Facial hair growth, also known as pogonotrophy, can be stimulated by a variety of factors. The increased presence of certain hormones in the body can lead to facial hair growth, and it can also be affected by heredity. In women, facial hair growth can be stimulated by certain medical disorders, as well.
Facial hair growth is caused by the presence of androgens in the body. Androgens are male hormones, of which testosterone is probably the most well-known. Since men naturally have higher levels of androgen than women, they typically have more facial hair than women. Some women, however, have abnormally high levels of androgens, which may be caused by several different factors.
For both men and women, heredity is a determining factor in facial hair growth. If you come from a family whose members experience strong pogonotrophy, it is very likely that you will experience the same phenomenon. Conversely, if you are part of a family whose members experience very sparse facial hair growth, you will most likely exhibit the same traits.
Hirsutism in Women
Higher levels of androgens in women can result in hirsutism. Hirsutism refers to excessive hair growth in women in places where hair growth typically occurs only for men. This not only refers to the face, but also the chest, abdomen and back. Several factors can increase androgen levels for women, including obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome, Cushing's syndrome and certain medications. If you think you are experiencing strong hirsutism, consult your physician.
Hypertrichosis may also result in elevated androgen levels that lead to facial hair growth. It is similar to hirsutism, except that hypertrichosis also stimulates hair growth in places unusual for both genders. This condition may be congenital (present at birth) or it may be acquired later in life. Scientists are still unsure what causes hypertrichosis. It is an extremely rare condition -- only 50 cases have been verified since the Middle Ages. If you think you may be suffering from hypertrichosis, consult your physician.
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