Image: Thea Lovstad for Matteau
Whether it appears as excess facial hair or dark coarse body hair, hirsutism for women is something they want to be rid of.
I know this personally.
If you struggle with this condition you’ve probably tried all the standard methods of treatment for hirsutism - waxing, epilators, hair removal cream, electric razors, standard razors - and nothing has helped.
In fact some of them can make the situation worse leading to increased hair growth, ingrown hairs and rashes. Never mind the pain involved with waxing and epilators.
But a couple of years ago I discovered a solution I never imagined would be so successful: home laser hair removal.
Keep reading to find out more about hirsutism (or hirsuitism, as it’s sometimes spelled) and the best home laser hair removal devices available today, including the one that changed things so dramatically for me.
The definition of hirsutism is the excessive growth of coarse dark hair on body areas where men typically grow hair, affecting 5 to 10
percent of women, and is caused by an increase in hormones called androgens, including testosterone and androstenedione.
One of the major differences between hirsutism and typical hair growth is the texture of hair. When caused by hirsutism the hair is generally coarse and dark and difficult to manage.
Image: Justine Aranha
The cause of hirsutism is explained by Healthline.com.
‘All individuals produce androgens, but these levels typically remain low in individuals assigned female at birth. However, if a women’s skin suddenly becomes sensitive to androgens, or her body begins to produce these hormones in excess, she can develop hirsutism’.
As mentioned above the main cause of hirsutism is an increase in hormones called androgens, which can occur due to several conditions
including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and adrenal gland disorder.
However, there are some other less-common causes including hypothyroidism and androgen-secreting tumour.
There is also a version called familial hirsutism which refers to excess body hair due to genetics often occurring in women of Mediterranean, Middle East or Indian descent. This is perfectly normal and is not associated with any underlying medical condition.
Although the condition itself isn’t dangerous the hormonal
that can lead to it may complicate a person’s health and can be caused by various issues.
If you haven’t seen a doctor yet it would be a good idea to do this now, to check what’s behind your hirsutism and see if there is anything your doctor can suggest for you.
There’s no current cure for hirsutism in terms of medication however there are a few ideas your doctor may suggest you try.
Combination birth control pills are the most common treatment for hirsutism, followed by anti-androgen medications to reduce your body’s ability to make androgens and therefore limiting there impact.
Personally, when I was diagnosed with hirsutism I was also diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and my doctor started me on a contraceptive pill that had shown to help some. Unfortunately I didn’t experience any improvements.
There are also several non-medical methods for treating hirsutism including the waxing, epilation, and shaving, however with hirsutism these methods become wearing as they need to be repeated so often and can be difficult because of the coarseness of hair. Never mind the pain involved with some of them!
Then there are electrolysis and professional laser hair removal, which are effective but very expensive.
And then there’s home laser hair removal.
My struggle with hirsutism began when I was 18 and it plagued me for over 15 years until I took a risk and invested (and I definitely see it as an investment) in a home laser hair removal device.
I spent years avoiding situations where my ‘hairiness’ would be exposed and felt unfeminine and embarrassed due to my issue with hirsutism, which had been diagnosed as medium to severe (not the best!).
I avoided the beach, pools, clothes that would bare my legs, doctors (spent years delaying my first PAP smear), and relationships.
I remember some friends unknowingly insulting me when they spoke of someone we knew who was a little hairy. And she was nothing like me!
It really did affect me and was a huge challenge to my confidence.
One of the reasons I chose to talk on this subject is that when I was dealing with it I felt I was dealing with it on my own. That no one else would have the same problem.
This made me feel more isolated and 'damaged'.
I’d wax and end up with huge red ingrown hairs that would end up infected, or shave and be hairy again by the following day, or epilate and want to bite a stick because tearing out my coarse hair hurt so much.
But the reality is that millions of women face this challenge and that it does’nt need to leave you feeling ashamed or of lesser value.
Treatment for hirsutism hasn’t actually evolved much in recent years with laser hair removal and IPL being the most common non-medical options.
I considered these treatments but both of them have their negatives including the huge cost, the emotional challenge of exposing your condition to those treating you, the inconvenience of repeated visits for treatment, and the fact that these techniques are generally not permanent and so at some point you will face all of these challenges again!
But there are solutions that work, that won't leave you broke and that you can use from home!
Discovering home laser hair removal has come as close as possible to eliminating hirsutism as a problem in my life.
With my home laser hair removal I’ve gone from needing to spend ages shaving every night and still never being hair free (plus the ingrown hairs and other reactions I mentioned earlier), to shaving once every couple of months, taking about 2 minutes and never leaving me with any reactions.
And now I don’t fear being ‘caught’ hairy like I used to.
I have no regrets, aside from wishing I’d discovered this option earlier!
Keep scrolling to find the best home laser hair removal devices available including the one I use.
One of the reasons I love using home laser is that it's so simple.
No need to make ongoing appointments, or prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for having to bear yourself to someone else, or repeatedly handing over money.
And once you've used your home laser hair removal device 3 or 4 times you'll probably notice a change in hair growth meaning it will be easier to prepare for your next home sessions.
Although reviews and my personal experience show that the home devices I'm sharing have good reputations and work well, there may still be people who don’t see good results or could actually have a bad experience.
For example, people with dark skin are more likely to need professional laser hair removal.
This is because laser removes hair by targeting the pigment in each follicle. If there is less contrast between your skin and the colour of your body hair, then home laser devices will target the pigment (melanin) in you skin as well as the hair follicle.
This can mean your skin also absorbs the light energy causing it to become very hot, which can cause pain, blistering and even burns!
So it's important that you see an expert who has the right laser device for your skin tone.
The women most likely to experience a really positive outcome are those with darker body hair and lighter skin.
If that sounds like you than keep scrolling. I searched for the best hair removal devices with the most positive reviews, plus the device I've been using.
This is the device I bought several years ago and it’s been a total gem.
Developed with dermatologists it offers expert IPL technology for at-home use.
It offers a range of intensity options and comes with four attachment heads for different areas of your body, which make the device even more user-friendly and successful.
I've had mine for about three years and it's working just as well now.
Another clinically-tested piece this machine is promoted to show visible improvements after just 3 to 4 treatments and up to 94% permanent hair reduction after 7 to 9.
Offering 5 energy levels, interchangeable attachments and a two year warranty, this is another piece with good results and currently a big discount.
The word ‘laser’ might leave you with concerns as to whether laser
hair removal could cause health problems.
One of the questions you might ask is whether it could increase your risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is linked with exposure to certain types of UV light, such as sunlight and tanning beds. It’s a high energy wavelength that is beyond the human range of vision.
Although laser hair removal uses light energy, it doesn’t include UV light. The wavelengths used to target your hair follicles have a longer wavelength and are less energetic.
This means there’s no risk of them causing damage to your cells and therefore won’t increase your risk of skin cancer.
After being used for many years now, there’s no evidence suggesting that laser hair removal causes any types of cancer or illness.
Again, if you have any concerns speak with your doctor to find out more.
If you’ve been living with this condition, the challenges of trying to control it and the discomfort and awkwardness it causes, I
can only imagine you’ve felt desperate for a cure for your hirsutism.
I also hope you understand that there are millions of women who share similar stories.
Now you know there are simple, quick, affordable solutions that result in amazing change.
Plus, you’ve got a list of some of the best home laser hair removal options out there. Including the one that saw me go from hairy to near hair-free.
Now when I undress I don’t find myself cringing at the sight of my body hair, but instead feel such a sense of relief and renewed confidence.
It’s your turn, now.