Meet Shyja, the Kerala woman who ‘loves’ her moustache; Expert shares reasons behind facial hair growth in women

For centuries, patriarchy has not just dictated the lifestyles of women but has also set unrealistic standards of beauty for them. Having a flawless face without a strand of facial hair is one of them. Breaking such conventional gender stereotypes is a Kerala woman who dons her moustache with pride.

“I love myself and the moustache. I have never tried to hide it,” said Shyja, who recently went viral on social media for sporting a fully-grown moustache.

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The 34-year-old added that the “saddest” part is that her moustache is not visible when she wears a mask.

While Shyja embraces her moustache with honour, people have always asked her to get rid of it. “I have always had a moustache but it has grown thicker in the past few years. People have advised me to remove the moustache. ‘Isn’t it on my face? So, let it be there’ – this has been my reply to them. I have faced negative comments and teasing all throughout my life. But, it doesn’t bother me,” she told Indian Express Malayalam over the phone from Kannur.

“People can say anything. Today it might be my moustache and tomorrow they might be behind something else. That’s their problem…Its human nature…”

She revealed that she has never tried removing her moustache. “It is easy to remove it I don’t want to. Let it be there, it is a part of me. Neither my husband nor my daughter have an issue,” Shyja said.

She added that “no special care is taken. I just neatly trim the hair when it grows out of line,” she said.

Why do some women have facial hair growth?

According to Dr Uma Vaidyanathan, Gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, “There are many underlying reasons for facial hair growth in women.”

One of the primary reasons is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the expert shared. “The condition is quite common in young women these days, due to poor lifestyle practices like eating junk food, obesity. These things lead to an abnormal hormonal balance in women leading to an imbalance in testosterone hormone levels and facial hair.”

However, if a woman has a face completely covered with hair, it may indicate tumourous growth somewhere in the body “which causes abnormally high levels of male hormones in women”, Dr Vaidyanathan said. “One needs to get in touch with an endocrinologist to rule out any underlying hormone-secreting tumour.”

Calling a full-grown beard or moustache abnormal, the gynaecologist shared that it is generally a result of “either a severe hormonal imbalance or an underlying tumorous growth, both of which need to be investigated.”

Can facial hair growth be reversed?

To get rid of facial hair growth, it is crucial to determine the underlying condition behind it, said the expert.

*If it is a tumorous growth and is removed, more often than not, a patient recovers.

*If it is a hormonal problem, then following good lifestyle practices along with certain hormone medications that can bring down hair growth can reverse the condition over a period of time.

However, if a woman does not have hormonal problems or tumourous growth but still notices an increase in facial hair, “they can opt for cosmetic procedures like laser therapy and other salon services,” she suggested.

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