Unwanted hair: The Myth, The Problem, and The Solution.

Something that is undesired, creates stress in life. Be it an undesired job, a toxic relationship, an underperforming car, or even an unhappy workplace. These are the fringes of one’s life that bring no positivity in one’s life, rather they decrease the value of one’s life..

 

It is natural human instinct to try and get rid of these long list of undesirable things to make life more positive, productive and enjoyable. Though it sounds easy, it’s not. You might not be happy in your current workplace or with the current job you have. But there’s no guarantee that you will get another job of the same stature and pay if you were to quit this one.

 

Your relationship has become toxic over a period of time. You want to weed it out as soon as possible. In such a tricky personal scenario one tends to introspect. Is it practical for me to take this decision right now? What kind of negative or side effects will this particular turn in life have on my job, my family, my friends, and me as a person? Will this really lift me up, or in the process, pull me down.

 

Downsizing or getting rid of something from your life is not an easy decision to make. It is crucial, many times having lots of side effects as well. Today, we want you to look at these undesirable things in your life from a totally different perspective. Can’t we look at all unwanted things like chains? Imagine this. Your morning alarm is ringing. You are about to wake up from your bed and get ready for work. But wait, you realize that you’re feet have suddenly put on a ton a weight. These are the first set of chains. Then you try to move your head, to pick up your mobile to check the time. But wait, your hands are also tied up in chains. Frustrated by these chains, you try to jump out of the bed, to relieve yourself of this unwanted bondage. And now you realize that your body has been tied down with chains. Is this is a happy picture? No, right? Then why do we hold on to these unwanted things, when we know all they are going to do, is devoid us of positivity?

 

In this article, we are going to talk about one such unwanted thing in your life. This is something, that has been lowering your confidence, something that has been making you feel uncomfortable at work and home and something which is holding you down from soaring up high professionally and personally.

 

It is your unwanted hair.

 

Unwanted hair is a problem that many of us suffer from. In some, it is a medical condition as well. Unwanted hair makes us clumsy and drives us to underestimate ourselves. Anyone suffering from this problem of unwanted hair growth becomes shy, introvert , conservative and limits one’s ambitions. Due to this persisting problem, you are often diverted from your professional and personal focus. You gradually become anti-social and are also not accepted that openly and greatly by those around you. If someone acknowledges your problem, you feel scared that you’ll probably be made fun of or worst, rejected by a particular group of people, who are pretending to be your friends and closed ones.


This is the Problem, that we would like to solve for you today.

Before we do that, let’s understand the myth about this problem, the nature of the actual condition and then we will deal with possible solutions for stopping or inhibiting unwanted growth of hair.

Like any other socially uncomfortable problem, there are tons of myths which have been spinning around and about this topic of the problem of unwanted hair growth. Today we are going to  discuss  and solve three common, but crucial myths related to the problem.

 

Myth 1: Unwanted hair growth is not a common problem and only a few individuals suffer from it.

 

Unwanted hair growth has always been a taboo in our society. Another struggle for individuals who suffer from this problem is a lack of information and lack of acknowledgement.

 

Let me help you simplify this struggle. Unwanted hair growth is a fundamental hindrance. It causes social anxiety and clumsiness, often leading to underestimation and lack of confidence. This hindrance can be defined on many levels. More than often, patients have asked me how to identify, whether they have this problem or not. We need to understand that this growth may or may not be visible. For example, unwanted growth of pubic hair is also a challenge, but because it is not visible socially, it is often not acknowledged. Research has proven that 40% of the adult female population suffers from some degree of unwanted hair growth, and in many of those cases, it is facial unwanted hair.

 

If you look at it from this simple perspective, identifying the problem will be a piece of cake. If you have hair growth, on various parts of the body like face, hands, legs, pubic areas, etc., and it is undesirable, then you are suffering from this problem. After diagnosis, we will be able to figure out whether this problem is only visual or superficial, or if it is medical. Which brings us to the second myth related to this topic.

 

Myth 2: Unwanted hair growth is only a cosmetic problem, and not a medical one

 

Let us first draw a line between cosmetic and medical problems. Cosmetic problems or hindrances are those which can be resolved or nullified by cosmetic superficial treatments. Whereas, medical problems require a deeper diagnosis and research. Then according to established parameters, the intensity of the medical problem is judged, following which proper treatment is prescribed.

 

Unwanted hair growth is a medical problem as well. Medically, we are going to look at two conditions  associated with unwanted hair growth in the latter part of this paper. The first one is hirsutism, and the second one is hypertrichosis.  

 

After working personally with clients and patients on a one to one basis, I have come to a vital conclusion. That is the extreme, and sometimes unbearable and burdensome effects that this problem has on an individual. One of these effects is a social phobia. Patients suffer from social phobia and are uncomfortable in groups beyond their immediate family and in a few cases, friends. Our society has a negative perspective of looking at people who suffer from unwanted hair growth, especially when the growth is visible. Social phobia eventually leads to patients suffering from depression and a low self-concept.

 

Adult females having unwanted growth have low self-esteem and feel disgusted sometimes trickling down to shame. This causes considerable psychological stress and lowers their confidence. Another problem, which is particularly prevalent the Indian society, is lack of knowledge, or worst, misinformation. Clients and patients often tend to self diagnose and thus cause themselves unwarranted stress. Now we come to the third myth, which is particularly connected to the lack of proper knowledge and misinformation.

 

Myth 3: Removing body hair is a relatively new idea, and thus to be kept under wraps

 

It is quite clear that the removal of body hair is not a new concept or trend. Neanderthal cave paintings also depict man using seashells as a tool to remove body hair. The reasons for the removal of body hair can be broadly classified into cultural, religious and medical. On my visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford U.K., I came across various ancient tools to remove unwanted body hair with different methods such as tweezing, pulling, shaving, burning, and ripping. The want of getting rid of unwanted hair goes back to 4000 B.C.

 

This helps us understand that hair removal is not a new age invention, thus disregarding it as a taboo. The perception of society has to be changed. And this can only be possible with proper dispersion of accurate information and penetration of knowledge. We must also accept that this societal change will be a slow one, and like all other societal transformations, this will also take time and persistent efforts. In the history of hair removal some dangerous and life-threatening methods like usage of snake oils, potions and X-Rays. Eventually, in the course of the development of science and technology, these methods vanished, and some of them are banned now for decades.

 

What we need to understand is, that every problem, especially when escalated to societal one, will have certain myths and misinformation circling around. Our responsibility is to be proactive and curious, to divulge into these myths, find their root, and weed them out; thus making way for 100% awareness and development of a scientific attitude to tackle the problem of unwanted hair growth. The following part of this paper will throw light on the problems and define them in detail.

 

Problem 1: Hypertrichosis

 

Hypertrichosis is a condition wherein abnormally excessive hair growth is observed on the body. It is vital to understand that females, as well as males, can be affected by this condition equally. There are a few types or categories of Hypertrichosis, which will help us further to identify the disease. This condition doesn’t show similar conditions in all patients. Hypertrichosis can also be localized. Which simply means that its effects may not be seen on the entire body but only on specific parts. Hypertrichosis can be caused by a side effect of a strong drug, cancer, some sort of eating disorder, metabolism problems, and so on. Hyperthyroidism can also lead to Hypertrichosis.

If the disease has had extreme effects on the patient, it is also described as Werewolf Syndrome, as the patient appears similar to the mythical character, with abnormal hair growth all over the body.

 

Problem 2: Hirsutism

Unlike Hypertrichosis, Hirsutism is a condition only found in women. In this condition, the growth of male-like hair is observed in women. These hair are pigmented, long and thick, which is a typical terminal male pattern of hair growth. It is important to note that hirsutism affects five to ten per cent of the female population in the world. In addition to this, this unwanted hair growth is found in women in unusual areas of hair growth such as chest and face.

Hirsutism is of two types. Androgen-induced and non-androgen induced. Let us try to understand these two types in brief. Androgen-induced hirsutism is excessive production of ovarian or adrenal endogenous production or exogenous production due to drugs. This results in a reduced rate of metabolism. Idiopathic or familial or drug-induced hirsutism is called as non-androgen induced hirsutism. Another problem that patients might face is the lack of knowledge on how to identify hirsutism. Which symptoms to look out for, and how to ascertain them.

 

These questions can be easily solved by the chart that Ferriman and Gallwey have put forth. In this method, 11 different body parts were identified, where women face unwanted growth of hair. Chest, upper and lower back, abdomen, arm, thigh, and so on. This method can be used to determine the density of unwanted hair growth in women aged between 18 to 38 years. Scores have been clearly assigned, ranging from zero (implying no terminal hair) to four (implying excessive growth of terminal hair).

 

Problem 3: Psychological and psychosocial problems

Other than the medical problems that unwanted growth of hair can lead to, I would also like to focus on the often neglected psychological and psychosocial problems that women facing unwanted hair growth go through. Our modern society has been particularly unforgiving when it comes to looking at women going through the struggle of living with unwanted hair.

 

 This nature of the society, in general, leads these women to find out desperate means to get rid of unwanted hair as soon as possible. Thus, they seek out temporary as well as permanent treatments to remove hair, without prior knowledge of the possible side effects and aftermath of these treatments.

 

Women suffering from the problem of unwanted hair growth also results in degradation of their social life. They are avoided at public places, and therefore often feel isolated. In extreme cases, this can also result in social phobia, wherein the patient resists communicating with others at all, and also faces a lack of self-confidence. Eventually, these women start having an inferiority complex and shy away from the smallest social interaction. Depression and disfigurement anxiety are few of the problems that spring up from the social phobia. Thus, the inhibition of these unwanted hair has become vital for maintaining the psychological balance and preventing social phobia in these women.

 

Now that we know the problems related to unwanted hair and their seriousness, various solutions are also available in the market, to solve this problem, either temporarily or permanently.

 

Here are some of the existing treatments to get rid of unwanted hair growth.

  • Oral Contraceptive Pills are used to suppress certain hormones in order to reduce androgen levels in the body. This treatment has been reported to reduce hirsutism in a few patients.
  • Various Androgen receptor blockers like SPA, Flutamide, and Cyproterone Acetate are administered through the oral route and are claimed to reduce androgen levels, thereby reducing hirsutism to a certain extent.
  • Most well-known and widely used measure is the mechanical removal of unwanted hair through methods like shaving, waxing, electrolysis and laser treatment.

Out of these laser treatment is upcoming and is widely used in various parts of the world. Laser Epilation uses specific wavelengths of light to attack the melanin in the hair and works by causing a thermal injury to the hair follicle. Though this treatment works in many cases, it has a fundamental obstacle to cater to all cases. The nature of the treatment and its process is such that the patient needs to have a stark colour contrast between the hair and the skin. In most

cases, that means the patient needs to be fair skinned, for the laser treatment to work to its optimum. It is also vital to understand that removing unwanted hair through laser epilation doesn’t work effectively with grey, blonde and red or fine hair due to their low pigment levels.

 

If we study each of these treatments in detail, it will be easily possible to draw a conclusion, that each of these treatments is either too invasive or has negative side effects or like laser epilation does not work for all. The need and urgency to develop a way of removing the unwanted hair, preferably on a permanent basis are clear. Inhibition is seen by many today as the possible solution for this problem which is faced by a considerable chunk of the population. Inhibition of unwanted growth of hair is an idea that appealed to me and that led me to my discovery of a product that can solve this problem and probably relieve the numerous women suffering from social phobia due to the same.

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