Those with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) may be familiar with one of the most mentally difficult symptoms of the condition; excessive hair growth. Not everyone with PCOS will get this, but those who do may find it grows on the face. If that’s you and you’re keen to get rid, we’re covering how to shave safely, whether you should, and what other methods can help…
It’s thought that 70-80% of people with PCOS could have varying degrees of a symptom called hirsutism caused by an increase in the androgen hormones. Everyone has vellus hairs on their face (the tiny, almost-invisible ones), but androgens cause hair to grow darker and thicker, which can be distressing if it’s on your face, particularly for those who believe body hair to be a “manly” thing. Spoiler: it’s not. But we do understand the desire to remove hair from unwanted places, so let’s look closer at how to do this.
PCOS cannot be cured, so it’s more about managing symptoms than getting rid of them. Shaving may seem like the simplest, most convenient and cost-effective way to manage excessive hair growth, but we love a good pros and cons list, we do!
The pros… it’s easy, it removes excess oil and dead skin cells (which can brighten skin), it can be done daily, and it may even make your makeup last longer.
The cons… the 5 o’clock shadow means you may need to shave regularly to maintain smoothness, and there’s the possibility of ingrown hairs, dry patches, itching, and small cuts.
If you choose to shave your face, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to do it safely and effectively. To shave your face, you’ll want to follow these steps:
If shaving isn’t for you, there are other methods of hair management you can try instead:
If you’re thinking, “but why should I have to shave or wax or laser anything?!”... you’re absolutely right. If you choose to remove excess hair, you should feel empowered to do so, just as you should feel empowered to leave it be if that’s more your speed. Remember if you are happy and healthy otherwise, you don’t need to make yourself look a certain way because it’s thought of as the “norm” - stand out, embrace your natural body, and if you feel like it, let your hair grow long proudly. Plenty of people with PCOS choose to celebrate their facial hair and don’t let it affect their enjoyment of life - you can too.
“The moment I decided to let my facial hair grow out was August 11, 2016. It was something I had to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for… I can honestly say that growing my facial hair was the best decision I ever made. I absolutely love my beard. It's given me the confidence I never thought I would have.” - Alma Torres, interviewed by Allure
Do you have excess facial hair due to PCOS? Do you prefer to remove it, or let it grow naturally? Join our Full Stop FB group for a supportive place to discuss it, whatever your facial hair preference! Or if you have any questions, ask us on Instagram at @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised menstrual care package can get full-cycle care from organic tampons to hydrating face masks(and more) delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, to help keep your skin in tip-top shape, whatever choices you make with that facial hair!
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