A 27-year-old woman whose condition caused her to grow a beard has decided to ditch waxing and shaving and embrace her excess facial hair.
Alma Torres from Bronx, New York developed PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) when she was 15 years old. But after years of waxing, shaving, and bleaching, she finally decided to accept her facial hair and grow a full beard.
She is now sharing her story to inspire others who have the same hormone condition.
Alma says negativity from other people no longer affects her as she has already learnt to love her body.
“I learnt to embrace what I couldn’t change. That’s my favorite quote – it’s the one I live by,” she expressed.
PCOS is a condition that affects how ovaries work. Its symptoms include weight gain, ovary pain, irregular periods, and excess hair growth. In some cases, in can result in infertility.
“I had never really noticed how people would make fun of my facial hair, until a guidance counsellor at school asked me if it bothered me – and suddenly I realized how many people would stare and whisper,” Alma shared.
“That changed everything for me. I shaved for the first time when I was 16, before my eighth-grade prom, and I continued to try to get rid of the hair for the next eight years.”
Alma tried everything to remove her excess facial hair – from waxing, bleaching, shaving, and even laser hair removal. She was 18 when she was finally diagnosed with PCOS.
“When I was about 19, about a year after my diagnosis, I became an advocate for myself, because I had to,” she shared.
“I really struggled to start with, and every time I would try to grow my beard out I would end up running to shave it off after a few days.”
Alma then found a PCOS advocate on social media who shows off her own beard with pride to over 150,000 followers.
“I saw Harnaam with a full beard and she wasn’t ashamed of it,” Alma said. “I remember thinking, ‘She doesn’t care – if she can do it, surely I can too!’”
That’s when she decided to ditch lasers, wax strips, razors and bleach, and let her beard grow out naturally.
“At first, people would make cruel comments and it would really bring me down. I’d get very self-conscious when I would catch people taking pictures of me while they thought I wasn’t looking.
“Now, I still get people taking pictures when I’m out and about, but it doesn’t bother me at all.”
She added: “I just want to help people to understand that all our bodies are different, and you don’t need to change it – just learn to love yourself and accept it.
“That confidence is not something you can build overnight, it took me years to get to this point! But you just have to take it one day at a time and believe in yourself.
“Now, I’m more confident with my beard than I ever was without. Learning to accept my beard has been, without a doubt, the best thing I’ve ever done.”
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