It’s a mystery (and a misery) to many women – why do they suddenly start sprouting a moustache and straggly hairs on their chins as they approach middle age?

Men don’t escape the unwanted hair problem as they get older. In fact for them, it’s doubly cruel – their hair starts disappearing from their heads but grows like mad in their ears, up their noses and maybe on their backs and shoulders too! What’s that about?!

The answer is hormones – especially testosterone.

What is testosterone?

Testosterone is the chief male hormone that gives men deeper voices, hairy faces and plays a big role in making sperm. Women’s bodies also produce some testosterone, but nothing like as much as men.

We all have ultra-fine, soft, downy almost invisible hair – called vellus – virtually all over our bodies. What testosterone does is make it start coming through darker and coarser. There’s not more of it – it’s just more noticeable.

When boys and girls hit puberty, and their bodies produce more testosterone, they start noticing more hair on their bodies. That’s also when teenage boys get their first (often less than impressive) facial hair.

In young women, high levels of testosterone may also be an indicator of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS can suffer from excessive body and facial hair (called hirsutism) and other symptoms.

What changes when we get older?

So, let’s look at the guys, first. Scientists think that the build-up from years of producing testosterone disrupts the cycle of hair growth in men. As a result, the hair in some places grows longer before it falls out. That’s why older men need to keep trimming eyebrows, nose hair and ear hair! But ironically it shrinks on their scalps causing hair to thin and bald patches to appear.

What about women? Well, menopause doesn’t mean they have MORE testosterone; it means they have LESS oestrogen. This imbalance means that those fine, almost invisible downy hairs on chins and upper lips start coming through darker and more noticeable.

What’s the solution for menopausal women with more facial hair?

The good news is that the dark, coarse hair caused by that testosterone/oestrogen imbalance is the perfect target for laser hair removal. The gold standard laser machine that we use, from the award-winning Lumenis company, focuses on the melanin (that’s the stuff that gives hair its colour). The light the laser produces turns into heat and is absorbed by the melanin. This permanently damages the hair root. When that hair falls out, another one can never grow from the same follicle again.

The handset in the Lumenis machine allows our expert technicians to sweep across an area of your face, or body, and destroy thousands of hairs in a single session. Sounds good, eh?

Call us on 01332 460045 or email info@avanceclinic.co.uk to find out more. We can offer you a free consultation and patch test and the chance to ask us any questions in total privacy.