Hypertrichosis is a condition of extra hair growth that can occur on any part of your body. It is often called as the werewolf syndrome and it affects both women and men equally (though it is rare).
If you notice abnormal hair growth on any part of your face or body in patches, then you must consult a dermatologist and take help immediately. This condition often shows its appearances at the time of birth and has the capability to develop over time.
Types of Hypertrichosis
The following are the types of hypertrichosis –
- Congenital hypertrichosis lanuginose – It is a condition which generally appears as fine lanugo (fine, baby hair) after the birth of a baby but then fails to disappear. In fact, this soft, fine hair continues to spread and grow on various other places of the baby’s body.
- Congenital hypertrichosis terminalis – It is a condition in which you would notice abnormal hair growth right from childbirth, and this hair growth becomes consistently exponential with age with long and thick hair covering the face and body as you grow older.
- Nevoid hypertrichosis –This condition is restricted to specific areas and has excessive hair growth in patches (more than one).
- Hirsutism –This condition only affects women and results in dark and thick hair growing in places where women don’t generally have hair growth such as the face, chest, and back.
- Acquired hypertrichosis – Unlike congenital hypertrichosis, you will not be able to find the symptoms of this condition right from childhood, as it tends to catch up with you later in life and is more like an acquired disease. It results in two types of hair – vellus hair or terminal hair respectively, wherein you may notice abnormal hair growth either in patches or on all areas of the body.
Symptoms of Hypertrichosis
It is very easy to identify someone suffering with hypertrichosis as it generally produces one of three types of hair –
- Vellus – The follicles for these kinds of hair are typically less than 1/13th of an inch. They are usually short (less than 1/13th of an inch long). They can be pigmented or non-pigmented.
- Lanugo – This kind of hair is soft and fine, like the one that is found on a newborn baby’s body. Although most babies lose their lanugo after few days of their birth, due to hypertrichosis, the lanugo hair spread and grows all over the baby’s body, unless treated.
- Terminal – The kind of hair is usually very long, thick, and dark.
Women who are suffering with hirsutism are prone to develop coarse, dark body hair on their face, chest, and back.
Another symptom, though not a major one, is that you are likely to have problems with your gums or teeth, with some teeth being missing or the gum being unusually swollen.
Still there is no treatment found for hypertrichosis, and there is only little that you can do to prevent the congenital form of the disease. But, you surely can lower down the risk of certain acquired hypertrichosis by using medications, like minoxidil.
Other short-term methods include:
- Chemical epilation
- Hair bleaching
It is important to understand that all of the above-mentioned solutions are temporary and can also cause discomfort to your skin.
For long-term treatments, you can try laser surgery that uses a special light over several hair strands consecutively and can yield permanent results in hair reduction after a couple of sessions.