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Werewolf syndrome: Main characteristics

4 August 2022

Curiosities

What is the Werewolf Syndrome? | Clínica de Freitas

The so-called werewolf syndrome is a condition in which the person presents an increase of hair, excessive and abnormal, which gives a striking appearance reminiscent of the character of lycanthropy. In this article we will develop the characteristics of werewolf syndrome (medically known as hypertrichosis) and how to treat it effectively.

This hair problem differs from the topics we commonly deal with in our blog, as we often talk about alopecia, a disease that affects hair growth. However, today we will not talk about the absence of hair, but about uncontrolled hair growth.

What is werewolf syndrome?

Werewolf syndrome is a condition that causes an excessive and exaggerated increase in body and facial hair, independent of hormonal stimulus and other factors such as age, sex or race.

Although werewolf syndrome, or hypertrichosis, is usually a purely aesthetic problem, sometimes it can be a symptom within a superior condition. On the other hand, this condition can occur over the entire body surface or isolated in some delimited parts.

Hypertrichosis can also affect newborns and we can observe how babies present hair on the body or face.

This excessive hair growth can occur in men and women indistinctly. In addition, women may also have hair growth on the face or hands, areas generally associated with men.

It is important to note that the fact that a person has thicker hair or more populated areas does not necessarily mean that he or she suffers from werewolf syndrome. It often happens that, due to genetic inheritance, people have thicker hair without being a case of hypertrichosis.

Causes of werewolf syndrome in men and women

The werewolf syndrome or disease - hypertrichosis - is the increase of body hair and can be congenital or acquired, and can manifest itself in a generalized or localized form. Some causes of werewolf syndrome in its acquired variants, are:

  • Ingestion of medications: excess hair is usually caused by the use of topical or oral medications, such as minoxidil.
  • Hypertrichosis due to local inflammation: Patients who have suffered fractures, friction areas, stings, bites or application of vaccines, may present inflammation in the area and hair growth.
  • Infectious diseases: Some infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, can cause transient hypertrichosis of the eyebrows, ears, eyelashes, face and extremities.
  • Malnutrition can also cause generalized hair growth.
  • Werewolf syndrome due to thyroid abnormalities: Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are associated with hypertrichosis and alopecia in other cases. 

Symptoms of hypertrichosis

The symptoms of werewolf syndrome are as follows: 

  • Increased facial and body hair growth.
  • Hypertrichosis can manifest itself in two ways:
    • Generalized hypertrichosis: Hair growth occurs all over the body.
    • Localized hypertrichosis: Occurs in specific areas of the body in response to certain events.

How to treat hypertrichosis or werewolf syndrome?

Werewolf syndrome can occur in a primary way, constituting a permanent condition, or in a secondary way, responding to some external and temporary factor. In cases of secondary hypertrichosis, treatment consists of eradicating the triggering factor and the symptoms will naturally tend to disappear.

On the other hand, treatment for primary hypertrichosis is more expensive and requires more perseverance. Among the most affordable options are:

  • Dyeing or bleaching the hair.
  • Depilatory methods: Depilation consists of cutting the hair from a point along its length, generally flush with the skin. These methods include 
    • Mechanical depilation: shaving and cutting with different instruments.
    • Chemical depilation: using creams or lotions. 
  • Epilatory methods: Epilation includes methods that remove hair along its entire length. These methods offer longer lasting results, and among them we find:
    • Mechanical epilation: This is performed using tweezers or wax.
    • Electrolysis epilation: The hair is destroyed by applying heat or electricity.

What should I do if I have werewolf syndrome?

Werewolf syndrome is basically a condition, genetic or acquired, which manifests itself with a high and abnormal hair growth in different parts of the body and face.

According to its characteristics, causes and treatment, werewolf syndrome can mean for the sufferer a psychological suffering and an economic commitment to keep hair growth under control.

As we have mentioned, the causes and manifestations of this condition can be varied, so an individualized diagnosis will always be necessary. This procedure will help us determine if it is an isolated symptom or if it is part of a systemic disease. In addition, according to the characteristics of the syndrome, the professional will be able to prescribe the appropriate hair treatment or other in each case.