Am I too hairy?
Body hair. All girls have it, and it's only bloody 'society' that tells you hair is bad. But what's normal hair for a woman to have, and what's not? How do you get rid of it? And what if your hair is falling out instead?
Am I hairy compared to other girls?
Genetics play a big part in how hairy you are, as well as your ethnic background.
“I see a lot of Asian and middle-eastern girls who worry they’re too hairy,” says Dr Sanjay Pawar, GP. “The most common places for concern are top lips and arms.”
If you’ve got thick, dark hair, it’s more likely to be noticeable. So if you feel you’re the most hairy in your friendship group, it’s likely that yours is actually just more visible. We all, usually, have the same amount of hair, in the same places.
So what’s normal hair, and what isn’t?
Utterly normal hair that all women have, but you just don’t see it anymore because of all the scraping/plucking/waxing:
– A big bush of pubes
– A forest in your armpits
– A layer of leg hair
– A thin moustache on your upper lip
– The odd stray dark nipple hair
– And, of course, the hair on top of your head.
However, if you have extra hair than this, it may be worth going to see your GP. “If you have quite a lot of hair on your face, stomach, arms and legs, it could be a symptom of polycystic ovaries,” says Dr Sanjay. “But don’t worry too much as there’s lots of ways of dealing with it – from creams and waxes, to the contraceptive pill, and sometimes you can even get laser treatment on the NHS.”
How do you get rid of body hair safely?
Unfortunately, because we’re ‘supposed’ to have it, there’s no snag-free way of hair removal. Whether you choose to wax, shave, use hair removal cream or epilate- ALWAYS follow the instructions and do a test first.
“Make sure you exfoliate and moisturise in delicate areas to avoid ingrown hairs,” says Dr Sanjay. “And test any new cream or wax on an unnoticeable patch of skin first. The amount of women who come to me with a raging rash on their upper lip because they waxed with something new without testing…”
I’ve got an ingrown hair – what do I do?
Keep an eye on it, and if it gets red and swollen, get yourself to the GP pretty quickly.
“They get particularly bad in sweaty areas like around your bikini line,” says Dr Sanjay. “It’s really important to see the doctor as you may need some antibiotics to calm it down.”
Don’t be tempted to leave it – it may develop an abscess which can get very painful and require surgery.
I’m losing my hair, why? And what do I do?
Lots of women can have the opposite problem to hairiness – and worry that they’re losing their hair. If you’re getting freaked out by the amount of head-hair you’re losing down the plughole, it might be worth looking at some possible causes.
“Our hair has a growth cycle and a loss cycle,” says Dr Sanjay. “So if you go through a period of losing a bit, it’s usually nothing to worry about. But if you’re losing a lot, especially if you’re noticing bald patches, it may be down to health reasons.”
Common reasons women lose their hair:
Stress: Always on the edge? Deadlines looming? Feel like crying all the time? Don’t underestimate the impact stress has on your body…and your head of hair.
Nutrition: You maybe low on iron and vitamins. A blood test at the doctor could reveal if you’re eating right and/or need supplements.
Genetic: Sometimes it’s just in your genes if your hair thins out. Look at your mum and your sisters to see if they have the same thing.
Alopecia: Is a condition where you get patches of baldness, and it’s very common in your late teens and early twenties. It usually grows back within a year.
What can I do about losing my hair?
Once you’ve ruled out any underlying medical problems, the task is all about building your self-esteem.
“Just your hairstyle can make a huge difference to how you feel about it,” says Dr Sanjay. “There’s lots of volumising tricks and clever cuts you can use to build your confidence back up again.”
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
Photo of hairy girl by Shutterstock
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