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by Geoffrey Redmond, MD


How Much Hair is Normal
Testosterone is thought of as the male hormone but this is not strictly accurate because it is present in active levels in women as well as men. Women’s levels however are only 5 to 10% of men’s levels.

In both sexes, testosterone levels rise at puberty, causing increased oiliness of the skin and the appearance of pubic and underarm hair. While we think of these as the only places a woman has body hair, most have some on other areas as well: lower legs, upper thighs, between the navel and pubic region, around the nipples and on the chin and upper lip. Some women experience increases in hair on other regions as well: chest and abdomen, lower back, neck and cheeks.

Because I see many women with increased hair growth in my practice, I am often asked how much hair is normal for a woman. There is no absolute answer. Half of American women remove facial hair at least once in a while and ten percent remove it two or more times a week. Many of the women I see in my practice remove even more often. Some even use a razor once or twice a day because their facial hair grows as quickly as a man’s. Heavy hair growth on women is not as rare as people think because women with this unfortunate problem do all they can to hide it. Most never discuss this problem with friends because they feel so embarrassed about it.  Women on TV or in movies or magazines never seem to have any extra hair. The reality is different. There are some well known actresses who have considerable growth of facial or body hair but they either wax it off or the camera is kept slightly out of focus – a trick also routinely used to hide wrinkles. Retouching is the rule also.

There is no sharp dividing line between normal and abnormal amounts of hair. Facial and body hair is a very personal matter and so a personal definition is appropriate: hair that is enough to make a woman afraid that it will show is too much. However this does not mean that a medical problem is present.  A few hairs in the following locations are normal for a woman: outer corners of the upper lip, the chin, around the nipples, between the navel and pubic region and the tops of the thighs. If a woman has more than light growth of hair in these places or if there is wider coverage of face and body, then the condition of hirsutism can be said to be present. This degree of extra hair is reason for medical evaluation, especially if accompanied by irregular periods or weight problems.

  <- Previous      Next ->

How Much Hair Is Normal
Medical Terms For Extra Hair
Ethnic Variations In Facial And Body Hair
What Causes Increased Hair
Lab Tests For Increased Hair
I Have Too Much Hair But My Hormone Tests Are Normal – How Can This Be?
Other Reasons For Hirsutism With Normal Testosterone
Treatments For Increased Hair
Medications For Increased Hair
Hope For Women With Unwanted Hair


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