What Is Superfluous Hair Growth?

Ed Schipul/CC-BY 2.0

Superfluous hair growth, also known as hirsutism, is a condition that causes excessive hair growth in women. It may occur on different areas of the body such as the face (especially around the upper lip and chin), breasts, back and abdomen. Unwanted hair growth in women may be seen as culturally unattractive or unacceptable. It is especially noticeable on dark-haired women, as dark hair is more visible.

Superfluous hair growth is mostly caused due to hereditary factors and is known to affect certain ethnic groups. Although excessive hair growth is considered culturally abnormal in women, it is actually very normal. Some causes of the condition include stress, obesity, genetics, oversensitive hair follicles, too much secretion of various androgens (including testosterone and follicle stimulating hormone) and certain drugs.

However, unwanted hair growth can also be caused by an underlying medical disorder, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or even diabetes. To treat the problem, it is important to know the cause behind it. Since much unwanted hair growth is the result of hormonal imbalances, it may be corrected with hormone therapy. But if there is no hormonal problem, or if it has already been treated, the unwanted hair can be removed via shaving, waxing, laser therapy or electrolysis.