Hypertrichosis: Types, Causes and Treatment – Abnormal Hair Growth

Abnormal Hair Growth

Hypertrichosis is the excessive growth of hair above normal for the age, sex and race of an individual, in contrast to Hirsutism , which is the excess hair growth in women following a pattern of male distribution.

Hypertrichosis can develop throughout the body or can be isolated to small patches. Hypertrichosis can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (it arises later in life).

Hypertrichosis is classified as congenital or acquired, and regional or generalized.

Excessive hair can cause cosmetic embarrassment, resulting in a significant emotional load, particularly if it is widespread throughout the body.

Treatment options are limited and the results of therapy are not always satisfactory.

Therefore, patients should be adequately informed of the treatment modalities available for temporary or permanent hair removal .

No single method of hair removal is appropriate for all body parts or patients, and the one adopted will depend on the character, area and amount of hair growth, as well as the patient’s age and personal preferences.


Terminal Congenital Hypertrichosis

It is the variation that most people associate with the condition. This version involves all the growth of body hair.

Interestingly, this form of hypertrichosis is almost always associated with gingival hyperplasia – which means that these “wild and vicious” werewolves often have very few teeth.

Hypertrichosis Naevoide

Naevoid hypertrichosis is an unusual form of hypertrichosis where a solitary circumscribed area of ​​hair growth occurs.

It is not usually associated with other diseases, except if it appears as a faunal tail on the lower back, then it may indicate an underlying spina bifida.

Naevoid hypertrichosis can occur at birth or appear later in life and the symptoms can vary from hairy ears, tail, a pronounced unicule or excessive growth of the beard in females and males alike.

Congenital Hypertrichosis Lanuginosa

Finally, congenital lanuginosa hypertrichosis is a very rare form of hypertrichosis with only about 50 cases reported worldwide since the Middle Ages.

The currently available treatment methods include cosmetic procedures (whitening, trimming, shaving, waxing, waxing, chemical depilatories and electro-surgical hair removal) and depilation with light and laser sources.

Laser-assisted hair removal is the most effective long-term hair removal method currently available.

The lack of comparative data makes it difficult to choose the most effective system to end this condition, however, although the color contrast between the epidermis and the hair will determine the type of laser to use.

A new treatment to reduce excessive hair growth is topical eflornithine, an inhibitor of the enzyme ornithine decarboxylase present in hair follicles that is important in hair growth.

In general, the treatment of hypertrichosis is more satisfactory for patients with localized involvement, than for those with generalized hypertrichosis.

What causes it?

The cause of hypertrichosis is unknown. It is believed that congenital hypertrichosis is a genetic disorder that is inherited or occurs as a result of a spontaneous mutation.

Acquired lanuginous hypertrichosis sometimes occurs in people who at a later stage are diagnosed with cancer in some way.

This hair growth, also known as malignant, is often limited to the face with long, silky hair visible on the nose and eyelids, sites that are normally hairless.

It is not known why a cancer causes this excessive hair growth.

Generalized acquired hypertrichosis may be associated with:

  • Late cutaneous porphyria.
  • Malnutrition, for example, anorexia nervosa.
  • Drugs, for example cyclosporine, phenytoin, androgenic steroids, minoxidil.

Localized acquired hypertrichosis may be associated with:

  • Increase of vascularization.
  • Repeat rubbing or scraping (simple lichen).
  • Plaster application (temporary).
  • Repeated application of minoxidil, potent topical steroid, iodine, psoralens (topical PUVA).
  • The tricomegaly.


Various treatment methods such as chemical peeling, electrolysis and laser therapy. Waxing and simply shaving are the cheapest method of treating hypertrichosis.

All the above methods are based on the cosmetic approach and therefore are not covered by medical insurance. Having too much hair on your face and other areas can affect self-esteem and confidence.

It can cause embarrassment for the affected person and restrict him / her from participating in outdoor activities.

In hypertrichosis, no method has been shown to be effective. In general, the combination of one or more methods can give positive results. Your doctor would consider several factors such as the nature of the growth, the site of hair growth and the intensity of hair growth before deciding about treating it.

Laser therapy is widely preferred by many patients with hypertrichosis since the results are promising and the hair can be permanently removed. Other methods such as waxing, shaving and chemical hair removal have to be repeated from time to time.

Hair whitening In theory it is a fairly reliable treatment, however there is a risk of reaction and irritation caused by not performing an allergy test before starting with this method of treatment.

Depilation with ointments and creams that weaken the hair at the skin level. The shaver can be avoided, however with this method it is possible to cause skin level irritation. Strong odor is common in creams that have thiols as a base. A test to rule out allergies before use is highly recommended.

The diathermy or also called electrolysis is able to weaken and destroy the hair follicles by inserting a water in each follicle and applying an electric current.

One of its contraindications to the pain of this treatment, in addition to its cost, and its progress is usually quite slow compared to laser hair removal. It is essential that a professional perform this treatment to avoid long-term scars.

Laser hair removal is one of the best therapies to treat this condition, being the best option to eliminate body hair. Something costly but it’s worth it and it should be done with the vigilance of a professional doctor. Some scars, redness of the area, changes in skin tones are some of its side effects.

One of the safest methods remains shaving, although it can be an irritant if it is done very frequently.