Hair on My Face -- Causes and Top
10 Natural Remedies

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Last updated October 6, 2016 (originally published April 7, 2011)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Some cultures prize female hairiness while others see it as a
stigma. The answer to “how much is too much” varies
depending on who you ask. But if you suffer from excess
hair in all the wrong places you’re likely to see it as a curse
rather than a blessing.

Excess facial hair on women, technically known as
"hirsutism", affects millions in the US. According to the UK’s
National Health Service, one to three women out of 20 suffer
from this condition, many of them in silence.

With hirsutism, the hair that grows on your face is typically
thick and dark and covers areas that would normally be the
domain of male hairiness – the upper lip and chin. You can
also find hair on your chest, lower back and buttocks.  

Excess facial hair can be extremely distressing, affecting your
confidence and your self-esteem. Excessive hairiness can
prevent you from socializing, making friends and speaking to
new people. Will you be tied to the razor and the hair
removing cream for the rest of your life if you suffer from
excess facial hair? Is there anything else you can do to
prevent excess hair on your face and body?

What Causes Hair on Your Face?

As you may suspect, excess facial hair and hirsutism is tied to
male sex hormones called "androgens". If you suffer from
excess facial hair you may be producing too many
androgens, such as testosterone, or your hair follicles may
be more sensitive to androgen than normal.

When reaching  menopause, women naturally suffer higher-
than-usual levels of testosterone which can cause hirsutism.

In pre-menopausal women, high levels of androgens are
linked to a condition called
polycystic ovary syndrome.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (also known as PCOS) is one of
the most common causes of hirsutism. Excess facial hair can
also, in some cases, be a
sign of ovarian cancer.

According to the UK’s National Health Service, nearly 75% of
hirsutism cases in pre-menopausal women are caused by
polycystic ovary syndrome. As well as causing excess hair,
polycystic ovary syndrome leads to acne, irregular periods
and weight gain.

With polycystic ovary syndrome you may suffer from insulin
– this means you need higher than normal levels
of insulin to control your blood sugar level.

High levels of insulin cause your ovaries to produce too
much testosterone, which leads to hair growth.
 For the
same reason, diabetics and people with poor
blood sugar
may also develop  facial hair. (Read more about
foods that help you keep blood sugar steady.)

Excess facial hair can also be caused by various medicines
used to treat endometriosis or epilepsy. According to the
Cleveland Clinic, the following are some of the medications
can cause hirsutism:

  • anabolic steroids
  • testosterone
  • glucocorticoids
  • cyclosporine (Sandimmune®)
  • minoxidil (Loniten®, Rogaine®)
  • danazol (Danocrine®)
  • phenytoin (Dilantin®)

On rare occasions, hirsutism may be caused by a tumor that
produces androgens.

Who Suffers From Excessive Hair on Their Face?

Sometimes, however, all the tests in the world can’t find a
reason for your excess facial hair. Depending on your
background, you have more chances of suffering from
excess facial hair – women of Mediterranean or South Asian
descent naturally have more body hair than other women. As
we have noted, facial hair can increase after the menopause
– the UK’s National Health Service reports up to three
quarters of older women have excess facial hair.

One thing’s for sure, in terms of the overall worldwide
population of women, you’re not alone. According to
“Idiopathic Hirsutism", 2000, by Azziz, Carmina and Sawaya
hirsutism affects between five and 10 percent of women

It may be relatively common – and not often life threatening
– but excess facial hair is still an embarrassing and
problematic condition. How can you get rid of your excess
hair? Do natural remedies, foods and lifestyle changes to
reduce the hair on your face? We’ve looked at the available
evidence to suggest some ways to achieve hair-free skin.

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Excessive Facial Hair

1. Lose Weight To Get Rid of Hair on Your Face

Weight loss reduces the levels of androgens your body
produces and androgens contribute to excess hairiness.
Losing weight also decreases the conversion of
androstenedione to testosterone.

Losing just a little bit of weight can help. According to a
1992 study from St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London
40 percent of obese women with excess hair who lost at
least five percent of their body weight experienced a
reduction in hirsutism. If you’re obese, shedding the pounds
brings great health benefits and also helps your skin remain
hair-free.  (Read more about
weight loss and simple diets to
combat weight gain).

Exercise Lessens The Hair on Your Face

Strange to think that exercise can somehow reduce hairiness
but there’s reasoning behind the oddness. Improving your
sensitivity to insulin if you have polycystic ovary syndrome
helps reduce the amount of testosterone you produce, and
therefore the amount of excess hair. Regular exercise is also
beneficial in reducing insulin resistance, as well as combating

Any exercise is good but one 2002 study from Otago
University, Dunedin, New Zealand found intense aerobic
exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week improves insulin
sensitivity. Women who didn’t exercise or exercised less did
not show the same improvement.

Spearmint Tea Reduces Excess Facial Hair

Good news for those who like drinking herbal teas –
spearmint tea could help combat hirsutism.

This theory comes from one 2010 study from Eastbourne
District General Hospital, East Sussex, UK which found a two
cups of spearmint tea a day improved levels of patient-
assessed hirsutism as well as lowered levels of testosterone.

The study followed on from 2007 research from Suleyman
Demirel University, Isparta, Turkey that found two cups of
spearmint tea significantly reduced levels of androgen in the

Warning to men ---the spearmint plant had been reported to
the researchers to reduce libido in men in a town in
southwest Turkey, possibly as a result of decreased
androgen levels.

Vitamin B6 Helps Prevent Excessive Hairiness?

Vitamin B6 appears to reduce the body’s production of
prolactin, a hormone that increases the uptake of
testosterone by the tissues. This was demonstrated by
McIntosh in 1976’s “Treatment of women with the
galactorrhea-amenorrhea syndrome with pyridoxine (vitamin
B6)” among others. Also, when you’ve got a vitamin B6
deficiency the cells appear to respond more strongly to
hormones like androgens. So, vitamin B6 supplements may
help combat your facial hair problem.

Chastetree Berry To Cut Excess hair?

Extract of vitex agnus-castus (chastetree berry) has been
used through the ages to treat menstrual irregularities and
to improve fertility. In addition, chastetree berry is believed
to normalize levels of luteinizing hormone (spoke about by
Speroff et al in 1999’s “Clinical gynecologic endocrinology
and infertility”), high levels of which can contribute to your
high levels of androgen production.

Inositol For Hirsute Women

In one 2003 study from Monteluce Hospital, University of
Perugia, Italy 136 women took 100mg of the supplement
inositol twice daily for 14 weeks, while 147 took a placebo.
Those taking inositol showed improvements in symptoms of
polycystic ovary syndrome which could include regulation of
periods and a reduction in the severity of unwanted hair.

N-acetylcysteine Supplement Can Treat Excess Facial Hair

Other supplements that show promise in treating polycystic
ovary syndrome, and the increase in facial hair associated
with it, include N-acetylcysteine. A 2005 study from Benha
University, Egypt found N-acetylcysteine combined with drug
treatment was dramatically more effective in treating
polycystic ovary syndrome than the drug treatment taken
with placebo alone.

Does Cinnamon Help Reduce Excess Hair?

Based on the premise that cinnamon has shown some
promise as a treatment for diabetes, experts wondered if the
spice could have an effect on insulin sensitivity in polycystic
ovary syndrome. In one small 2007 study from Columbia
University, New York cinnamon extract did improve insulin
sensitivity in
polycystic ovary syndrome sufferers. More
research is needed to clearly recommend cinnamon for use
as a treatment for hirsutism, but the initial results seem
intriguing. (Read more about the Top 10
health benefits of

Soy Helps Reduce Facial Hair?

Soy products increase the balance of estrogen, female
hormones, in the body so could soy work to reduce
androgens and therefore excess facial hair? One 2000 study
from Monash University, Clayton, Australia looked at the
effects of soy protein on the menopausal symptoms of
postmenopausal women. The research showed women
taking soy supplements containing isoflavones over three
months reported a significant improvement in facial hair, as
well as vaginal dryness, libido and dry skin. However, the
placebo group also experienced an improvement in facial
hair. The jury is still out on the benefit of soy for excess
facial hair.

Does Black Cohosh Reduce The Hair on Your Face?

A 2006 study from the University of Göttingen, Germany
looked at the effect of black cohosh on postmenopausal
women and concluded the herb has weak estrogen-like
effects. Black cohosh is also said to have anti-androgenic
effects and may therefore have an effect on excess facial
hair, although scientific evidence is lacking.

Control Your Insulin Levels to Reduce Hair on Your Face.
As you might have guessed, controlling insulin can help to
reduce the hair on your face. The reason this works is
because the overproduction of insulin is one of the primary
causes of hirsutism.

The body produces insulin in response to the presence of
sugar in your blood stream. So, in order to reduce the
amount of insulin, you need to reduce the amount of sugar
you consume. Follow a low-glycemic diet to lower the
amount of sugar produced after you consume a meal. Foods
which are low-glycemic include green vegetables, proteins
whole grains. Foods which are high-glycemic, meaning they
will raise your blood sugar, include refined grains (basically
white bread), certain vegetables (carrots, beets), non-
fibrous fruits (cherries, bananas) and sugar itself.

Here is a resource for
low-glycemic eating as well as a  list of
foods that can help you keep your
blood sugar levels steady
during the day.


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