Why Are My Legs So Hairy? Answered! It Seems Like Leg Hair Grows So Fast!

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In the early 1900s, and Gilette created the first safety razor for women. 

This marked the start of the first-ever anti-underarm hair campaign for women, with companies leveraging the market for sleeveless dresses and labeling underarm hair removal a “necessity”. And so it began…

Hairless legs (among other body parts) are still the standard in the western world. But hair growth can vary from one person to another depending on several reasons. 

Sometimes it can feel like too much, though. Some wonder why are my legs so hairy?! It seems I need to shave all the time!

If you’ve noticed that your hair growth is excessive, though, there may be a few reasons why this may be and how they should be dealt with.

We’ll have a look at them below.


Why Are My Legs So Hairy? Identifying Normal Versus Abnormal Hair Growth

Most every adult has some hair on their legs. Most men don’t think much about it, and most women shave, epilate, or wax to remove it.

But sometimes it seems like the volume of hair is higher than normal! And that is possible.

The Ferriman-Gallwey scale was developed to classify what may count as hirsutism, which is a condition caused by higher levels of androgens being produced by your body.

Androgens are male sex hormones like testosterone. And yes, women have them too. 

Androgens are male sex hormones like testosterone. And yes, women have them too. 

You will generally see an increase in hair growth in more than one place that women generally don’t want, such as the face, tummy, back, and buttocks. 

Developed in 1961, this scale was designed to measure the volume of hair in 11 sites in the body, which are indicative of androgen-related hair growth. This was later reduced to 9 sites.

The Ferriman–Gallwey score is widely used but is merely indicative of an issue rather than conclusive. A medical assessment will still need to be carried out to confirm the suspicion.

1. Hormonal Imbalances

The most common culprit is a condition called hirsutism which we discussed above. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (or PCOS) is another common reason. The condition is also known to aid the production of excessive amounts of androgens. 

Both conditions are treatable with medication designed to help regulate the hormones and ovaries and reduce the number of androgens they secrete.

Treatment usually includes the prescription of suitable birth control pills or anti-androgen medication, and improvements should be seen gradually as your body reacts to the prescribed treatment.

It may be something common like PCOS, your body’s response to certain types of medication, or just your natural life cycle.

2. Weight Gain

Obesity alters how your body produces and processes hormones. Higher insulin levels stimulate the production of male hormones in the body and are also linked with conditions such as PCOS and diabetes. 

As mentioned, these conditions are synonymous with excessive hair growth. Just like them, excessive weight can be treated and controlled, albeit a little more difficult than merely taking medication. 

A lifestyle change will also be required to get you back on track, including a change in diet, emphasizing a reduction in sugar and trans fat, and an increase in antioxidant-rich foods such as fruit and vegetables. 

3. Usage of Certain Medications

Yes, certain types of medication could set you up for a hairy situation. Mind the pun. One of the side effects of the following types of medication is excessive hair growth. This is because these medications are derived from androgens. 

If you’ve experienced excessive hair growth following the usage of any of these types of medication, it may be worth a visit to the doctor to explain your situation and find a possible alternative: 

  • Antipsychotic drugs
  • Anti-seizure medication
  • Immunosuppressive medications
  • Steroids

4. Pregnancy

As expected, pregnancy causes your body and hormones to go through a radical transformation. This can cause hair to grow thicker and faster than normal, not just on the scalp but throughout the body. There’s generally no need for alarm in this case, and you should find your hair growth resumes its normal pace once the baby is born. 

5. Genetics

Research has shown that some ethnicities and racial groups are more prone to higher levels of hair growth. Middle-eastern, Mediterranean, and darker-skinned females commonly have excessive hair as a result of their basic genetic composition. This can include facial hair, leg hair, body hair, etc.

In this case, since it’s impossible to treat genetics, you may have to rely on temporary or permanent hair removal techniques. 

6. Adrenal Gland Malfunctions

Higher insulin levels stimulate the production of male hormones in the body and are also linked with conditions such as diabetes.

The adrenal gland produces cortisol which is essential for several reasons, including but not restricted to helping your metabolism, suppressing inflammation, and regulating blood sugar. 

In a condition known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, the adrenal glands are affected negatively, which can cause the cortisol to stop being produced and be replaced by androgens. This is a fairly complex issue and will require medical attention. 

7. Thyroid Disorders

While thyroid disorders are generally synonymous with hair loss, they can work the other way too. Thyroid dysfunction can often be indicative of other hormone issues. 

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are the two most common thyroid disorders and will require a medical examination to identify the exact problem. Once treated, you should notice a reduction in your hair growth. 

8. Menopause

During the onset of menopause, your hormones go through an overhaul. Even if previously normally balanced, your estrogen levels will decrease during this period in life, whether you like it or not. 

This can cause previously balanced androgens to tip as well, resulting in unwanted side effects such as unwanted hair growth. In this case, estrogen replacement medication may help, but it’s best to consult a doctor to identify whether this is the right solution for you. 


Conclusion

Excessive hair growth can be an indication of an underlying condition. In most cases, it may be something common such as PCOS, your body’s response to certain types of medication, or just your natural life cycle. What constitutes excessive hair, though, is objective.

Many women concerned about it often grow more body hair than they desire. 

Basic cosmetic methods of hair removal such as laser hair removal, traditional shaving, and waxing are generally a good place to start.

And if it’s found that the growth is uncontrollable through these methods, then it may be time to seek a deeper issue and treatment thereof.

Written by Kayla Young

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