PCOS Sucks! How To Fight Like A Girl, And Survive Like A Woman. Chapter 2: Excessive Hair Growth
Read Chapter One Here.
When I was in the ninth grade, I got teased for my excessive amounts of dark arm hair. I shaved my arms the next morning and have continued to do so for seventeen years. I have dark brown hair, so I’m almost positive that’s where the dark arm hair came from and not PCOS. However, at fifteen, I didn’t care what the cause was; I blamed my new diagnosis and wanted it gone. There is no specific reason I still shave my arms, possibly out of habit. Since my diagnosis, my daily routines have changed, especially with the excessive hair growth.
I’ve read articles stating Hirsutism comes over time, along with other PCOS symptoms. Mine started when I got off birth control. It took me about two months to notice the black hairs growing on my chin. Months later, I noticed them on my neck. To say it horrified me would be an understatement. Not only would I be shaving my legs and arms, but I’d also have to shave my face.
I bought the best men’s razor money could buy and went to town shaving my chin and neck. It worked for about a year, and then more hair developed. I’d shave in the morning, and hours later, I could feel the prickles on my face. I was a twenty-two-year-old woman with a five o’clock shadow.
Many people asked me why I didn’t wax my face instead of shaving. To be honest, I like to sleep in, and shaving is quicker. I tried it, but the wax didn’t pull out the small, black hairs. I ended up shaving either way. There is also the option of laser hair removal, which I may consider one day. Like some other women dealing with symptoms, laser hair removal is not something I can spend money on right now.
After getting to a point where I shaved twice a day, one of my coworkers suggested tweezing. She told me it was time-consuming, but no shadow after a few hours. It sounded great, but who wants to spend hours plucking small hairs from their chin and neck. She assured me it was worth it, and she chose this option over waxing. She had a similar issue with the wax not pulling out the smaller and coarse hairs. I figured at that point, it couldn’t hurt to try. I still use this method today.
Now, when I say time-consuming, I’m not kidding. However, over the years, I have altered my morning routine and made this work. My “morning pluck” usually keeps the hairs away for most of the day. When I get home, anytime I use the bathroom, I pluck. This may be too much information, but my husband jokes I take an hour to pee. I use the bathroom and pluck away. This ensures that the next “morning’s pluck” will not take as long. I always celebrate anytime I can sleep in an extra ten minutes.
I wear little makeup. But there is one item that will hide any of those hairs that decide to grace you with their presence throughout the day. Foundation! I use a liquid foundation first and then the powder foundation. I only used powder for years, and it wore off in an hour. The liquid foundation is thicker and stays on your skin for hours. A little side tip, fan your face to help it dry. It only takes a few seconds, and if not, that stuff will get on anything. It does come out in the wash. But I’ve had to change my white shirt plenty of times after accidentally rubbing my cheek. And as always, wash your hands. The powder is just an extra layer that doesn’t make you look like makeup is caked on your face. It gives a more natural, finished look. Even if you decide to shave, this foundation combo keeps the five o’clock shadow to a minimum.
There are still days I’m in a hurry and use the razor or my flawless women’s hair remover. Per usual, neither get all the shorter hairs, but I apply my foundation and go along with my day. I’ve seen other women who have embraced their hair growth, and don’t shave, tweeze, or wax. I applaud them and hope one day I have the self-confidence they do. Who knows? Maybe I will start letting my arm hair grow back.
To all my cysters, happy PCOS awareness month! Keep fighting and surviving.
Photo by Deanna Jackson via Canva