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Home - Blog - Unwanted Facial Hair - Can Stress Cause Unwanted Facial Hair?
Can Stress Cause Unwanted Facial Hair?

Can Stress Cause Unwanted Facial Hair?

Unwanted facial hair is pretty stressful but does stress cause the condition in the first place? Hirsutism is another name for unwanted facial hair the main cause is due to an increase in the hormone DHT which encourages hair growth.  Women with PCOS and thyroid conditions suffer from hirsutism due to a hormone imbalance. Some women have a natural inclination to grow excessive hair for no particular reason.

Hirsutism occurs on other parts of the body including the stomach, back and thighs with hair growing in a typical male pattern. Causes of unwanted facial hair include; Cushing Disease, birth control pills and the menopause. Chronic stress and a high sugar intake are the most common reasons for hirsutism.  All of these conditions alter the hormone balance in the body.

There is no magic treatment for unwanted facial hair most women use a hair removal method that is most effective for them.  Treating the underlying condition also helps to reduce unwanted facial hair but is a long process that isn’t always successful.  If stress and high sugar intake are the main causes of lifestyle and dietary changes may reduce symptoms.

What Causes Unwanted Facial Hair?

Women develop hirsutism due to an increase in androgens in the body.  Polycystic ovary syndrome, adrenal gland disorders and some medications cause an increase in male hormones.  Conditions that cause an increase in cortisol such as Cushing Syndrome and chronic stress also trigger an increase in androgens.

Unwanted facial hair due to androgens is different from normal female hair growth because it is darker, thicker and male in appearance.  Hair also grows on the thighs, the lower back and on the chest. Many women feel self-conscious and embarrassed about their excess hair.  Treating the underlying health condition and making lifestyle tweaks helps to reduce some symptoms but doesn’t always reduce hair growth.

What Does Stress Do To Our Bodies?

Stress is a word we are all familiar with and we use it everytime we feel overwhelmed by certain situations.  It is a perfectly natural response to threatening situations and allowed our ancestors to escape from woolly mammoths. However today some of us still react to everyday situations as if our lives are under threat.  This is known as chronic stress and is extremely unhealthy because it affects our bodies negatively.

There are two main responses to stress, flight’, or ‘fight’ one is where you run away from your problems and the other is where you try to overcome them.  Both responses cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol. The production of cortisol has the following effects on the body; headaches, muscle pain, chest pain, fatigue, stomach upset and difficulty sleeping.  Stress also affects our moods causing; anxiety, restlessness, feeling overwhelmed, lacking motivation, irritability and depression. People with stress are likely to anger easily, overeat, misuse drugs and withdraw socially.  

Stress leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes if left untreated so it is important to take measures to control the condition.  The production of cortisol (the stress hormone) causes an increase in hormone production and leads to a hormone imbalance. This can cause hirsutism in women due to changes in the female hormones.

Relieving stress involves having more exercise, relaxation techniques, keep smiling, socialising and enjoying hobbies.  Sometimes these strategies are not enough and a visit to a doctor is necessary to have prescription medication. (Source:, and

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