Hair there and everywhere
UNDER YOUR SKIN - Grace Carole Beltran, MD (The Philippine Star) - January 25, 2016 - 9:00am

Let us just say that Chiney is a girl with hirsutism. For those who are wondering what hirsutism is, it’s simply excessive body hair, especially in females due to hormonal imbalance. This may not seem like such a great cause for concern for non-sufferers, but for females with hirsutism, it is a cause for great mental stress.  In this present day, little body hair is airbrushed in magazines and women have the freedom to flaunt their smooth, silky skin on the beach while sporting their bikinis or midriff-baring outfits.  How Chiney envied these women!

Sharing Chiney’s story would hopefully help other hirsutes.  Chiney, 17, has been living with hirsutism since puberty at 10. She has been shaving her legs since age 8, but was actually almost 10 when she first became conscious that her body hair was abnormal.  She really did not take much notice of it until a boy repeatedly pointed at her thick eyebrows and the hair on her upper lip.  She used to believe that her hair was just more noticeable because it was darker than that of other girls her age and her skin was so white.  But one day, a neighbor came to play dress-up. As young girls are, she and her friends had no hangups about getting changed in front of one another. So, she pulled off her shirt and her friends caught sight of her belly. In disgust, her friend squealed, “Eeeew, what’s that on your belly?” After laughing it off, she ran to a room and took a look at herself in the mirror and then came the initial feelings of repugnance and humiliation. 

Hirsutism not only left her with a bruised ego and an injured identity — as Chiney got older, her hair got more peculiar.  There’s more dark hair on her arms extending to the mid biceps, cheeks, chin, back, feet, and in between her cleavage.  Also, more dark, thicker hair from the hips down. The most involved areas were Chiney’s inner thighs, behind her legs, and her behind. She felt absolutely horrible about herself.  She felt like King Kong!  How she wished not to wake up one morning plucking her chin, shaving her upper lip and cleavage! Chiney longed for the time she could wear shorts or bare her midriff.  She didn’t want to cry over her body anymore. She wanted to feel feminine again!

Hirsutism is the excessive hairiness on women, in those parts of the body where terminal hair does not normally occur or is minimal like, for example, beard or chest hair. It refers to a male pattern of body hair (androgenic hair) and is therefore primarily of cosmetic and psychological concern.  Hirsutism is a medical issue rather than a disease — it may be sign of a more sensitive medical condition, especially if it develops well after puberty. 

Hypertrichosis, on the other hand, is a condition of excessive hair growth that must be distinguished from hirsutism.  Hypertrichosis in prepubertal children, unlike hirsutism, is not associated with an underlying endocrine disorder and is most commonly an adverse effect of drug administration.  Hirsutim is androgen-dependent while hypertrichosis is not. Hypertrichosis is, generally speaking, easier to treat except for the acquired generalized type since the other types are not complicated by hormonal imbalances.

Here are some of the treatment modalities available for excessive hair growth:

• Cosmetic camouflage by using makeup.  Bleaching, which makes the hair less visible by partially removing the natural pigment giving hair a yellowish tinge.  The effect lasts for about four weeks.

• Physical methods — mechanical or chemical depilation or the removal of hair at some point along the hair shaft or epilation.  Epilation is the removal of the entire hair from the skin surface.  Any type of depilation requires hair to be 2-3 mm long.  Results of epilation last longer than depilation. Chemical depilatories remove hair by damaging it (dissolving), so that it breaks at the skin surface. These are available in different forms: sulfides of strontium, barium and calcium, and thioglycolates.   Chemical depilatories are more appropriate for weekly removal of hair in small areas.  On the other hand, electrosurgical epilation is aimed at permanent hair removal and is highly operator-dependent.

• Mechanical, which includes plucking, waxing, shaving. 

• Lasers and other light sources — very popular for long-term hair removal. Selective destructive effect on melanin caused by the heat generated by laser burst, causing damage to the surrounding hair follicle. The best so far is laser for hair removal.

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For questions or inquiries, call 09174976261, 09998834802 or 263-4094; email






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