What is Hypertrichosis?
Hypertrichosis is classified as excessive scalp and body hair growth. Those with hypertrichosis experience hair growth that is well beyond the normal average for their age, gender, and race. It is also called Ambras syndrome.
What causes Hypertrichosis?
Many speculate that this is an acquired genetic condition. It is not contagious or infectious. Certain medications can sometimes cause hypertrichosis as an unintended side effect (for example, minoxidil and other hair restoration treatments), and certain eating disorders and metabolism disorders can cause this excessive form of hair growth as well.
Are there different Types of Hypertrichosis?
Yes, there are many different types. The following types display these distinguishable characteristics:
Localized – this is where excessive hair growth occurs in one area of the body as opposed to all over. Localized hypertrichosis can manifest under these conditions:
- Topical steroids or vasodilator solutions (such as minoxidil) can cause this.
- Areas that are covered in plaster casts sometimes experience this form of hair growth, particularly with children and adolescents.
- Certain vaccinations or infections can cause this form of hair growth as a reaction.
Acquired – this refers to traditional hypertrichosis, which is any excessive hair growth that occurs after birth. In this sense, localized hypertrichosis is an acquired form as well. In most acquired forms, the vellus hairs (otherwise known as “peach fuzz”) mature into black, thick terminal hairs. More than one of these types of hairs can even occupy the same follicle – an abnormality that is not possible with normal hairs. This can occur anywhere on the body, and is typically widespread.
Congenital langinosa – this is an extremely rare form that has a very few instances of medical documentation. In this condition, the lanugo hair never sheds. Lanugo hair is a very fine type of hair that can be found on fetuses until the eighth month.
- Most likely a genetic disorder.
- Can be characterized by fine hair growth on the nose and eyelids which continues throughout life.
- Usually happens to newborns, but has been known to occur in late-stage cancer victims as well.
Who does Hypertrichosis Mainly Affect?
This conditions can happen to anyone at any age. There does not seem to be a discernable pattern aside from instances caused by medication. Otherwise, the exact variable is unknown.
Is Hypertrichosis Curable?
This conditions often goes away on its own, especially if it is caused by a medication or a cast. However, even in these instances, the hair growth is sometimes permanent. A government study followed twenty-one patients who had localized acquired hypertrichosis after removing a cast. After half a year, 80% of the patients had ceased to irregularly grow hair in those areas. However, 20% still continued to grow hair excessively. The ages of the children ranged from five-years-old to sixteen.
Is Hypertrichosis Curable?
Unfortunately, if it does not go away on its own, hypertrichosis is not curable. However, many treatments are available, and include chemical hair removal, laser hair removal, and frequently shaving or waxing. While these treatments are not guarantee to completely resolve the problem, they may provide temporary relief.