Unwanted hair growth, a condition called hirsutism, is a problem women may face if their levels of male hormones are too high. Male hormones, called androgens, are normal for everyone to have, and women normally have small amounts of these substances in their bodies. Hormone imbalances that include high levels of testosterone in the female body can cause menstrual irregularities as well as the development of facial and body hair.
Hypertrichosis is the excessive growth of hair in males and may be seen on any part of the body, but is common on the back, chest and ears. Though medications can be used to slow unusually vast amounts of hair growth in both men and women, there are also natural remedies to consider, including lifestyle changes and herbal supplements.
Slow Unwanted Hair Growth in Women
Discuss your concerns about unwanted or excessive hair growth with your doctor. If you are overweight, determine if shedding some pounds could naturally remedy the problem.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some women may be able to control and reduce unwanted hair growth through weight management.
Cut back on the amount of refined carbohydrates you eat, and choose low glycemic load foods such as whole grains.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that insulin resistance can lead to excessive hair growth in women. High glycemic foods such as carbohydrates can cause blood glucose levels to spike, and can create insulin resistance in some women.
Boosting your intake of vitamin B6 can help reduce the amount of unwanted hair. Vitamin B6 helps your body break down starches efficiently, and may help regulate glucose levels.
The World's Healthiest Foods recommends eating a variety of meats and fish, including chicken, turkey, beef, salmon and halibut. Non-meat sources of B6 include bananas, cabbage, red bell peppers, broccoli, tomato, watermelon and carrots.
Try natural vitamin and herbal supplements as a treatment for hirsutism. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) explains that saw palmetto is a natural herb that can be used to even out hormone imbalances.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics reports that vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, may act as an androgen antagonist, which would block the activity of male hormones in the body. These can be a cause of excessive hair development in women.
Consult your doctor to determine appropriate doses of these supplements.
Slow Unwanted Hair Growth in Men
Follow a healthy diet that involves a calorie intake large enough to support your body's functions. The New Zealand Dermatological Society explains that eating disorders in men, including anorexia, can lead to hypertrichosis, or excessive hair growth.
Based on your condition and medical history, your doctor can help determine how many calories you should be eating each day.
Limit or discontinue use of oral medications that can contribute to the development of hypertrichosis. Cyclosporin, a medication that suppresses your immune system, can lead to a hairier body. Phenytoin, an anti-seizure drug, may hold the same side effect. Topical steroids and iodine solutions can also cause hypertrichosis in some people.
If you are taking these drugs and notice that your hair is thicker and growing more rapidly than normal, talk to your doctor about possible transitioning to a new medicine.
Take care of underlying medical conditions that may contribute to your problem as a way to naturally slow down or prevent unwanted hair growth. According to the New Zealand Dermatological Society, skin infections, including a form of dermatitis called lichen, can promote abnormal hair growth.
Have your hormone levels checked to be sure you do not have a thyroid problem or other imbalances.
Don't despair if you take steps to treat excessive hair growth on parts of your body where you do not want hair that treatment for hirsutism would also cause you to lose scalp hair.
The American Academy of Family Physicians states that treating hormonal imbalances can actually help stop types of hair loss such as male pattern baldness.
- Mayo Clinic: Hirsutism Prevention
- MedlinePlus: Excessive or Unwanted Hair in Women
- Molecular Cancer Therapeutics: Androgen Antagonist Activity by the Antioxidant Moiety of Vitamin E, 2,2,5,7,8-Pentamethyl-6-Chromanol in Human Prostate Carcinoma Cells
- Natural Health Solutions for PCOS: Hirsutism and PCOS
- NCCAM: Saw Palmetto