Woman describes what it’s like to live with hirsutism

10 February 2015

Around five to 10 per cent of American women (and up to 10 per cent of British women) suffer from hirsutism (unwanted excess hair). Whether there’s no known cause or it’s a by-product of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, living with the condition can be upsetting, embarrassing and can cause the sufferer to completely lose all self-confidence – as one woman knows all too well.

Virginia born Renae M. Gylbert describes what it was like growing up with hirsutism. At the age of 15, Renae had a beard, as well as unwanted hair on her chest, breasts and bikini line. She said: “I had no idea where it came from. I thought I was cursed. I was the only woman I knew who had to shave her face every day. I’d get stubble within 12 hours.”

Her mother advised her to pluck the hairs away to prevent them from growing back, but that didn’t help – in fact, it made it worse, and Renae spent two to three hours plucking every hair on her face every four days.

Renae explains how she tried just about every method of hair removal, including epilators, waxing, creams, self-threading and at-home Laser Hair Removal. It wasn’t until she tried professional Laser Hair Removal treatment that it started to work – but then she couldn’t afford a full course of treatment and the hair came back.

After having been diagnosed with idiopathic hirsutism in 2012, Renae sought professional Laser Hair Removal once again, this time paying for a full course of treatment and now says her facial hair has almost completely disappeared.

She encourages people who think they may have the condition to seek diagnosis because “I’ve been managing this since I was in middle school and I’m 32. I don’t want anyone else to go through that. Twenty years is too long to feel that self-conscious.”

Do you suffer from hirsutism? Which hair removal methods have you found most effective? Let us know on Twitter