Hirsutism refers to the growth of excessive male-pattern hair on a woman’s face and body. This can occur due to various reasons, such as hormonal imbalance, each having its own course of treatment.
Along with medical treatment, certain self-care measures can be taken to help manage the underlying cause. This article discusses home remedies that can help remove and prevent facial hair.
Home Remedies for Removing Unwanted Facial Hair (Hirsutism)
The most common causes of hirsutism are either genetic or endocrinological. While genetic cases can be only managed with medical treatment, the following home remedies may aid in correcting hormonal imbalance and thus hirsutism.
However, these remedies are only supported by a few studies and, therefore, should be tried only after consulting a doctor.
1. Drink spearmint tea
Spearmint tea is shown to have significant anti-androgenic activity, which can help manage hirsutism upon continued use. (1) However, the studies conducted were limited, and therefore, further long-term studies are required to establish its therapeutic effects. (2)(3)
How to use:
Consume a cup of spearmint tea every day. You can also try spearmint capsules upon consulting your doctor.
2. Increase your zinc intake
One study reported that consuming 50 mg of zinc can help manage hair growth in hirsute women. (4) However, since the study suggested six times the daily intake for hirsutism treatment, it is best to consult your doctor for the suitable dosage.
Zinc works by blocking an enzyme involved in testosterone metabolism that causes excessive hair growth. (5)
How to use:
Zinc can be found in oysters, poultry, nuts, beans, fortified breakfast cereals, and whole grains. You can also take zinc sulfate supplements and zinc-containing lozenges.
3. Use inositol supplements
Myo-inositol can help improve metabolism and D-chiro-inositol can aid in reducing testosterone levels. (6)(7)(8) Studies suggest consuming 1.2 g of DCI daily (9) and 4 g of MYO. However, you must consult your doctor for a suitable dosage.
Note: While safe for use in pregnant women, the effect of inositol in breastfeeding women is not yet studied. Rarely, it can cause mild gastrointestinal symptoms. (10)(11)
4. Consume folic acid
Folic acid can help regulate the levels of homocysteine, an increased level of which can elevate the risk of polycystic ovarian syndrome, a common cause of hirsutism.
Moreover, metformin, a drug used by PCOS women for improving insulin sensitivity, can cause a decrease in folic acid, which increases the risk of cardiovascular problems. (12)(8) It is recommended to consume 200 μg of folic acid twice a day to help manage hirsutism. (13)
5. Have cinnamon
Cinnamon is known to improve insulin sensitivity and lipid profile in (14) patients with PCOS. (15) Additionally, several hirsute women have reported that oral intake of cinnamon helps manage hair growth.
How to use:
While there is no fixed dosage, a study suggests consuming 1.5 g cinnamon thrice a day. (16)
6. Drink green tea
Green tea is found to have anti-androgen and antioxidant activities, which can help improve the metabolic profile of women with PCOS. (1)
Tips for Removing Unwanted Facial Hair
The following at-home measures can help remove unwanted, excessive facial hair.
Note: It is best to perform a patch test of these remedies on your arm before applying it to sensitive facial skin to check for any reaction or allergy. Also, wash your face and apply a moisturizer and antiseptic after trying any remedy.
1. Sugaring (sugar waxing)
Mix 1 tsp of honey, 1 tsp of water, and 2 tsp of granulated sugar. Heat this mixture until it boils and turns dark, and let it cool slightly warm. Apply it to the affected area and remove in a direction opposite to hair growth after a couple of minutes.
2. Homemade face packs
The following natural face packs can help in the removal of unwanted facial hair:
Papaya turmeric mask: Mash papaya and mix in turmeric to form a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area, and wash with lukewarm water after a few minutes.
Egg cornstarch mask: Mix an egg white with 1 tbsp cornstarch and sugar. Apply the paste to your face, and wash with lukewarm water after it dries.
This chemical treatment dries out your hair, causing it to break and fall off. Moreover, it helps lighten the hair, making it less noticeable. Always patch test before applying bleach to your face.
You can find synthetic wax specific for facial hair in the drugstore. However, avoid waxing if you are taking isotretinoin or antibiotics.
Epilators can help pull out the hair from the roots. While its effect lasts for up to 4 weeks, it is a painful procedure.
7. Depilatory creams
These creams help dissolve unwanted hair, and it has a longer-lasting effect than shaving. However, a patch test is a must as the cream can irritate your skin.
Twisted cotton threads are used to help pull unwanted hair from the roots.
Self-Care and Preventive Measures
The following measures can help manage and prevent hair growth and other symptoms related to hirsutism.
Hirsute women are recommended to consume a healthy diet, such as the keto diet, that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, coenzyme Q-10, and selenium. (12)(17)(18) Choose beans, fish, and lean meat as protein sources. (19)
Anti-inflammatory foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cayenne pepper, olive oil, and green leafy vegetables can help manage the inflammation associated with hirsutism. (20)
Consume berries, bell peppers, cherries, and tomatoes to help improve your hormonal profile. (21) Additionally, increasing calcium, magnesium, chromium, and omega-3 fatty acids consumption can help in PCOS management. (12)
Hirsute women must avoid consuming refined foods such as white breads, foods high in trans fat, red meat, and dairy products. (22)(23)
Refrain from consuming tobacco and alcohol.
Consume 6–8 glasses of water daily.
Exercise regularly for 30 minutes every day to help lower homocysteine concentrations and manage PCOS symptoms. (24)(25)
Manage stress to prevent aggravating PCOS symptoms. (26) You can try meditation, yoga, baths, and warm teas.
Avoid using synthetic products that contain phthalates, dioxins, and glycol ethers.
Most-Asked Questions About Unwanted Facial Hair (Hirsutism)
Is licorice good for reducing the symptoms of hirsutism?
Licorice can help in reducing testosterone levels. (27)(28) Moreover, it contains isoflavones, which are plant estrogens, and thus may positively affect the endocrine system. (29)
However, licorice can produce some side effects when used for long, either in the form of licorice tea, supplements, or topical cream. Moreover, its effects on hirsutism are not established by any study.
Is N-acetyl cysteine supplementation recommended for hirsute women?
Studies suggest that N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) intake can help improve PCOS and its symptoms. (30) However, there is no study on its effect on hirsutism and menstrual regularity. Moreover, studies are needed to establish its safety and long-term effects. (31)
You can consume NAC by including lentils, beans, tuna, spinach, eggs, yogurt, banana, and salmon in your diet.
Can one use maca root to manage hirsutism?
The use of maca root is an anecdotal remedy for the management of hirsutism. It is suggested that maca can help by increasing estrogen production. (32)(33) It is also suggested by a few doctors for PCOS management. (34) However, there is a lack of scientific studies establishing its effects.
Can acupuncture help manage hirsutism?
Acupuncture is suggested to aid in PCOS management, but the scientific trials are limited, disputed, and small scale. Therefore, there is a need for large-scale studies to establish its effects. (35)(36)
Are there any herbal therapies for hirsutism?
Various studies evaluated the role of herbs and their extracts, such as evening primrose, (34) vitex, black cohosh, white peony, saw palmetto, and reishi mushrooms, in managing hirsutism.
However, none of these studies produced conclusive, established results, and therefore, their use cannot be recommended without proper studies. (1)
Hirsutism is a common presentation in clinical settings among women, with its most common cause being hyperandrogenism.
Hirsutism not only impacts the physical appearance, but it can also affect a woman’s self-esteem. Consult a doctor to identify the underlying cause of your hirsutism and receive appropriate treatment.
Moreover, pairing medical management with self-care measures and home remedies can help in the better management of the condition.
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