How do you manage excessive body hair?

Excessive hair growth occurs mainly in the form of hair growing in places where it is not supposed to be normally and in some cases it does grow excessively to embarrassing amounts.

It is more noticeable in women given they usually don’t have a lot of hair on the chest, back and chin. Excessive hair growth does occur in men too, though, according to Dr. Ronald Katureebe, a dermatologist at Kampala Dermatology Clinic, Bugolobi

This condition is called Hirsutism and is mainly caused by hormonal imbalance in the body. Usually it is the excess of male hormones known as androgens that lead to this abnormal distribution and growth of hair.

Hypertrichosis is the second type of excessive body hair defect and this one does cover the whole body not particular parts or areas like the former. “This one is genetic not hormonal and does occur in both males and females depending on one’s genetic predisposition,” Dr. Katureebe explains.

Other causes of excessive body hair growth include the long term use of drugs like steroids which affect hormones in the body and lead to excessive hair growth. Cyclosporine, which is a drug used to treat some cancers and auto immune diseases, can lead to excessive hair loss as a side effect when used for a long time. 

A number of drugs used in the treatment of hair loss too tend to go the extra mile and cause excessive hair growth in some cases.

How do you manage it?

The first step is to get a proper  diagnosis of your particular case and situation from a qualified dermatologist or skin specialist.

Conventional methods like shaving, chemical removal, waxing are often the expected response. However, these often result in irritations, bumps and allergies to the chemicals used. These methods may also turn out psychologically distressing and are not permanent.

Dr. Katurebe notes that there are more permanent solutions that are used in hair removal treatment.

Drugs, especially medicated topical cream (Eflornithine) has shown progress as a solution to excessive hair. However it is not yet readily available on the local market but works well on reducing this hair permanently.

The second method is Electrolysis where  electro current is used to permanently destroy the hair follicle leading to its death. This method is very effective but not feasible for large areas, it is painful and very cumbersome given it is done one follicle at a time. Dr. Katureebe says there is also the risk of scarring and the procedure is quite invasive.

Laser hair removal is another permanent hair reduction and removal method available at Kampala Dermatology clinic Bugolobi. This method according to Dr. Katureebe destroys the hair follicle using laser energy. He adds that the method is permanent and is done over a number of sessions spread monthly. 

The number of sessions one has to go through to get the desired results varies from an average of 4 sessions to about 7 for those with really excessive hair, Dr. Katureebe says.

A number of advantages come with this particular mode of treatment. The first one is the fact that it is more comfortable, it covers large areas of the body and is less invasive. 

Dr Katurebe notes that there is no risk of developing scars as the laser system works so fast it can not spread the heat beyond a target hair follicle to create a burn thanks to the advanced speed and accuracy of the technology. 


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