female face

Whiskers, and No Cat; Coping with Facial Hair Development

As if vaginal dryness and atrophy, weight gain, fuzzy thinking and emotional whirlwinds weren’t enough to deal with during the process that is peri menopause/Menopause, along comes another problem that threatens to push us over the edge: WHISKER DEVELOPMENT and a pervasive peach fuzz issue that threatens to turn us into primates overnight.

It’s an odd and cruel thing really…a cosmic joke of sorts: Your hair is thinning on top of your head, your body hair is thinning, your eye lashes are thinning – yet whiskers the size of toothpicks are sprouting on your chin, chest, back – and/or other odd places, and just at a time when you thought you couldn’t feel any more out of control or unattractive.

SURPRISE! Welcome to the world of hormone imbalance and facial hair!

Although up until recently, facial hair development in women was attributed solely to hormone imbalance, new findings are proving that there is more to it- and actually with those findings, comes a much greater sense of empowerment…

But first things first:

It’s not at all uncommon during the latter stages of peri menopause-and throughout the entire phase that is actual full-blown Menopause- for this issue to rear its ugly head. More women report battling increased facial hair growth during this time than those who don’t.

Misery may love company but this is not a cause to rejoice.

It’s believed that the chief cause of facial hair growth in middle-aged women is due to an imbalance between estrogen and androgen, also known as Testosterone.

This imbalance doesn’t necessarily automatically point to an underlying health problem, but can simply indicate that estrogen levels are dropping below normal, allowing other hormones to become primary in the mix that is your personal chemical cocktail.

That said, there are possible underlying health issues that can cause this issue to develop, and for that reason, if facial hair development becomes a problem or concern for you, you should see your physician ASAP for lab work to rule out things such as: ovarian issues like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, pituitary tumors, adrenal issues, etc.

When consulting with your physician about possible underlying health conditions contributing to facial hair development, it’s wise and helpful to request lab tests that look for not only imbalances of the ‘standard’ female sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) but to check other hormone levels such as DHEA-S (which can convert to testosterone in the body), and also look into how you’re cycling by gauging FSH and prolactin ratios. Tests gauging adrenal function are also wise to get and it’s never a bad idea, especially during Peri menopause, to check thyroid function.

These tests should provide a clear picture as to what exactly is going on- and how to correct hormone imbalances so that you feel better moving forward.

This is where, in the past, help would cease and your options would come to a grinding halt. Not any- more.

As mentioned earlier in this article, there’s a new school of thought about hormone imbalance and facial hair growth in women, and the findings are quite empowering. As luck- or Wisdom- would have it, come to find out, there’s A LOT that can be done to help a woman maintain and regain hormone balance naturally. Go figure!

Women who experience hair growth issues during Peri menopause/Menopause (Hirsuitism) seem to be prone to very tiny amounts of hormone and as such once hormone levels get out of whack, profound issues can rather easily development. What is proving helpful however, is the day to day lifestyle choices each woman makes.

Women who are overweight have a much tougher time with facial hair development due to the fact that fat stores create their own hormone imbalances. Losing weight can cause a significant decrease in testosterone levels if they are high. When estrogen is the primary hormone in a woman’s body, it serves to keep her hair ‘vellus’, or short, soft and pliable. When estrogen declines and male hormones become primary, hair follicles respond by becoming more like the facial hair found on a man’s body; coarse, dark and whisker-like.

Aside from achieving health weight loss, new studies are showing that blood sugar levels have a serious role to play in this issue. Insulin, when high or spiked, causes the female body to trigger the release of androgens (male hormones). Androgens trigger and stimulate the hair follicles and WHAMMO! There you are sproutin’…

The answer? Eat a diet exceedingly low in refined sugar and carbohydrates and focus instead on low glycemic foods: lean protein sources, fruits and vegetables, high fiber and healthy fats.

Too, working to eliminate- or at the very least reduce- stress goes a long way in preventing and also stabilizing hormone imbalances.

Now, for those of you with facial hair growth wondering what the heck to do about the stuff topically, you have several options, almost all of which bring potential issues of their own: Waxing (can cause chapping of the skin and ruptured capillaries if done too often or improperly), Bleaching (can cause rash and loss of skin pigment), Depilatories (can cause loss of pigment and allergic reactions), Electrolysis (often time-consuming and expensive).

My best recommendation: first and foremost: do NOT shave the critters! If your facial hair growth is merely of the peach fuzz sort and is light colored, try your best to make peace with it. Peach fuzz serves a purpose and actually creates the perfect atmosphere for your skin to stay smooth and well lubricated.

If you’re dealing with full-blown whiskers, aka: terminal hairs, tweezing is the way to go, as doing so removes the root and doesn’t cause the superficial issues the earlier mentioned options can cause.

The bottom line is this:

Menopause is a perfectly normal phase of a woman’s life and brings with it many gifts and blessings. It also brings with it many challenges and issues- but it is in dealing with those issues we ultimately achieve better health, truer beauty and more balance throughout our lives as a Whole.

The issue of facial hair growth is just another opportunity to address the underlying issues and provide yourself the TLC you need and crave!

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