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Hormones and Hair Growth

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Many factors can determine how long it takes for removed hair to grow back. With laser treatments, many hairs can be permanently removed. For those that do regrow, it can take anywhere from a few months to years for the follicle to fully grow back. Some people attribute a faster hair growth rate to overactive hormones, but does the science really back up this myth?

As it turns out, studies of people with overactive thyroids (hyperthyroidism) and underactive ones (hypothyroidism) have shown significant correlations between hormone levels and hair growth. In both cases, there seemed to be a “normal” hormonal range which corresponded with normal hair growth. Those with either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism often exhibited either increased hair growth or loss (the hair changes could go in either direction, regardless of which thyroid problem they had).

Androgens, the family of hormones that includes testosterone, become more active in both males and females during puberty, and cause hair growth in both sexes (though not in the same ways). Many women with excessive hair growth often have slightly elevated androgens. Ironically, however, testosterone is often the cause of hair loss, particularly in males. The presence of androgens causes some follicles to regress and die. (Male pattern baldness can often be attributed to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which causes hair shafts to become progressively smaller over time.) If androgen levels increase in women, they can sometimes cause hair loss as well, but most often cause an increase in hair growth and often in unwanted areas.

Hormones have, in fact, been the highlighted as the main factor influencing excessive hair growth. In some cases, however, hormone levels appear normal, and an exact reason for increased hair growth cannot be pinpointed. Sometimes extra hair is simply a result of genetics. If you experience sudden increases in hair growth, it is important to see your doctor to ensure that that your increased hair growth is not caused by a tumor on an ovary or adrenal gland.

For those with elevated androgen levels, or genetic factors causing unwanted hair, there are many available solutions. Electrolysis and laser hair removal are two excellent options offering permanent results for most patients. For more information about hair removal options, feel free to contact us to schedule a complimentary appointment with a qualified hair removal specialist who can help you decide which procedure is best for you.

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