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Is Facial Hair A Sign Of Menopause

What About Those Random Few Hairs

Hair loss & facial hair during the menopause – The Menopause Minutes

Most females have vellus hair on the face, but some may have more terminal chin hair. This can be due to genetics or age. Menopause can trigger more chin, neck, or facial hair.

Research shows different racial groups can have different levels of androgen and resulting body and facial hair.

Hair follicles are unique for everyone and how they respond to testosterone can differ. The rate of hair growth from follicles also varies. This can result in a few random long hairs in unexpected locations like the neck. For most people these random hairs are normal.

Menopause And Facial Hair Causes And Treatment Options

Your hormone levels shift periodically and throughout your life because of aging, weight gain, and other factors, including pregnancy and menopause.

Many post-menopausal women find that their hair just wont grow like it used to. The hair on their scalp thins, while the chin or upper lip sprouts patches of peach fuzz. These changes are very normal. In fact, one study found that almost 40% of women age 45 and older have an excess of facial hair growth, especially on the chin. According to another study, it is very likely you will experience unwanted facial hair after menopause.

Treatment And Hair Removal

Treatment options depend on the cause of hirsutism, and your doctor will discuss the treatment options with you. But for the removal of hair, the methods below are the most popular and offer the best chance of success.

Physical removal techniques

These techniques are essentially the same ideapulling the hair out at the root. Contrary to popular belief, plucking, waxing or tweezing will not make the hair grow back thicker. These techniques are temporary and hair usually grows back in a few days to weeks.


A topical cream that is applied to the face or area of unwanted body hair. Applied twice daily, the cream works by blocking a natural substance that is needed for hair growth. Vaniqa slows hair growth and may also make the hair finer and lighter. However, results may not be seen for at least 4 weeks and only last as long as the cream is continuously used.


Electrolysis uses a direct electric current to kill the hair follicle at the root. If done properly , it is recognized as the only true method of permanent hair removal. This technique requires a number of sessions to get rid of the hair permanently.

Laser treatment / Intense Pulsed light therapy

A growing and more successful technique for hair reduction is the use of lasers or Intense Pulse light therapy . The key difference between laser and IPL is the type of light that the device uses. In terms of effectiveness, with a few caveats, both are thought to be equally effective.

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Can Menopause Cause Facial Hair

From perimenopause onwards, many women notice changes to their skin and hair due to a drop in their bodys usual oestrogen levels.

Oestrogen plays an important role in maintaining collagen in the skin, so a change in hormonal balance can make wrinkles more prominent. At the same time, hair can become thinner and some women even experience menopausal hair loss.

But menopause can have the opposite effect on the hair on your face. Excess facial hair can be an embarrassing menopause symptom affecting womens confidence, as it is often coarse and dark.

Menopause-related facial hair shouldnt have to be something you just put up with though – there are natural options out there for rebalancing your hormones, managing multiple symptoms and getting your confidence back.

Symptoms Of Hirsutism In Women

Human Lab: Facial Hair

The symptoms and signs of hirsutism depend on the underlying cause, but may include:

  • a sudden change in hair colour, rate of growth, thickness or distribution
  • excessive body hair in typically male areas of the body such as the face, back, abdomen, inner thighs and buttocks.

Additional symptoms may include:

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How Estrogen Affects Hair And Skin

If youre seeing changes in your hair and skin post-menopause, you can usually blame rapidly declining levels of the hormone estrogen.

Estrogen promotes water retention and plumpness in the skin, Dr. Williams says. When estrogen drops, you lose some of the molecules that help keep the skin moisturized. Estrogen also contributes to hair growth and fullness. Without it, your hair may become thinner.

Menopausal Hair Loss: Is It Reversible

    Menopause is a time of extreme hormonal changes that typically occurs around the late 40s and early 50s. After menopause, many different physical symptoms can appear, including menopausal hair loss. These symptoms can also include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, insomnia, and vaginal dryness.

    Many people want to know if hormonal hair loss can be reversed. The answer is yes! Fortunately, unlike genetic hair loss, most hair loss caused by hormonal imbalances is reversible.

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    Causes Of Unwanted Facial Hair After Menopause

    Just like men, women have hair follicles all over their faces. However, for most women, these follicles grow tiny, soft hairs that are barely noticeable.

    During menopause, a womans body stops circulating estrogen but continues to circulate the same amounts of testosterone. The imbalance of hormones causes the appearance of some male secondary sex characteristics, like coarse facial hair.

    You should let your doctor know if your facial and body hairs are growing quickly. This might signal a more serious medical condition. Tumors of the ovaries or adrenal glands that produce testosterone could be stimulating your hair growth, or you may have Cushing syndrome, a disease in which the adrenal glands secrete excessive male hormones, resulting in excess hair growth.

    Facial Hair And The Menopause

    Menopause and Facial Hair

    As we undergo hormonal changes during the menopause, it can trigger a gradual change in hair growth patterns. One common, and sometimes upsetting, sign of this is facial hair. It may appear on our upper lips, or as coarse dark hairs sprouting from our chins. Meanwhile, our eyebrows might become thinner.

    Why do we experience facial hair during menopause?

    When our female oestrogen and progesterone hormones fluctuate and fall, our testosterone levels can form a more dominant position in our general hormone production. If testosterone stays high long term, this will create an imbalance in terms of producing more male hormones called androgens. Higher levels of androgens means unusual and unwanted male pattern hair growth and hair texture on the face and the body.

    Facial hair and your confidence

    For many of us, gaining facial hair can feel confusing, distressing and maddening because it is threatening a part of our femininity and our body image. It can add to the sense of feeling out of control of what is happening within, during menopause. We may feel as if our appearance is compromised and this can really knock our self confidence, because facial hair is such a visual change to experience during the menopause.

    What can help with excess facial hair?

    The first helpful thing you can do is to be tested for an increased level of androgen production and then rebalance with natural remedies to help reduce the androgenic symptoms.

    Popular remedies for dealing with facial hair

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    How Common Is It

    Female hair loss is a common condition, especially in the years surrounding menopause. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it is estimated that over 50% of women experience hair loss. Age, diet, ethnicity, and genetic factors all influence your chances of experiencing hair loss throughout your life, including during and after menopause.

    What To Do About Facial Hair

    Nothing is a totally legitimate choice here. Theres nothing dangerous about a few extra chin hairs. But if they bother you, there are ways to get rid of menopausal facial hair, or at least minimize its appearance so you feel more comfortable and confident with your appearance.

    Ditch the magnifying mirror. Most of the time, the facial hair that seems so obvious to you isn’t to others. If youre using a magnifying mirror to apply makeup or get our contact lenses in, it may be making the hairs look worse to you. Use a regular mirror and honestly assess the situation. You might even want to ask a trustworthy friend for her opinion. This can help you decide how much time, effort, and money you want to invest in a remedy.

    Pull em out. If you only have a few, grab a tweezer and pluck them out. For more hair, waxing or threading may be more practical solutions. Threading uses thin, doubled thread pulled tight and rolled over the face to remove hairs. Both options should be done by an expert to prevent ingrown hairs. And contrary to any tales you may have heard, plucking via any method will not cause hair to grow back darker or coarser.

    Shave it off. You may balk a little at the idea of shaving your face, but its a cheap, effective remedy. Plan on shaving in or just after a shower when hair is softer and use a sharp razor to prevent rashes or ingrown hairs. While hair will grow back more quickly than when you pluck it, it wont grow back darker or coarser.

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    What Can You Do To Prevent Or Treat It

    For PCOS, the birth control pill along with anti-male hormone medication will reduce and, eventually prevent any new terminal hairs. For women who are overweight or obese, embarking on a weight-loss program may help since obesity can alter the way the body produces and processes hormones.

    If you want to get rid of existing terminal hair, laser or electrolysis is typically needed. Plucking, pulling, or shaving can worsen hirsutism by irritating the skin.

    Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact us, and well be happy to address any of your concerns.

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    What is “menopause face” and what can be done to address it?

    Dermatologist Dr. Sonia Batra explains this issue is a real thing and can affect women as a result of the decline of estrogen and progesterone that occurs during menopause and it can take a toll on someone’s appearance. The signs of menopause face can be:

    • Thinning of the skin
    • Hair loss and thinning of the hair
    • Acne breakouts

    Dr. Batra says there are products and treatments you can use at home that may help with these menopause face-related issues.

    For hair loss the dermatologist recommends trying Minoxidil, starting with a 2 percent formula.

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    Hair Loss During Menopausal Transition

    Hair loss during the menopausal transition can be just as dramatic as menopausal hair loss. The two are both related to the same changes in hormone levels. The menopausal transition is the time leading up to menopause and can last several years. During the menopausal transition, fluctuating hormones can cause some of the same symptoms typically associated with menopause.

    What Happens Inside Your Body During Menopause

    A womans body slows down somewhere in her 40s. During this period her ovaries begin to produce estrogen in an irregular manner, particularly in terms of its frequency and intensity. This means either your monthly periods become fewer and far between or they vary in the strength and the amount of shedding .

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    Estrogen Is Also Responsible For The Maintenance And Support Of Other Body Functions Including:

    1) Female phenotype structure. This distinguishes a woman from a man in stature and physical development. A womans bones are generally smaller and shorter than a mans. A womans body normally has wider hips and thighs. Also, the voice box develops narrower to produce a distinctly female voice. Girls develop mature female breasts. This is largely due to the predominance of estrogen.

    2) Fat storage. Estrogen controls and coordinates where women are most likely to store their fats. This is why a womans hips grow wider than a mans.

    3) Skin condition. During menstruation, when a womans estrogen level is low, the dermis becomes thinner. Also, estrogen is known to suppress sebum production , which makes a womans skin less oily than a mans. This is the reason it is less likely for females to develop acne.

    4) Hair quality. Women have finer hair than men, and the hair on their heads are more permanent than in men.

    5) Also, generally, estrogen helps maintain brain function, bone strength, energy balance, and heart health.

    What You Need To Know About Hair Loss During Menopause

    Banishing Unwanted Facial Hair In Menopause

    The various symptoms of perimenopause and menopause affect each woman differently. Along with hot flashes, mood changes, and sleep problems, some women experience thinning hair. Hair loss during menopause is not a sign that something is medically wrong, but it can be startling to many women. Lets look at why menopausal hair loss happens and what can be done to treat it.

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    Increase In Androgen In Menopause

    The significant drop in estrogen production during menopause also seriously affects these bodily functions. This drop in estrogen is responsible for many of the symptoms associated with menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, and weight gain. It also accounts for the proportional increase of androgen levels in the bloodstream. Androgen is often referred to as the male hormone. Women may not be aware, but their ovaries also produce androgen.

    Increase In Facial Hair Growth During Menopause

    Q1. I have been getting extra facial hair ever since menopause set in. Is this hormonal, and would taking a low dose of hormones correct the problem? Conversely, I have been losing a lot of the hair on my head! Is there anything that can help these problems?

    Brandy, California

    It’s not unusual for extra facial hair to appear after menopause. Why? The ovaries decrease and eventually stop production of the female hormoneestrogen after menopause, but both the ovaries and the adrenal glands continue to make male hormones, such as the androgen testosterone. This shift in the ratio of male to female hormones can cause more hair to grow on the face.

    Will estrogen help reduce this growth? It probably won’t have a significant effect, and having extra facial hair isn’t a reason to start hormone therapy. You shouldn’t take these hormones unless you’re also having moderate to severe hot flashes and night sweats that are impairing your quality of life. If the facial hair isn’t out of control, try plucking, waxing, or bleaching.

    Q2. I have been getting extra facial hair ever since menopause set in. Is this a hormonal problem, and if so would taking a low dose of hormone replacement therapy correct it? Conversely, I have been losing an awful lot of the hair on my head! Is this common in menopause? What can be done to deal with both these problems at the same time, or is that even possible?

    Brandy, California

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    Women’s Voices For Change

      Last week, a reader sent in a comment in response to one of our stories:

      I entered menopause at the age of 58 Ill be 61 in April. My biggest complaintand no one I know seems to share thisis a sudden abundance of light facial hair! Not just an occasional wild hair on my chin, but a 1/4 inch of light soft hair from ear to chin and upper lip! I had it waxed once, but read that waxing will eventually cause the hair to coarsen. Now I cut it back with at small pair of scissors, but it still seems so obvious to me. Honestly, I would gladly trade this for hot flashes! Anyone out there who shares my dilemma? What do YOU do? HELP!!

      We referred the question to Dr. Michael Reed, a New York dermatologist who manages hair loss and is familiar with hair issues in general. Heres his response.

      Unwanted facial hair is very common in menopausal women. An increase in facial/body hair is called hypertrichosis. When hypertrichosis is seen in areas where visible hair is usually seen in men, it is called hirsutism. The 61 year-old woman who suddenly noticed short blond hairs on her face in a male-pattern distribution appears to suffer from hirsutism. Those hairs have always been there, but have become more noticeable as a result of hormonal changes related to menopause.

      The Dermatologist’s Guide To Treating Menopausal Acne



      As if the hot flashes and mood swings weren’t enough, add “constant breakouts” to the list of menopausal symptoms. The root cause should come as no surprise it all comes back to good old-fashioned hormonal changes. And these hormonal changes can cause acne not only during menopause, but also before and after. In other words, it can be something you’re dealing with for years to come. But the good news is that, with the right approach and treatment plan, there are ways that you can help keep menopausal acne in check.

      Ahead, Ife J. Rodney, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, MD, and Jessie Cheung, MD, a dermatologist in Willowbrook, IL, explain everything you need to know about what sets menopausal acne apart from other types of breakoutsand what you can do to clear your skin.

      Meet the Expert

      • Ife J. Rodney, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Eternal Dermatology in Fulton, Maryland.
      • Jessie Cheung, MD is a dermatologist in Willowbrook, Illinois.

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      Can Hair Turn Grey Overnight

      Stress can cause the life cycles of different hair follicles to synchronize and enter their shedding phase together. This results in hundreds of older, more pigmented hairs falling out at the same time, to produce a rapid, noticeable thinning.

      What remains are the finer, less pigmented hairs in the earlier stages of their current life cycle which suddenly become more noticeable.

      This phenomenon, known as telogen effluvium, can cause someone to look noticeably greyer within a short period of time the source of tales about someone turning grey from shock overnight.

      Here are 10 tips for improving your thinning or graying hair.

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