What happens when a woman gets facial hair? - Evewoman
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What happens when a woman gets facial hair?

ALSO READ: Faith Macharia: I’m just a woman with a beard

A woman spotting male-pattern hair is medically termed as hirsutism, says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Pranav Pancholi of Avane cosmetic clinic in Nairobi.

“Often the woman will have hair on her chin. This would be with varying proportions. Some hirsutism sufferers have lots of hair while some have less,” Dr. Pancholi says.

“Some women may have two or three hair strands. That would be borderline hirsutism. The ones who are adversely affected will have a lot more hair,” he says.

The condition may be genetic or due to hormonal imbalance. It may also be a pointer to an underlying disease called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), the medic says.

 A simple blood test would be able to determine presence of hormonal imbalance.

Dr Pranav Pancholi, a cosmetic dermatosurgeon (Jenipher Wachie)

According to Dr. Kireki Omanwa, an obstetrician and gynecologist, PCOS presents with a biochemistry of elevated male hormones – which then provokes male-pattern hair growth.

“Often, PCOS sufferers suffer from hirsutism. But hirsutism could also be attributed to genetics,” he says.

Hirsutism does not only give a woman beard: a woman may have hair where only men typically grow hair — the face, the chest and the back.

Shaving, waxing, depilatory crèmes and threading, Dr. Pancholi says, are temporary options for dealing with hirsutism.

“Only laser hair removal offers permanent solution against growth of unwanted hair,” the dermatologist explains.

Women with hirsutism, Dr. Pancholi observes, seek hair removal treatment because the condition provokes low self-esteem.

“And for a lady, it also just looks unsightly to be walking around with visible beard,” he says. “The society has standards of what is feminine and any woman who does not fit the bill is chastised for it.”

Susan Wachira, a relationships counsellor, has similar sentiments, saying: “Beards on a woman is off-putting even to a potential suitor; as men want to marry a woman they can show off.”

Susan Wachira, a relationships counsellor, has similar sentiments, saying: “Beards on a woman is off-putting even to a potential suitor; as men want to marry a woman they can show off.”

But is it possible for a bearded woman to accept herself? “Absolutely,” says Catherine Mbau, a psychologist.

Accepting oneself, she says, allows one to live life again – their quirks notwithstanding.

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Catherine Mbau (Courtesy)

Catherine says self-acceptance needs to be conscious. “There is a difference between ignoring that you have the beard (living in denial) and being comfortable in your skin,” she says.

One could easily fall into denial. Someone in denial would not stand in front of the mirror to look at themselves.

“But when you truly accept yourself, you should be able to look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate who you are and your God-given beauty,” Catherine says.

Individuals who are struggling with accepting the way they look, she adds, may need Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) – a type of therapy by psychologists to help someone with self-loathing accept and love themselves as they are.

A good starting point, Catherine says, would be, to look at oneself in the mirror and speak words of affirmation.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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