogaine
- Excessive sensitivity of hair follicle to androgens
- Hyperprolactinemia – High prolactin levels
The Pros and Cons of Modern Treatment Options for Hirsutism
In modern times, treatment options available for hirsutism include treatment by hormones or removal of excess hair. Hormone based treatment options require consistent use for six months before some results can be seen.
1. Birth Control Pills
They work by suppressing hormones. Birth control pills suppress production of androgens by ovaries and slow down the excess body hair growth.
This use of BPCs has some undesirable side effects such as poor liver health, high triglycerides, weight gain and mood swings.
Also, birth control pills are contraceptives, they prevent ovulation, and that means no conception. And if you stop using pills, then hirsutism may strike and make excess hair even worse.
2. Anti-androgen medications
These come with the birth control pill prescription. They prevent the androgens from acting on hair follicle.
Some of the side effects with these medications are dry skin, headaches, irregular vaginal bleeding and heartburn.
3. Cosmetic therapy
These are intended to remove unwanted hair, for cosmetic purposes mostly. It includes methods like shaving, waxing, hair removal creams, bleaching, electrolysis, laser hair removal, etc.
Hair removal treatment options can range from cheap home alternatives to highly expensive therapies such as laser hair removal and electrolysis.
- These however doesn’t address the root cause. The hair may keep on becoming harder and grow further on.
- Some of these hair removal methods have their own side effects like physical discomfort, scarring, skin irritation or discoloration.
- Electrolysis is expensive and time consuming. With repeated treatments, it may result in 15 to 50% permanent hair loss. But, it is difficult to treat large areas like hairs on the chest or upper back.
Ayurvedic Natural Solution for Hirsutism and Facial Hair in Women
To stop excess hair growth, you should look into solutions that will help you to remove the root cause of hirsutism. Now, for excessive hair growth, it is actually high level of androgens.
So, the line of treatment of excess body hair should reduce the androgens and restore hormonal balance as a whole.
Hirsutism Diet and Best Foods
The type of foods you eat and your diet overall plays an important role in maintaining your health and hormone balance.
Ayurveda states that one should take in a wholesome diet that includes all six tastes “Rasa” to maintain Dosha balance. And specifically for facial hair in women, one needs to consume a Kapha Pitta dosha pacifying diet.
1. Promote Natural Detoxification
- Include blood purifying and antioxidants rich foods in your daily diet. Some examples are: watercress, green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables, raisins, green tea, ginger and garlic.
- Include a variety of fresh vegetables in both raw and cooked form.
2. Reduce Inflammation with these foods
- Consume foods that promote your digestive fire and help you to reduce inflammation. Some examples are: apple, berries, mangoes, oranges, avocados, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage, celery, garlic, onions, sprouts, barley, oats and wheat.
- Drink a lot of water to keep yourself hydrated at all times.
- Take salads in moderation during lunch time or morning, but avoid salads in evening.
3. Foods and Diet to Reduce Androgens
- Eat vegetables and fruits that help to balance hormones and reduce excess andogrens. Some examples are: Apricots, green banana, cherry, coconut, kiwi, lemon, carrots, green beans, leeks, spinach, oats, quinoa and rice.
- Oils to prefer are Ghee, Olive Oil, and Coconut Oil.
- Prefer Astringent and Bitter tasting vegetables, fruits, and grains.
- Do not hold off hunger or delay your meals. Always eat on the same time every day.
- Avoid or take in moderation animal products like meat, dairy and eggs.
- Prefer cooling and normal temperature beverages such as coconut water, still water, and herbal teas.
4. Worst Foods for Hirsutism in women
- Eliminate foods with a hot potency and hot temperature such as chilli and cayenne pepper.
- Reduce your intake of non-veg foods, especially red meat or foods that are high on fat.
- Lower your intake of foods that have a high glycemic index.
- Avoid excess salt, chilies, spices, sour foods, and pickles.
- Reduce the use of caffeine, stimulants, refined sugar, and cold drinks.
- Stop consuming junk food, and carbonated drinks.
- Avoid untimely meals, multiple meals, late night foods, and snacks.
- Stop the consumption of processed foods and packaged foods.
- Remove and avoid smoking, alcohol and nicotine.
Nutrition and Herbal Supplements for Hirsutism in women
5. Nutrition for Hormone Balance
- Magnesium – whole grain, cereals, nuts, dairy products, bananas, and chlorophyll-rich vegetables.
- Zinc: Foods such as Brown Rice, Whole Wheat, Oats, Millets, Dried Beans and lentils, Leafy Greens, Yams, Nuts, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin Seeds and Sesame Seeds.
- Calcium – dried fig, milk, and milk products, beans, pulses, seeds and nuts, cauliflower.
- Vitamin D – Get enough exposure to Sunlight from morning and evening Sun. Consume Vitamin D foods like egg yolk and animal liver.
- Vitamin K – Green vegetables, cereals, and animal food.
- Manganese – cereals, bran, nuts, and tea. Praval Bhasma may be consumed as well.
- Phytoestrogens: Flax seeds, fennel, licorice, alfalfa and aloe vera.
6. Ayurvedic Herbs to Reduce Androgens and Balance Hormones
These Ayurvedic herbs can be consumed upon consultation with Ayurvedic doctor, who can advise you on specific dosage and directions.
Ayurvedic herbs for hirsutism in women provide an effective way to naturally balance hormones, flush excess androgens and reduce inflammation of the skin.
Amla is useful for its detoxifying qualities. It also works well to reduce cholesterol levels.
That is not all. It is an anti-inflammatory agent, so it removes free radicals and helps to restore hormonal balance in the body.
2. Red Clover
This is another herb used in Ayurvedic treatment for hormone balance. It is useful because it is a rich source of phytoestrogens (estrogen rich foods from plants).
Thus, it acts as a natural source of estrogens without taking pills. Red clover also helps in purifying the blood and flushing out excess androgens
Holy basil or tulsi helps to relieve hyperandrogenism (excess male hormones). Thus, it helps to control hirsutism (unwanted hair growth) and anovulation.
Tulsi also improves insulin sensitivity and reduces high insulin levels. Hence, it removes one of the root cause of high androgens.
Take 2-3 leaves of tulsi early in the morning on an empty stomach. You can also boil it in water and drink it regularly.
Licorice is a sweet tasting root that helps to balance hormones. Specifically, it helps to reduce high Estrogen and high Androgen level. This reduces the growth and spread of unwanted hair.
Licorice is effective against inflammatory disorders and helps to establish the integrity of the digestive tract. This reduces bloating and constipation symptoms as well.
5. Fennel Seeds
These help decrease androgens (male hormones), and thus can help deal with hirsutism and unwanted hair growth in women.
Ashoka bark acts as a tonic for uterus. It promotes ovulation, establishes hormone balance and significantly reduces high Androgen levels. Thus, it is highly effective against unwanted body hair and acne.
Exercise and Lifestyle for Hirsutism in women
7. Prevention Tips | Your Lifestyle to Stop Excess Hair Growth
- Handle stress by slowing down, enjoying, and relaxing. Be in the moment and do things for the sole purpose of joy rather than productivity. When you manage stress, then Cortisol (stress hormone) goes down. It also helps to bring the androgens down.
- Sleep well and maintain regular sleeping hours of 6-8 at night. Check out Ayurvedic guidelines for good sleep in here.
- Avoid intense heat, hot temperatures, and excessive exposure to the hot midday Sun.
- Follow routine around your day and sleep timings. It will help to balance circadian rhythms and hence your hormones.
- Manage weight. Excess weight, in specific the belly fat, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and body hair growth go hand in hand. If this is your case, then weight loss will be helpful. Check here on how to lose weight with PCOS.
8. Physical Activity and Exercise
- Engage in regular, relaxing, calming, and cooling physical activity.
- Exercise at least 3 – 5 days a week through stabilising workout routines such as involving in recreational and non-competitive sports, traditional dances, swimming, hiking, running or brisk walking in nature or near water, yoga, Tai Chi, or Cycling.
- Physical activity should be avoided in warm/hot temperatures as it will aggravate pitta dosha and further fuel the growth of body hair.
- Prefer cooling temperatures of early morning or late evening.
- Avoid over exertion and excessive stretch. As a golden rule, exercise up to 50% of your body’s capacity.
- Regular practice pranayama and breathing exercises to improve oxygen circulation, relax your mind and naturally detoxify your body through the lungs pathways.
9. Home Natural Remedies to Remove Facial hair in women
Apart from the diet and lifestyle changes to stop the growth of unwanted hair, here are some highly effective natural remedies that you can employ to remove facial hair. Unlike the quick hair removal methods, these amazing solutions are not instantaneous and neither harmful to sensitive facial skin.
These natural remedies slowly and surely rejuvenate your skin and relieve you from excessive hair growth. So, stick to them and employ them once or twice every week for better results.
- For this, you’ll need papaya and turmeric powder. Peel and grind the papaya, mix the turmeric power with it. Massage your face with the resulting formulation for 15 mins. Wash of with cool water. You can repeat this once or twice weekly.
- You’ll also need turmeric for this one with milk and oats. Make these into a paste and apply to your face, then leave to dry. Gently scrub it off afterwards.
- Take 2 tbsp fenugreek seeds and 2 tbsp green gram. Grind them together into fine powder. Now take 2 tsp of this powder and mix with water to make a paste. Apply the paste where the hair growth is. Leave it there for some 20 mins and wash off afterwards. This can be done three times in a week. Store the rest in an airtight container in fridge.
- Do you have some honey, lemon juice and egg? A few drops of honey, lemon juice and egg white, mixed together, is something you can do then. Apply on affected area and leave to dry. Afterwards, remove with cotton dipped in warm water.
- Make a paste of half tsp each of Turmeric and Neem powder with 1tsp of Aloe vera gel to make a paste. Apply this on your skin twice or thrice in a week for the best results.
Now we want to hear from you. Do write to us for any queries and feedback. If you have tried any of the above Ayurvedic remedies for unwanted body hair, then do share your experience with us. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!
1. What causes chin hair in females?
There are a few potential causes of chin hair in females. It could be due to hormones, especially if there is an imbalance. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one condition that can cause excess hair growth. Another possibility is that it could be due to medication side effects. Speak with your doctor if you’re concerned about excessive hair growth. Finally, it could be due to a genetic predisposition. If your mother or grandmother had excess facial hair, you may be more likely to experience it as well.
2. What can naturally stop hair from growing on my face as a female?
There are a few things you can do to naturally stop hair growth on your face. First, you can try an Ayurvedic treatment for facial hair, which will not only stop the growth of excess hair growth but also balance your hormones for permanent relief from chin hair.
Additionally, there are many herbs and combination of herbs that have been used in Ayurveda for hair removal. Some of these include turmeric, neem, basil, fenugreek, etc. You can find a recipe for an Ayurvedic hair removal paste online or at your local health food store.
Another option is to regularly remove the body hair with a natural method such as threading, waxing or sugaring. This you should do in addition to application of natural remedies and Ayurvedic treatment.
3. Can Hirsutism be cured by Ayurveda?
Ayurvedic treatment for hirsutism takes a holistic approach to treat unwanted body hair growth, balance hormones and regenerate healthy hair follicles for permanent relief from excess body hair. Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies are highly effective to gently remove the dark hirsute hair and destroy terminal hair follicles that lead to chin hair.
Ayurvedic treatment for hirsutism involves application of herbal face masks, intake of Ayurvedic medicines, diet and lifestyle changes to cure facial hair in women.