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Video

Emma: I just don’t feel normal, I feel like a freak and I feel like I should be in a circus. I suffer from excess facial hair. I’ve tried waxing, I’ve used electrolysis, I pluck, I’ve done pretty much everything, I hoping there’s something that you can do to help.

Dr Dawn: Is the hair just on your face or do you have hair elsewhere,

Emma: No, I’ve got some in my cleavage, round my nipples, on my stomach.

Dr Dawn: And treatments you’ve tried to date haven’t been successful?

Emma: Well they take the hair away until it grows back again a couple of weeks later. So no.

Dr Pixie V/O: About 1 in 10 women suffer from excessive bodily and facial hair, it’s often caused by unusually large levels of the male hormone testosterone in the body.

Emma: I would love to be able to go out in public, talk to other people. I mean I’m a recluse now, I might as well not exist anymore.

Dr Dawn: We have to get your hair sorted, has anyone ever talked to you about laser treatment?

Emma: No.

Dr Dawn: Because laser treatments today are amazing, and they really can achieve, hopefully a permanent hair loss.

Dr Pixie V/O: Hair today, gone tomorrow, it’s time for 37 year old Emma to have her excess hair lasered. As this treatment works on the hair follicle beneath the skin, it’s actually better to be clean shaven. The laser beam disables the follicle and prevents the hair from growing. With hair as coarse as Emma’s, it’s going to take about 6 treatments, but with each treatment you can see results.

Dr Pixie V/O: After just two laser treatments to remove excess hair, Emma is back at the clinic so Dr Harper can see if things are going smoothly.

Dr Dawn: Hi, come on in, how are you? Wow, I’m amazed at that in two treatments.

Emma: I feel wonderful.

Dr Dawn: Go on then, tell me. What have you done since you were better?

Emma: My husband’s taken me out for dinner, we all went out to the park for the day, I’ve just done loads!

Dr Dawn: So what’s the timeframe for the next treatments?

Emma: Once a month for four months and that’s it, finished.

Dr Dawn: Are they quite optimistic that that will be permanent then?

Emma: Yep, all I know is that it’s working for me. I feel happy, I feel wonderful.

Dr Dawn: I think you look fantastic; you just look like a different person.

Emma: Thank you.

Dr Dawn: Take care.

Read the video transcript

Consultation: Excess Facial Hair

Excess facial hair affects around one in every ten women and it can take a severe toll on their social lives as well. Dr Dawn Harper talks to a patient who feels she is living like a recluse because of this embarrassing illness, and advises a course of laser treatment to alleviate the symptoms – with remarkable results!

If you’re suffering from any of the conditions featured on this site and want to apply for an onscreen consultation with one of the EB team then you can find more details here >>

Remember that you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

If you are worried that you child is suffering from excessive hair, read the condition guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids.

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Comments and Questions

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I am the mother of a young women (age 37) to has decided to embrace who she is....and no longer shaves. At first I was alarmed and dismayed because she is so attractive. I didn't want people to make fun of her. Now, 3 years later I understand that she is in fact taking a stand for all women to embrace who they are...with confidence and dignity....and yes, some people stare. Especially older men. But she takes time to chat with young children about her beard and to explain that we are all created in different ways...and that bullying for our differences should not be tolerated. I applaud her actions! Once you begin talking with her the hairs on her chin and lip melt away...and the only thing you notice are her beautiful eyes and her delightful, heart-felt laugh. Perhaps more people should take such a stand and then we would no longer carry this ridiculous sense of shame.





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I have been plucking for years, Dr says I have idiopathic hirsutism so not much can be done, I have tried lazer, but being a red head, this is ineffective, so fed up of shaving and plucking, I have constant red marks on my chin and am scaring my face, I am in my 30's and it does effect my confidence :(





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I have a somewhat similar case, so I tried laser hair removal treatment. Unfortunately, every time I went in for the treatment my skin would flare up and I would hive up forcing me to conclude that I may be allergic to the laser light or the treatment somehow. It was always the same and the dermatologist at the time didn't help me in any way. I finished the treatment and tried to manage the allergic reactions every time as best I could, but after a few weeks of being done the hair came back completely. Now, almost a year later, the hair is thicker and blacker than ever. It's also more difficult since it grows under the skin, which was due to all the shaving in preparation for the laser treatments every time. Do you recommend anything else?





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If it is caused by an excess of the male hormone testosterone why does the doctor not simultaneously work at balancing their hormones in addition to laser hair treatment.





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am a 22 year lady, and am growing hair like a man, its really embarasing, thanks to being a muslim i have to cover my face, but honestly speaking i want to be like other gals but due to the beard i have i cant remove my hijab, this is really making me loose confidence about myself, i tweeze often bt then turns my face red and i get rashes, if you have the solution to remove unwanted hair pliz do help,





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The root problem isn't that 1 in 10 women has "excess' facial hair. The root issue is that we are taught a lie, that women do not have body hair, except for head, public area, and thin eye brows. Women and girls internalize this lie and feel bad about our bodies if they deviate from the model being held up as the standard. It's interesting that most men are much hairier than most women, but our society does not expect them to shave their hairy armpits and legs.





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I am yet another sufferer of the excess facial hair which also grows under my chin and towards my neck. I have given up begging my GP for help as there just isn't anything out there that really works. I cannot see how threading is any different to plucking or waxing. It still takes the hair from the root but mine seem to have a race to see who can get to the outside the quickest! Pluck one, grow two by the late afternoon! I am tearing my skin to pieces digging them out and have a constant red patch about 4 inches across which is scabby from all the stress I put my mush through. I don't go out anywhere now because of the embarrassment and it's making me thoroughly miserable to the point, I have even thought about suicide. What I don't understand is why transexual male to females can have drugs to stop facial hair growth, why can't female hirsutism sufferers have them????





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I am nearly 40yrs old and I have suffered with facial hair since I was 16 I have done everything under the sun and ask my doc for help to the reply of there was nothing he can do for me well I am in quiet ill health at the moment (thyroid)but I love your last comment and this a.m I am going to see my doc with my MUM and he is having the book thrown at him so to say (lol)

Hi Tracy. It won't let me reply to your post. Please update us on what your GP says about the transexual drugs for hair stopping growth.

Hi my name kathleen I am 50years old I have really bad facial hair need help been to my doctors got no way . I had a bad RTA in 1987 got PTSD and brain damage . Wish someone could help me . I cry a lot wish I die in the RTA because I don't like the way I look





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I have been suffering from excessive hair on my face for the past 20 yrs .. it has got worse and I have to shave my chin twice a day .. I have tried everything hormone balance and steroids .. any help please because I have lost confidence





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how to lightening upper lips,it has become dark





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Have you tried jolen bleach cream, you can get it from boots, tesco etc.





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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More Information

  1. Quick Health Advice: Unwanted Facial Hair

    In Videos - Dr Harper explains the causes of unwanted facial hair and some of t…

  2. Hirsutism

    In Conditions - A condition where a woman grows too much body or facial hair in a p…

  3. Dr Dawn Harper

    In Videos - Find out more about Dr Dawn Harper

  4. Dr Dawn Harper

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Dawn.

  5. Dr Priya Manickavasagar

    Doctor Info - Find out more about Dr Priya.

  6. James Russell

    Doctor Info - Find out more about James Russell.

  7. Quick Health Advice: Male Hairloss

    In Videos - Dr Christian explains the causes of male hairloss and the treatment…

  8. Premature Greying

    In Conditions - When hair turns grey at a young age, many years before it would nat…

  9. Alopecia

    In Conditions - Baldness or loss of patches of hair amongst women.

  10. Quick Health Advice: Athlete's Foot

    In Videos - Dr Harper gives out some advice on how to avoid getting the particu…

  11. Doctor Responses: Excessive Hair

    In Videos - Dr Pixie answers your most frequently asked questions about excessi…

  12. Quick Health Advice: Psoriasis

    In Videos - Dr Harper explains the causes of and treatments available for psor…

  13. Ingrowing Pubic Hair

    In Conditions - A pubic hair that grows at an abnormal angle and then turns back in…

  14. Quick Health Advice: Stress Incontinence

    In Videos - Dr Harper discusses stress incontinence and what can be done to sto…

  15. Pediculus Capitis

    In Conditions - More commonly known as 'nits'. These are pin-head sized grey-brown…


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