Female Facial Hair: What You Need to Know
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Female Facial Hair: What You Need to Know

If you've noticed a few unwanted hairs sprouting up on your face, don't whip out the razor yet! Check out expert advice from a reproductive endocrinologist.
Question: "I've noticed fine, blonde hairs on my face that seem to have sprouted up out of the blue. Ugh --do I need to start shaving?"

Answer: Don't pull out the razor just yet. If you're noticing sudden hair growth, particularly on your cheeks or forearms, it's probably due to a hormonal imbalance, says reproductive endocrinologist Barbara Soltes, M.D., director of the Women's Health Research Center at Rush-Presbyterian—St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago. While every woman produces estrogen and progesterone, we also produce a little of the male hormone testosterone. If your "female" hormones are at a low level (which can be caused by a number of things, including irregular menstrual cycles or a very rapid weight loss), testosterone can kick in and cause symptoms like facial hair or acne. Consult a reproductive endocrinologist or your ob/gyn-a hormonal imbalance is usually easy to correct (typically with birth-control pills, but in some cases, more intensive hormone treatments may be necessary). However, you may need to wax or undergo electrolysis until your hormones are back to normal.

Originally published in Fitness magazine.