Have you ever heard the saying “Igbo/Calabar girls are naturally hairy”? Well, we have some news for you – that’s not always the case. Thanks to a rather personal revelation by Nigerian Designer & multi-media artist – Claire Idera (nee Claire Nnani), we’re getting some insight to the condition called Hirsutism.
What is it?
To put it plainly, Hirsutism is a condition where women experience excessive growth of dark & coarse hair in a male-like pattern on the face, chest, lower abdomen, inner thighs & back. In most cases, this is as a result of excess male hormones, mainly testosterone, and can be treated.
Now, we’re not sure where the ‘rumor’ that ‘only women from Akwa Ibom or the Eastern part of Nigeria are hairy’ started from, but we’re here to say that’s not always the case. As you can see with Claire. She shared her story on Instagram stating how she had to do some learning and unlearning of her own regarding this condition`.
Here’s what she shared;
“Hirsutism! First time I was fully aware that I was different was in SS1. I didn’t know any girl who had strands of hair on her neck or even grew side burns as thick as mine. I had a few nicknames like wolverine, I even remember the boys that called me that. Some boys envied my sideburns too. Lmao! So mixed feelings really. The annoying part about this condition is that many people didn’t understand it. Some people will ask if I’m Igbo or Calabar and that Yoruba girls don’t have such 🙃🙂 yup! So I had to do my own research as I grew older and most importantly get comfortable with it. While building my confidence as a young adult had its own challenges, trying to make sure people looked in my eyes during a conversation and not on my jaw or chin was another wahala. But truly I got over it. If anything I made jokes about it more than I worried about it. It was beyond my control. I would shave when I felt like touching smooth skin. Luckily, I didn’t marry someone who was uncomfortable with it either❤️ But still if I could make it go away I will, just because I believe I’ve had enough already ☺️ There’s a lot more about my facial hair journey I’ll love to share and the point of it really is to educate from my perspective and let you know how to find comfort in your flaws. ❤️ You are your own beautiful! No one is your benchmark but you. #realandrelatable”
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As unpredictable as Hirsutism is, it is a symptom of possible underlying health issues like tumors, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Cushing Syndrome or ingesting the wrong medication. So, if you think the hair growth you’re experiencing seems abnormal, then you should see a doctor.
You might have some Questions…
Now, we;’re guessing you have some questions about this condition, so here are some Q&As for you;
- Is it herediraty?: The painful answer is yes. If conditions like Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia & Polycystic Ovary Syndrome run in your family, chances are it could be passed to you.
- How else can i get it?: It has been discovered that being obese causes increased androgen production which can worsen cases of Hirsutism.
- How can i treat it?: There are many ways to treat it – both cosmetically and medically. You could try home remedies like waxing, shaving, plucking etc. However, if you think this condition is either worsening or seems very odd to you, then you should see a doctor to find out if there are underlying conditions you’re unaware of.
But in all, please take Claire’s advice and “find comfort in your own flaws”. So what if you’re a little hairy? Try to love yourself – hair and all!
Photo Credit: @ClaireIdera (Instagram)