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October 1949

ESSENTIAL HIRSUTISM: Dermatologic and Endocrinologic Considerations

Author Affiliations


From the Division of Dermatology and Syphilology and the Division of Endocrinology, Duke University School of Medicine and Duke Hospital.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1949;60(4):528-542. doi:10.1001/archderm.1949.01530040056004

HIRSUTISM in women is common. Most hirsute patients come to the physician because of vanity, complaining of the cosmetic inelegance of excessive hair. The psychic trauma of hirsutism, particularly when the condition involves the face, is striking. Even the bearded lady of the sideshow is often miserable, despite her superficial attitude of amusement.

It is because of this psychic trauma, the cosmetic appearance and the many misconceptions of the role of the endocrine glands in the development of hirsutism that we have evaluated our material. It is hoped that these data may somewhat clarify the problem.

To understand better abnormal hair growth, one should know normal hair growth. Bissell and Williams1 discussed hirsutism in women, and Danforth2 recently reviewed the physiology of human hair.

Before discussing normal and abnormal hair growth of the human being, we shall review the results of some animal experiments. Undernourished

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