6 Medical Causes Behind Unwanted Body Hair Growth and Available Treatments

While having body hair is perfectly natural, excessive or unwanted body hair growth can sometimes indicate certain underlying medical conditions. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common medical reasons for excessive body hair growth, as well as the best hair removal solutions to get rid of body hair. Let’s take a look.

Medical Conditions Causing Unwanted Body Hair

Here are some of the most common medical causes of unwanted or excessive body and facial hair growth.

Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism: Disorders affecting the thyroid, such as an overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism) thyroid, can disturb the hormonal equilibrium. Thyroid hormones, vital for metabolism regulation, can influence the growth patterns of body hair, and their imbalance can result in excessive hair growth.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This prevalent endocrine disorder affects up to 10% of women, and disrupts hormonal balance due to the presence of cysts on the ovaries. The resulting hormonal imbalance in PCOS leads to an overproduction of male hormones (androgens), causing increased body hair growth, particularly in traditionally male-pattern areas including the face, chest, and back.

Certain Medications: Medications altering hormonal levels can unintentionally lead to increased body hair. These medications include testosterone, glucocorticoids, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and can lead to the appearance of dark coarse hair on both body and facial regions.

Familial Patterns and Inherited Factors: Genetic predisposition plays an important role in determining one’s predisposition to unwanted hair growth. In addition, genetic patterns influence the extent and distribution of hair growth, shaping aesthetic concerns across generations.

Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH): This group of genetic disorders impacts the functioning of the adrenal glands, inducing altered hormone production. The resulting hormonal imbalance triggers increased body hair growth, presenting both cosmetic and medical concerns.

Cushing’s Syndrome: Resulting from prolonged exposure to high cortisol levels, often due to certain medical conditions or corticosteroid medications, Cushing’s syndrome disrupts the normal hair growth cycle. This leads to noticeable changes in body hair growth patterns for affected individuals.

Treatments for Unwanted Hair Growth

Here are some of the most common and effective hair removal methods for addressing unwanted or excessive hair growth.

Shaving, Waxing, and Tweezing: These temporary methods work by removing hair from the surface, and offer results lasting from several days to several months. Shaving results in cutting the hair at the skin’s surface, producing a blunt edge when the hair grows back. In contrast, waxing and plucking removes the entire hair, giving it a finer appearance when it grows back. For all of these methods, regular maintenance is required, and there’s a risk of issues such as ingrown hairs.

Depilatory Creams: Chemical-based creams work by dissolving hair at the skin’s surface, offering a convenient alternative to shaving. Effective for some, they may cause irritation in individuals with sensitive skin. Moreover, hair removal results are temporary, necessitating repeated applications.

Laser Hair Removal: Using concentrated light, laser hair removal targets the dark pigment called melanin contained inside follicles, inhibiting future growth. This method is limited to removing dark-coloured hair growing on lighter-coloured skin. While it produces longer-lasting results compared to shaving and waxing, it merely offers hair growth reduction, and the removed hair eventually grows back.

Electrolysis: This treatment is the only permanent hair removal method approved by the FDA. Electrolysis involves inserting a tiny electrical probe into each individual hair follicle and applying a small electrical current through it, resulting in a chemical reaction that permanently eliminates the stem cells responsible for hair growth. Suitable for all hair colours and skin types, electrolysis permanent hair removal requires multiple sessions, ensuring long-term success. In addition, electrolysis can be used on all facial and body regions.

Topical creams: Medications such as eflornithine (Vaniqa) are prescription creams used to target excessive facial hair growth. This medication can be directly applied directly to the area of concern and slows down the growth of new hair.

Oral Contraceptives: Another type of medication often prescribed for unwanted hair growth in women is oral contraceptives. Women dealing with medical conditions involving hormonal imbalances and leading to unwanted hair growth, such as PCOS, can benefit from taking oral contraceptive medications. These medications regulate hormone levels, reducing excessive hair growth.

Anti-Androgen Medications: Targeting androgen hormones, anti-androgen medications reduce excessive hair growth on body and facial regions. These medications work by preventing androgen hormones in the bloodstream from binding to their target receptors.


If you have unwanted or excessive body or facial growth, it is important to consult your healthcare practitioner to rule out any potential underlying causes and medical conditions. Moreover, consulting a healthcare expert will help to guide you in choosing the appropriate treatment method for dealing with unwanted hair.