Excessive hair growth and follicular inflammation

Updated: 03.08.2023

Created: 29.12.2023

Approved by: Dr Binita Parmar 

There are many different reasons why hair can be unwanted or problematic. For some people, this can be due to increased hair growth as a result of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in women. Excessive hair growth can also cause recurring inflammation, such as folliculitis which can cause discomfort and pain.

Causes

Hirsutism

If a woman experiences abnormally increased hair growth, for example on the tummy or face, it is called hirsutism. This can have several underlying causes. In some of the cases, there is no identifiable cause (idiopathic hirsutism). Often, it is genetically linked and can be more common in specific ethnic groups.

PCOS

The second most common cause of hirsutism is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is a condition characterised by changes in the ovaries that disrupt the normal hormonal balance. The condition affects an estimated 8–13% of women of reproductive age. PCOS causes more than 70% of cases of hirsutism.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is the medical term for hair follicle inflammation. In most cases, this presents as a localised problem, but some patients experience recurrent, widespread, and symptomatic folliculitis. The condition can occur due to factors such as infection, friction, and irritation. Treatment targets the underlying cause.

Hidradenitis (hidradenitis suppurativa)

Hidradenitis is an inflammation of the hair follicles in areas of the body with sweat glands, most commonly in the armpits or groin.

Treatment

There are many different ways to remove hair. Traditionally, it has been common to do so by using various forms of shaving, plucking, waxing, or using hair removal creams. The disadvantage of these methods is that the hairs grow back after a short time, so the process needs to be repeated often. In addition, several of the mentioned methods can be perceived as painful and/or cause skin irritations. For more permanent removal, a laser can be a good alternative.

Doctor
General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.

Dermatologist

At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.