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Female facial hair and Acne as a result of PCOS

I came across this site trying to gather information on what has been happening to my face. I have always suffered from acne, yet in the past years it has gotten out of control (i am 27). I do not have cysts regularly, but my face is cluttered with numerous small acne bumps, most hidding little very thick hairs beneath them and puss. I know my acne is rooted from facial hair. I try to pluck them and I get acne when they begin to grow back, and ingrown hairs. I try to get the ingrown hairs out and it results in wounds and scaring. I really do not know what to do at this point. I tried laser, yet after the first session my face got out of control. I believe it must have happened when they first shaved my face (standard procedure for laser hair removal)- yet the shaving opened all the little acne bumps and must have allowed it to spread.

Someone mentioned diabetes and menstral cycle problems. I have very irregular periods and have been diagnosed with " PCOS " (a pre-diabetic stage).  I know my facial hair is rooted to this problem, yet I do not know how to fix it. If others reading this have facial hair, acne, and gain wegiht easily (even if you are not overweight, yet it is hard for you to maintain a stable weight across the year) , then I would get tested for PCOS. I have acne, thick facial hair around both my cheecks leading from my mouth to my side burns, and across the jawline and chin. I am not what you would call overweight, although I could loose 10 pounds, but as a child I was.

I know what is causing my horrible acne, yet no one (and believe me I have been to MANY doctors) has given me any solutions. I have tried birth control, topical/oral treatments for acne, laser hair removal, anything and everything (at one point rubbing pure aloe vera on my face), yet NOTHING has worked. These things have controlled the situation, until the new batch of hairs grow, I remove them (because I feel very uncomfortable with them), and then when they start growing back its the same process of acne, etc.. all over again.

Can anyone relate to this? any reccomendations? treatments? I don't know what is worst, a face full of acne or a face full of hair as a female... or worst, a face with BOTH and the scars from having it happen over and over again (my current situation). HELP!

This discussion is related to Facial Cysts with Ingrown Hair.
30 Responses
Avatar universal
PCOS is an endocrine disorder that affects approximately 10% of all women .It  is the most common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age, and is a leading cause of infertility.
The principal features are weight problems, lack of regular ovulation and/or menstruation, and excessive amounts or effects of androgenic (masculinizing) hormones.
Hirsutism — excessive and increased body hair, typically in a male pattern affecting face, chest and legs is common in this condition, unless this is treated the hair growth and acne will keep recurring.
Cyproterone acetate is a progestogen with anti-androgen effects that blocks the action of male hormones that are believed to contribute to acne and the growth of unwanted facial and body hair.
Other drugs with anti-androgen effects include flutamide and spironolactone, both of which can give some improvement in hirsutism.
Avatar universal
I'm going thru the same things - however I did enuf online research to figure out that I finally needed to see an endocrinologist for the hormonal problem.  I was diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20's, but thought it only caused me not to have periods.  I had always had acne since around 14 years old, face, back, arms - everywhere, but I was able to manage it somewhat, birth control pills helped, but never cleared me up.  In my 30's however, I started getting the ingrown acne cysts all over my neck and chin.  After reading some of these forums and talking to some black male friends and some other research, I've come to the conclusion (all on my own) that part of it has to do with curly hair.  I've got curly blond hair, but it curls up under the skin and causes the bumps (I've pulled out 2" hairs!)  My friend John who is black told me about his bumps on his skin, as you see on a lot of black males if you look closely.  I see the problem as the hair starts to curl before it gets a chance to get out of the skin...and viola...a nice big bump.  I don't know if it happens to people w/ stick straight hair, but it might since most beards on men are curly.  

Anyways...I'm seeing an endocrinologist and she has put me on glucophage and spironolactone.  I'm not even close to being diabetic, but the glucophage is supposed to help w/ the PCSO symptoms.  Yes, I'm a bit overweight, but not too bad, and weight does fluctuate.  
The spironolactone is supposed to reduce the male-type hormones (androgens and testosterone).  It's only been a few months with no improvement, I'll give it a few months.  I've been on every type of dermatologist recommended treatments - antibiotics, topical treatments, pills, and have even went thru 2 1/2 rounds of accutane w/ no improvements.

Although the endocrine treatments may be a route you want to take, I wanted to warn you of a few side effects.  The glucophage makes you VERY sick at your stomach when you start taking it.  I don't know how many times I threw up the first few weeks. (make sure you eat when taking the pills)  But it does pass.  However, I talked to some diabetic people who say it gave them diarrhea - and now I'm seeing that part of it.   But what I really want to warn you about is the Spironolactone.  It is also prescribed as a blood pressure reducing medication, which is great if you have high blood pressure too.  However, mine was normal 120/80 or so.  After taking it for awhile, and after the dosage was increased - I started to feel extremely tired.  I had my BP checked and it was down to like 100/68 !!!   No wonder I was so pooped.  I'm starting to feel better now, but man it really knocked me out for a few weeks.  I needed to warn you.

Good luck with it all, I know it *****.
Avatar universal
I DEFINITELY think there is a relationship between facial hair and acne, and it is routed in hormonal imbalance.  Years ago I lost a signigicant amount of weight due to an eating disorder.  I had several side effects, including the development of facial hair.  I plucked my facial hair, and inevitably this would later turn into a pimple where I plucked.  It even seemed to spread like an infection.
My solution?  Weight gain, adequate sleep and eating enough fat.  When I do get occasional hairs and pimples, I have found that HYDROGEN PEROXIDE works better than any acne treatment around.
Avatar universal
Hello Amy, I am 24 and after suspecting pcos for some time went to an endocrinologist and was finally diagnosed.
I only weigh 8 1/2 stone so am not overweight but go up and down like a yoyo. I really would not advise eating more fat when you have pcos. You need to manage your insulin levels which should reduce some symptons. Lower carb diet and less sugar as well as less red meat (due to the cholesterol and high blood fat levels pcos can cause) helps as does exercise to minimise weight around the middle organs. Metformin is a good medication, and is designed for diabetics but lowers insulin levels in those that don't have it too. There are some good suplements for acne too, zinc, vitamin E, there are others I can't think of but will add another time. I think it's essential that you see an endocrinologist and a good dermatologist ( I have acne and sebbhoreic dermatitis in my eyebrows from pcos). The dermatologist can offer topical treatments as well as laser and Pulsed light treatments for acne. They are expensive but if anything makes you feel happier it has to be worth it right?  
Avatar universal
I have simiar problems and I too believe it is from hairs on my face. I unfortunately pick at it and then my skins gets really hard & the condition worsens.  I was on Bactric (an antibiotic) and it helped quite a bit but when I go off it it comes right back. I've tried various other things, nothing seems to help!
Avatar universal
When I read this it was like I was reading my life! The only time I ever had acne was about a week before my period, then I decided to get laser done for my facial hair and it has been a battle since. As you stated I had to start shaving my face and I had 6 treatments done with the laser bf they decided that since my condition was hormonal the laser wouldn't work. Which makes no sense to me bc if a woman has hair on her face isn't that obvious that she has hormone issues? Then my husband and I decided to try and have children and I was on metformin and spirolactone at the time, they continued the metformin but stopped the spirolactone(which I didn't feel did anything anyways) bc it can cause birth deffects. They put me on clomid for six months with no result of a child but my body seemed to fall apart! My resting heartrate was 144 and at work I would be talking to a patient and start sweating to the point it was running down my face and neck, I have always had low blood pressure(not to a fault) but my bp started getting higher and higher, and when I would have the hot flash I was freezing cold. I gained 90 lbs in a year and my neck seemed to be huge. It took about 2 more years for an endocrinologist to tell me I had graves desease. She got all my records and said that my thyroid level was high bf clomid and that doctor should have never prescribed it to me. So having pcos that messes with your hormones and then having to get my thyroid removed that produces and regulates my hormones sent me into a massive depression. And along with the pcos and graves disease I lost most of my hair, on my head that is. After getting all that done she sent my to an Obgyn and go from there. After countless exams and ultrasounds and two laporoscopys he told me the only way to get rid of my symptoms with pcos I needed to either go on birth control( I have tried every kind and they all make me sick) or get pregnant. Thanks for the help doc!!!! If I could get pregnant I would! So I stopped taking ALL medication prescribed to me except the synthroid and I lost 55lbs on my own. Which has made the ingrown hairs and cysts even worse! And not only are they on my face I get them on my chest and my belly and my legs. I am still borderline diabetic and I do my best with diet and excersize but it still seemed I didn't have the skip in my step that I use to. My husband took me shopping to get new clothes and I picked the most girly closes thinking that might make my body start behaving as a girl lol. I have been up and way down for the past ten years searching for any answers I can that I feel will help me. I refuse to take anymore prescribed medication for my symptoms as I have learned they can make your body spiral into an added condition and I don't want to risk it. Just the other day I came across a website a girl has about using chromium to help with her pcos and in the first month she has seen results with less facial hair and much clearer skin. I have been researching chromium and I actually found a multivitamin that includes chromium and has no added hormones like most multivitamins! The website is Xtend-life and I think I have found my next step, of course I don't make snap decisions anymore or try just anything before I research all of it. I have also been using a natural exfolliant on my face bf shaving and that has helped a little with the ingrown hair/zits. Another thing is I have stopped eating as much red meat and dairy bc I have read many places that cows have too many natural hormones past through those types of food that are not good for us pcos girls. As much as I would love this facial hair, acne, fat belly, and mood swing to be gone I can't say that I would do anything for it to go away. I'm not saying that doctors are bad but alot of times the pills they want to give you can have bad side effects and then there is another pill that can fix that. They try to act like they know the cure for your body but when you try to tell them different they act like we don't know what we are talking about. Well I'm not stupid and I will not put my fate in the hands of another human, my trust is in God and I feel that the natural things he has put on this earth to heal is the way to go. It's just a suggestion but I would recommend looking at that multivitamin and doing some research on it to see if it fits your needs bc nobody knows your body better than you. God bless you and remember what doesn't kill us makes us stronger! And I would have to say that pcos girls are very strong girls! Keep your head up and walk in faith.
I'm so sorry for all you've been through.  I have recently been very impressed with drjenniferdaniels. and am working on her recommended diet and cleanse.  You might want to checkout her website as well.  She has an interesting story.
Avatar universal
wat ever u may need
eulexin 250 mg
show your fitness  evista 60 mg

Take   feinty of water daily famvir 250 mg

Avatar universal
show your fitness  evista 60 mg

Avatar universal
Wow, I have been dealing with all of these problems for years & have always squezzed black heads, popped pimples, tweezed hairs, dug up ingrown hairs for that matter! My face is scarred, I cover it with make-up. Lately I have had large & very hard painful lumps around my chin & jaw line. I have been putting heat compress & hydrogen peroxide & guess what came out? Tons of yellow infected puss! I am so embarrassed & feel so disscouraged, I wonder since you posted ur first comment it was a few years ago, do you still struggel with this? I need to see a doctor, I just keep thinking I can naturally solve this but I can't keep my hands off my face! How lame this sounds, Im not crazy really, even though my picking problem sounds kind of physco!
Avatar universal
Hello all I am relieved to read on here that I am not alone so I really am glad I found this website. I am a 28 year old middle eastern female and I too cant keep up with my facial hair and body hair. My nipples are scarred because ive been plucking hairs around and now the hair is ingrown so I feel so unattracitve because of all the scars and I feel like no man wants me.. Its not that bad but it is to me if that makes any sense.. I shave my legs andt the hair grows so fast and so rough the next morning they are so spikey. I cant keep up with the maintenance. Its truly an inconvenience and I dont wish this upon anyone. I went to a dermatologist awhile back and I had a blood test and they did confirm that I did have more male hormones (so yes, androgens) they put me also on Sprionolactone but I couldnt afford to keep getting it refilled because I dont have insurance., and I wanst on it long enought to know if it gave me any progress but the sounds of what  just read above from some of the ladies here doenst sound too promising with that.  About those huge zits under peoples chin/neckline I have those too and i just pop them. I just saw an ingrown facial hair and i was getting so frustrated and felt so damn ugly that I just poked and poked with a tweezer and I couldnt pullt he hair out I ended up bleeding like crazy and finally scarred my face for no reason... I wish sometimes that I was born a man because life for me this way is just so hard. I cant keep up with the constant upkeep/maintenance of facial hair and I am VERY self conscious when i am standng close to someone (or next to my boyfriend in bed) someone help... chromium sounded like a good idea

IF ANYONE wants someone to talk to about this feel free to shoot me an email I undesrtand your situation ***@****
Avatar universal
i am just basically going to say ditto to all of the above comments situations etc.  the chin swelling and the pain and the fact that i look like a crystal meth tweeker is my biggest concern.  i look absolutely horrible.  i feel like unless i go through the whole scenario that people might actually think i am on drugs or dirty or whatever.  i don't really care what people think, but i am beginning to start on a change in career path and i am reluctant due to my face.  and the other factor is i have a daughter and i am sure her friends are asking why i have huge sores on my chin.  i am not sure if i missed any replies that had to do with injections.  i had a roommate who traveled from Oakland to downtown San Francisco just so she could get a shot (almost two hundred dollar) injection of cortisone i think that was the ingredient...and her so called pimple was about the size of the top of a pin.  not that it matters, because small ones can hurt too.  so my point is ... has anyone tried?   also it seems like nothing has really even worked over the years???  so far without insurance, i have no idea if there is a deeper issue, which for some reason, i am quite sure i won't like the answers once i do go...but for now, what works for me is ice after washing my face, i use fabulous face wash by bliss, amazing, but only like every other day, and in between i use murad c facewash.  lotions have been a battle for various reasons,  the best so far for me have been la roche posay, i think i spelled that right, touleraine ultra or soothing serum...for intolerant skin, as soon as it hits my face i can literally feel it calm down.  the ultra is a bit heavier, and unfortunately i do not have much money, so i am unable to try any others yet, also physicians formula purple moisturizer has a similar effect at about half the cost, but def not the same.  the ice is what takes the swelling down and if thety are really bad i use the peroxide, it seems to work the best.  i would like to use the acne formula from la roche posey, but again, money.  the other lotion i also use, forgot is the nutragena spf 15 oil free face lotion.  i don't wear face make up all over only on the spots which can take a long time to cover nicely i was hoping to find a clinical trial and possibly get some help and help find a cure at the same time...anyone know of anything?  thank you so much for making me feel not alone and have a little more hope...
Avatar universal
You aren't psycho. I am in the mirror for at lat thirty minutes every single night, sometimes more, tweezing hairs from my chin and eyebrow areas. Been doing it for years. I've never had perfectly clear skin, but I do know that were it not for my chin hair and all the tweezing I do in that area, it would not be as broken out and irritated as it constantly is. I've tried Vaniqa, but since I don't want to put it on the broken skin on my chin, I've never been able to use it consistently enough to see if it really works for me. I'm constantly touching my chin throughout the day, feeling for hairs. I don't even realize I'm doing it half the time. If I find one, I obsess over it and touch it all day until I can get home and get in the mirror and pluck it out, then waste more time in the mirror searching for hairs to pluck out. The skin on my chin has paid the price for this. I currently shave off the hair on my upper lip...plucking that area just isn't possible. But I refuse to shave my chin. I know this isn't normal, but it's my life. A constant, never ending battle.
100% get electrolysis, the only thing that really is permanent,  and not that expensive either. Would solve your chin problem.
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