Woman embraces beard she has from battle with hormonal disorder
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/my_hair_is_me
A woman has fully embraced her beard as she raises awareness of her hormonal disorder which leads to the growth of facial hair.
LaRae Perkins, a 40-year-old customer service representative from Compton, California, has struggled with facial hair her entire life.
She was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) at the age of 12. It’s a condition which impacts how the ovaries work and leads to irregular periods and excess androgens – the group of sex hormones that help start puberty.
Testosterone is the most common androgen and men usually make more of them.
LaRae said: “My PCOS symptoms included irregular menstrual cycles, that is how mine started, my body was struggling to start a period. I had to be put on birth control pills to regulate it.
“I have been experiencing hirsutism my whole life, I didn’t find out it had a name until I was in my 30s.
“I had thick sideburns that connected to the back of my hair line at a younger age.”
Growing up, people would often comment on LaRae’s appearance and question if she was a man or woman.
She felt ‘alone, embarrassed, ashamed, different, discouraged, confused and emotional’ when she began experiencing her PCOS symptoms and living with hirsutism.
LaRae explained: “There is no history of PCOS or hirsutism in my family, and PCOS is not the only cause of hirsutism, however around 70 percent to 80 percent of people with PCOS develop hirsutism.
“In my family I’m literally the only one with PCOS and hirsutism.
“I currently don’t treat my PCOS or hirsutism. I do not agree with any of the recommended treatments for my type of PCOS."
Treatments include laser hair removal, waxing and shaving which LaRae has avoided because of her concerns around her skin’s health.
She continued: “I will never shave because I love my face and don’t want to cause more issues than just having a beard, my appearance is important to me and having skin that has dark marks, pigmentation, or even razor bumps would make me sad and feel less beautiful.”
She never lets cruel comments get her down, instead she uses them as motivation to make her stronger.
LaRae ‘had to grow tough skin’ over the years after being asked questions like ‘what are you?’
She said: “I had to begin loving the person I see in the mirror, telling her she is beautiful everyday and it doesn’t matter what clothes I choose to wear. I'm still that beautiful being I’m looking at.
“I have embraced my hirsutism by learning to love myself despite what others may think or have comments about and I want to lead by example for others, I would be a hypocrite if I had not learned to love myself first.
“It has been the greatest journey and I am so glad I did it and if because of me even one woman feels she can embrace her natural self then I will have something to be proud of, it will have been worth it.”
For help and support with PCOS, please visit the UK charity Verity's website here.