Guest Post by Renae Gylbert
My bout with what I know know to be severe hirsutism and mild PCOS appeared when I was just 11 years old.
I remember showing my sister the fine, stringy hair growing from my jaw line. She and I thought it was weird and just took an old razor and shaved it off, going about my 11 year old business.
Several years later, I found myself in high school with a full beard wondering what in the world was I cursed with?!
Fast forward into adulthood and two kids later, I eventually diagnosed myself with hirsutism before 2 endocrinologists, a gynecologist and a general physician did. I suspected I also had a mild case of PCOS because my periods were oddly irregular following my second pregnancy. My gynecologist admitted my ovaries had cysts but not any that would cause me to look like a wolverine cub.
Upon further research, I stumbled upon many non-medical means that could be helpful in curbing excessive facial and body hair from women dealing with PCOS and hirsutism.
Why go natural with treating hirsutism and PCOS?
Since starting my own website for hirsutism, The Hirsutism Hub, many girls have contacted me saying hormonal therapies did not work for their hormonal imbalance. I suspect some of them did not stay true to the regimen long enough (I found positive results with body hair reduction taking 200mg/day of Spironolactone after 6 months). Others may have had undesirable reactions to spironolactone or metformin or whatever birth control their doctors prescribed.
And it is true: many hormonal therapies come with undesired side effects including weight gain, headaches, heavy periods, higher than normal potassium levels and the danger of feminizing a male fetus if the user is pregnant. Sometimes, women are scared to try conventional medicines because they are lead to believe the side effects outweigh the necessary effects.
What has worked for me?
Dealing with hirsutism for nearly 20 years, I’ve tried tweezing and shaving and waxing and tweezing some more. So I have a good idea of what works and what only provides temporary relief! Laser hair removal and electrolysis have been very good to me but as a single mom of two, it was not always in the budget!
So after intensive research, I tried some of these holistic methods and they have actually provided me some relief of the dreaded 5 ‘0 clock shadow. I wanted something effective for my facial hair since the spironolactone appeared to only work for my body but not my facial hair.
These methods are not miracle workers but I definitely notice a reduction in growth and appearance of unwanted hair on my face:
- Tea Tree and Lavender Oil: According to an 2012 Italian study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation, applying an oil spray with tea tree and lavender oil on affected areas twice a day with subjects suffering from mild idiopathic hirsutism saw a noticeable reduction after 3 months. I tweezed some fine chin hairs and sprayed a mix of lavender and tea tree on the area a couple times a day. I truly did notice the hair was growing back slowed after a few weeks. Plus lavender oil seems so good!
- Spearmint Tea: This tea has been popular for centuries, especially in the Middle East. It is believe to have anti-androgenic properties and several studies have shown when drank a few times a day, spearmint tea has slowed the growth of unwanted hair. One study showed that subjects with hirsutism who drank the tea twice a day for a month reported significant reductions of hirsutism. I mixed some spearmint tea with lemon tea (I hate the taste of spearmint!) and to my utter surprise, I notice my facial hair was growing back much slower! I would usually see ingrowns with a few days, but while drinking spearmint tea, the hair grew back much slower. I did not notice normal regrowth patterns for almost two weeks! If you want to try it, you’re in luck since spearmint tea is sold in most grocery stores.
- Turmeric Facial Mask: I cannot stop bragging about what turmeric paste has done for my facial hair! Turmeric, as a beauty and health product, is nothing new as it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It involves mixing turmeric powder, which you can find in any grocery store, an oil of your choice and cream, like plain yogurt. Mix together to make a creamy facial mask. I was using this at first as a facial scrub and anti-inflammatory agent since I get red very easily from tweezing. I used these everyday, sometimes twice a day, for a solid month and noticed my facial hair was finer, thinner and not as coarse. I wanted to do cartwheels! While there is no medical proof showing turmeric helps reduced unwanted hair, some aestheticians believe the Indian powder shrinks hair follicles, making hair growth more difficult, which could explain the fine, thin appearance of my facial hair.
As I stated above, these are not miracle pills; just natural methods that actually reduced the growth of my hirsutism on my face. And there are many naturals methods hirsute and PCOS chics can try; these are just the ones I used with success.
Give them a try. You may be very happy you did!
Renae has struggled with excessive facial hair (medically known as “hirsutism”) most of her life. She finally found the courage to talk about her ordeal and related topics a few year ago by starting her blog, The Hirsutism Hub. She loves reaching out to women like herself dealing with hirsutism while giving them an unique support site they can go to for a shoulder to lean on.