Have you ever seen someone who almost all over his body covered with fine hair, even to the face? In the medical world, this condition is called hypertrichosis or werewolf syndrome.
Hypertrichosis is a rare condition characterized by excessive hair growth. Hair can grow very thick, it can even cover the entire body, including the face, so that the sufferer looks like a werewolf.
Hypertrichosis can occur from birth and can also appear as an adult. This condition can occur in both women and men. This is different from hirsutism which is both excessive hair growth, but only occurs in women and is caused by high androgen hormones.
Causes of Hypertrichosis
The exact cause of hypertrichosis is not known. However, experts suspect this condition occurs due to a genetic mutation that stimulates excessive hair growth.
In addition, there are also other factors that have the potential to trigger hypertrichosis, namely:
- Malnutrition (malnutrition)
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa.
- Certain diseases, such as cancer, acromegaly, HIV/AIDS, dermatomyositis, and lichen simplex (neurodermatitis).
- Increased blood supply to the skin.
- Use of plaster casts.
- Use of certain medications, such as hair growth medications, antibiotics (streptomycin), androgenic steroids, immunosuppressants, and anticonvulsants (phenytoin).
Symptoms of Hypertrichosis
Hypertrichosis can occur throughout the body or only in some areas. Excess hair that has hypertrichosis is usually one of three types of hair, namely:
Lanugo is a very fine, light-colored hair type. Lanugo is common in newborns and usually goes away on its own after a few weeks. In people with hypertrichosis, lanugo will continue to exist if not shaved.
Vellus is a type of fine hair like lanugo, but darker in color and shorter in size. Vellus can grow in almost all parts of the body, except the soles of the feet, behind the ears, lips, palms, and in scar tissue (scars).
Terminal hair type is hair that is long, thick, and usually very dark in color, for example head hair.
Treatment for Hypertrichosis
Hypertrichosis cannot really be treated. However, there are several treatment methods that can be used to temporarily treat it, including:
- Hair removal, such as waxing.
- Bleaching (bleach) hair, namely the process of removing hair color, so that the hair is not so visible.
Because the effect is only short term, this method of treatment must be done repeatedly and regularly. Plus, this method is also at risk of causing irritation to the skin.
Actually, there are other hypertrichosis treatment methods that can last longer, namely by electrolysis and laser.
Electrolysis is the process of removing hair by destroying hair follicles using a small amount of electricity. While in laser treatment, the hair cells will be burned and turned off with a laser beam.
Both of these treatment methods are quite effective for permanent hair removal, but they need to be done repeatedly and are relatively expensive, especially for hypertrichosis all over the body or in large areas.
Hypertrichosis experienced since childhood is not a dangerous condition, although it can cause feelings of insecurity and discomfort. On the other hand, hypertrichosis that only occurs in adulthood needs to be watched out for, because it can signal the presence of a disorder or disease.
If you experience hypertrichosis, especially as an adult, you should immediately consult a doctor to find out the cause and get the right treatment.