A WOMAN who has been shaving her body hair since she was eight years old has finally ditched the razors and hair removal creams. 32-year-old Dana f
A WOMAN who has been shaving her body hair since she was eight years old has finally ditched the razors and hair removal creams.
32-year-old Dana from Portland, Oregon, was diagnosed with hirsutism two years ago, but with the help of her supportive boyfriend, has decided to go au natural.
Growing up with excessive body hair, Dana – also known as Lady Sasquatch – started shaving as a child after being bullied for having dark hair on her legs.
At just eight years old, she began shaving her legs and by the time she was 12, the former hair stylist was plucking her eyebrows and bleaching her upper lip.
Dana has spent her life plucking, waxing and bleaching the hair on her arms, legs, bikini area and even her toes and feet.
But nothing worked, not even laser hair removal which didn’t give the desired results.
After visiting a gynaecologist two years ago, Dana – who also suffers with the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia – was diagnosed with hirsutism, a condition which causes an excess of male hormones called androgens which can lead to excessive body hair.
“I realised, only about two years ago that I had hirsutism after a gynaecological appointment,” explained Dana.
“I went in for my yearly check-up and it was the first time I had been since I stopped shaving.
“My male doctor lifted the sheet and his jaw dropped.
“I don’t think he had ever seen a woman with so much natural hair.
“He immediately checked my stomach and my face and neck and then ordered for more tests to be done to check my hormones.
“Then I checked my online medical records after my appointment and under all my diagnoses was hirsutism.”
But it wasn’t until her now boyfriend, Steve, witnessed first-hand the pain-staking process of removing excess hair and covering up in long shorts, did he suggest she ditch the razors for good.
And with Steve reassuring Dana that she’s beautiful with hair or without, the mum has been embracing her natural hair for two years.
“When my boyfriend suggested that I stop shaving, I honestly thought he was joking,” she explained.
“I couldn’t believe that he would still find me attractive.
“We were only a few months into the relationship when he made the suggestion.
“My boyfriend asked me the question, ‘why do you shave?’ and I never thought there was another option.
“He helped ease my mind so much and help me face my insecurities about my hair.
“Every time I felt ugly or gross, I would send him a picture of my hair and he would say I was beautiful and reassure me that I didn’t need to shave.
“I don’t think I could have ever let go of the razor without his support.”
Dana now uses social media to share her body positive message with other women, but admits at first it was a struggle.
“It was really scary at first because I knew my family and strangers would judge me,” she revealed.
“Once I got over my insecurities and was more comfortable in my skin, it definitely was liberating.
“I also felt like I was being a good example for my kids, to help them learn to love and accept their bodies too.
“Baby steps have been key to me accepting my body hair. I was so nervous on the fourth of July in 2017, it was my first time in shorts outside in public.
“I just took deep breaths and tried to remember that my hair may be shocking for some but only because they’ve never seen a woman with natural hair.
“I used to be a hair stylist and I was paid to remove hair, so I understand that there are people who do not like it, I used to think the same way.
“One time when I went for a hike, I heard a man say, ‘look her legs have more hair then mine’ and really, it just made me laugh so hard.
“It’s really funny to me now that people are shocked by my hair because it seems so natural and normal to me.”
And while Dana does still get the odd comment, she explains most people don’t say anything at all.
“If I feel them looking, I might bring it up or make a joke about being a sasquatch.
“I feel more beautiful, brave and courageous than I ever have in my life.
“I am grateful that I have feet that can hold me up and legs that can help me walk and arms that I can give hugs with and I don’t mind if they’re hairy.”
Above all, Dana hopes her story will inspire others to be more accepting of themselves, explaining women shouldn’t feel like they have to remove their body hair.
“I think if we were raised with more natural women in the media and advertisements then we would be able to accept ourselves more,” she said.
“So hopefully seeing my story will help inspire others.
“I have so much more peace of mind and love for myself now that I have accepted my hirsutism, and I would love for that to catch on.
“If you feel like you have to remove your hair but you don’t want to, just stop. Let go of the fear of not conforming and fill yourself up with love and gratitude.
“This is your life to live and no one else’s, you should be as comfortable as you want, and spend your time and energy as best suited for you.
“Self-care is different than just pedicures and shopping, it’s also listening to your body and respecting what it wants and doesn’t.
“Guys have a lot of hair and they are not gross, neither are you, we are all beautiful.”
What is hirsutism?
- According to the NHS, hirsutism is “excessive hair growth in certain areas of the body” such as the face, neck, chest, tummy, back, buttocks and thighs.
- The condition mainly affects women and is relatively common.
- It’s caused by an excess of male hormones called androgens, or if your body is more sensitive to these hormones.
- Often, the cause of the excess hormones isn’t clear, but some for some women, menopause or polycystic ovary syndrome is a common cause.
- Other less common causes include hormonal disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia or acromegaly.
- Obesity, certain medicines and tumours can also cause hirsutism.
- While it can be a long-term problem, there are treatments to keep it under control, such as prescription creams and oral contraceptives.
- For more information, visit the NHS website.
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