Woman embraces condition that causes thick hair growth all over her body to promote body positivity
The 32-year-old mother of three was helped by her boyfriend to accept her body hair and not fret too much about conforming to conventional ideas of beauty
A mother-of-three, who has had problems with growth of excess hair all over her body ever since she was eight years old, has finally come to accept her condition in all her hirsute glory.
Thirty-two-year-old Dana, who was recently diagnosed with hirsutism, a condition that promotes excess hair growth, said the turnaround for her life of constant bleaching, shaving and waxing came two years ago when her boyfriend asked her a simple question: "Why do you shave?"
"I never thought there was another option. He helped ease my mind so much and help me face my insecurities about my hair," she said.
Since then Dana has shared her body-hair-positive images on Instagram, and hopes that her story will inspire others to love and accept their bodies too.
Dana's travails with body hair began when she was just eight years old, as abnormal hormones caused her to grow a beard and excess hair on her legs.
Dana from Portland, Oregon, grew up in Florida which meant that as a child, she was always in shorts. Children in her neighborhood, however, would always notice that she had dark hair on her legs and would constantly make fun of her for it.
So she started shaving her legs when she was just eight years old; she began tweezing her eyebrows and bleaching her upper lip when she was only 12.
As the years rolled by, Dana also started waxing and epilating the hair that was too short to come off with the wax. The mother, who is also known as Lady Sasquatch, is also burdened with fibromyalgia, which is a chronic pain condition.
She was always left feeling drained from having to remove hair from her toes, feet, legs, bikini area, stomach, armpits, arms, hands, and fingers which ultimately left her skin prickly and irritated because of the regrowth, reported the Daily Mail.
When Dana was 27 years old, she tried laser hair removal but it was an extremely painful experience which didn't give her the results she was looking for.
It was only when her now-boyfriend Steve saw how tiring her hair removal process was and how she would cover up that he suggested she accept her hairy body. She initially thought she was joking and wouldn't find her attractive if she stopped.
Steve then told her that she will be beautiful regardless of the excess hair and Dana has been accepting her body for two years now. She also hopes that she can show other women that there isn't anything wrong with their natural bodies and body hair isn't something to be repulsed by.
Dana was diagnosed with hirsutism two years ago after her male gynecologist's "jaw dropped" when he saw her natural hair. He checked her tummy, neck, and face and asked her to go get a hormone test which revealed the excess hair growth condition.
She said: "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. I was relieved to know that there was a name for all my hair, and then it helped me to normalize it with some research."
The diagnosis was a relief for Dana but it came very late in her life. She said: "It was like having a constant nagging chore. Even after I shaved, I would still feel prickly, my skin was never smooth. With having chronic pain and fatigue, it just used up so much of my limited energy."
It was Steve who made her think about her condition differently. She said: "When my boyfriend suggested that I stop shaving, I honestly thought he was joking. 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."
Dana continued: "My boyfriend 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 started sharing her body-hair-positive images on Instagram and now says that she feels more beautiful and confident than ever.
She added: "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."
"I have struggled for so long, and I think if I knew earlier on that it was ok to stop shaving then it would have helped a lot. 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."
Finally, she had some advice for other women who feel insecure about their body hair. She said: "I think if we were raised with more natural women in the media and advertisements then we would be able to accept ourselves more. So hopefully seeing my story will help inspire others."
The mother continued: "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."