Let's Talk About........
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Excessive Hair Growth
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition affecting the main functions of a woman’s reproductive system. The symptoms usually become apparent from late puberty to mid-twenties, and include:
- irregular periods due to difficulty releasing eggs (ovulation)
- excessive hair growth on the face and/or body due to overproduction of androgen hormones
- possible fertility issues
- oily skin/acne
- weight gain
It’s estimated that 1 in 10 females may have PCOS, which often goes undiagnosed due to lack of awareness about the condition.
I see many young women in my practice with PCOS, a few of whom have sought medical help about their excessive hair growth (hirsutism) but felt they weren’t taken seriously and didn’t know where to seek advice. Most have ‘beards’ of thick, strong hair, often combined with acne. The mental impact of such distressing symptoms on these beautiful, intelligent women is truly heartbreaking: some have support but others hide the condition from friends and family: relying on shaving, plucking and depilatory creams because they are too embarrassed to admit there is a problem. With the onset of social media, there has never been so much pressure to have ‘perfect’ features (although online photos are heavily edited and filtered to the max), which add to the stress of the condition.
I advise my clients that although PCOS is a lifelong condition, there are ways to eliminate the current hair growth and manage it so that it doesn’t impact on their daily lives.
Electrolysis will remove current hair growth forever: we cannot stop the body producing more but if and when growth occurs it can be recognised and treated straight away, eliminating it quickly and effectively. Thus these pesky outbreaks are reduced to treatable irritations rather than adding to an already difficult condition. I have helped hundreds of women with their hair growth and skin issues: results cannot be achieved overnight, but we work together to achieve a smooth, hair and blemish-free complexion so they can get on with living their lives.
I have added some links to provide more information about PCOS: if you or anyone you know thinks they may have the condition, please don’t struggle alone. I can help you address your skin and hair issues, and a medical diagnosis may help to address the underlying cause of the problem.
Information and Help
People often think that acne is a teenage problem; in fact you can be affected at any stage of your life. There are many different types of acne that can manifest in several different ways, but they can all be distressing and difficult to manage without help. Symptoms can range from excessively oily skin to red blemishes and rashes, yellow spots, blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts.
There are millions of products in the shops offering to deal with the problem, but some can irritate and actually make the problem worse. Many contain chemical ingredients to strip the skin of oil and dry up blemishes; skin needs protection, so if the oily layer is completed removed the body will react by overproducing more to replace it. Chemical irritation also causes sensitivity issues, so the skin may flare up on contact. Also, products on general sale only work on the surface on the skin, they cannot penetrate into the deeper layers to deal with the underlying problem.
Acne is a skin condition: it cannot be ‘cured’, but like many other conditions it can be reduced and managed. Very often it can be hugely improved with professional treatments and products recommended by a qualified beauty therapist. Personally I have had great success in this field using the South African-based RegimA range, helping clients get results they didn’t believe was possible when they first walked through my door.
However, there are cases where medical intervention is required to deal with the root cause. If you feel this applies to you, consider seeing your GP for referral to a dermatologist: they can offer prescription medication to alleviate the condition. There are lots of websites offering help and advice, here are some of the best for further information:
This link has a helpful leaflet that can be downloaded free of charge:
It can be difficult to tell the difference between acne and rosacea, especially in later life when rosacea is most likely to occur. This is an excellent article explaining the immediate differences;
Unwanted Hair Growth
I was recently asked why I have so few reviews about Electrolysis if it is such a successful treatment, so I decided to address it here. Sadly, excessive or unwanted hair growth is still a taboo subject: people are ashamed to admit to having it and are too embarrassed to discuss it with even their closest friends and family. They worry that by revealing they have this problem, they are ‘not normal’ or even ‘freaks’. They believe they are alone and go to great lengths to hide it from others. No wonder there are so few reviews!
Hair growth has many causes: it can be hereditary, genetic, hormonal (puberty, pregnancy, menopause), or sometimes due to a medical condition or a side-effect of medication. Whatever the cause, there are solutions. Waxing, shaving or plucking may work for you – others may struggle to manage their growth and wish for a permanent solution.
Electrolysis has been my most popular treatment since the very beginning of my career. I have treated hundreds of men and women for unwanted hair and removed it successfully for good. Unwanted growth can be anything from a couple of annoying stray hairs on the chin to a full-blown beard, excessive bikini hair, monobrow etc: if what you have causes you concern, then why not have it removed in a safe professional environment?
Consultations and treatment are completely confidential. My business is conducted on a one-to-one basis at all times, with evening appointments available on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays till 8pm.
No one has EVER said they regretted having electrolysis, only that they wish they had started treatment sooner. So I’ll be adding anonymous quotes from electrolysis clients beneath my reviews: these are all genuine words from grateful, wonderful people who feel they cannot reveal their identities but want to encourage others to experience the freedom of electrolysis for themselves.
It’s ridiculous that this subject is ignored or skirted around by society: menstruation is a regular part of a woman’s physiology, like breathing or digestion of food. It is part and parcel of our reproductive system, and necessary for producing life: so why is seen as something we should keep hidden? Millions of women suffer from painful, often excessive bleeding on a regular basis – if it was coming from our heads, an arm or similar we would be urged to stop work and seek help. There’s an excellent article featured in The Guardian newspaper about the problems women have faced regarding menstruation affected by Pandemic stress. For anyone suffering more than usual in the last 18 months, this could provide you with answers:
My Guide for Brides
So, you’re wearing a beautiful ring – you’ve picked the date, found the dress of your dreams, the perfect venue, ace photographer, besties as bridesmaids and everything is coming together. You’ve even booked your must-have hairdresser for your chosen day. But wait; what about your skin and makeup?
I’ve been providing brides with the finishing touches since I was 16; yes, a very very long time! So I’m writing this as a Beauty Therapist and MUA who has helped hundreds of brides make their dreams come true.
Beautiful skin and perfect makeup do not appear on the big day as if by magic (sorry ladies!). It takes planning, care and dedication. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but don’t skimp; why pay so much for a dress and accessories then not spend on your face? If you do it right you’ll be glowing, turning heads for all the best reasons and have the photo album to prove it.
It starts with The Skin…
- Don’t throw the beauty book at your face a fortnight before the wedding. Your skin cannot cope with such a massive change to its usual routine and may throw an epic tantrum just when you need it least. Skin needs to get used to new products, also if an ingredient irritates your skin, it will need far longer than two weeks to fully recover.
- Get a decent skin consultation. If you have a skin condition such as acne, rosacea, eczema etc then give yourself at least six months to get it under control. See a skin specialist who can prescribe the right products and treatments to get you ‘wedding-ready’. Salon products are much more powerful than off-the-shelf products, as they are made for professionals and tailored to clients’ individual requirements. They last much longer than shop-bought too, so work out much cheaper than you’d think.
- Consider a course of facials. Personally I’d recommend a minimum of three facials over three months if you have no problems or issues. A good facial will deep cleanse, exfoliate and nourish your skin to kill a dull complexion and get you that essential glow. It will look and feel like a million dollars by the big day, and makeup will apply like a dream.
- Book your wedding makeup rehearsal three weeks ahead of the day. By the time your skin should be in tip-top shape and good to go. It also gives plenty of time for it to recover from any reaction from a new makeup brand or product. If you know you have a problem with certain makeup, let your MUA know in advance so he/she can omit them from your rehearsal. Take a pic of your dress, hairstyle and any accessories to be worn near the face such as a tiara or earrings. I allow a good two hours for a wedding makeup rehearsal so we can nail the perfect look without stressing about time. And if you don’t like something, DON’T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT! We will never be offended. This may be the first time you’ve even met your makeup professional, so they need your honest opinions in order to get it right for you. Go with a clean face to your booking, but perhaps take a pic with you of when you’re fully made up for an event; that way your MUA can get an idea of how much makeup you’re used to wearing, whether you prefer a strong lip or eye, etc.
- Get a matching lip colour. When you leave, go to your nearest Boots or store and match up the lip colour (your MUA can tell you what was used). I can make a makeup last 24+ hours, but your lip colour will start to fade from your very first drink. Getting a similar colour means you can top up during the day/night as needed.
- If you cry on the day, LEAVE IT! This is the most crucial piece of advice I can give to you. If you wipe immediately, you’ll remove some of that lovely makeup. If you wait till the tear dries, it will blend in when dabbed lightly with a dry tissue. You can thank me later. Oh, and don’t forget to send me a pic, it’s always lovely to see the end result: your perfect wedding day xx