Rose Geil

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As I scrolled through Cosmopolitan‘s website this morning, I did a double take when I came across the photo of Rose Geil. The 39-year-old Portland native has a beard that would catch the attention and interest of any pognophile. Yes, Geil is a bearded lady, and she’s never been more comfortable in her skin.

“My skin was just torn up,” Geil told the hosts of the British talk show This Morning. “I really couldn’t handle putting a metal blade to my skin one more day. Once I realized that I could give myself permission to experiment with that, it got a little bit easier every day. So the rewards of not having that physical discomfort encouraged me to keep it up a little bit longer.”

As Geil recounted in her interview, she had been dealing with excessive facial hair since she was about 13 and spent 20 years shaving all of the time to hide it.

“My full personality was never present,” Geil said. “Instead of facing ridicule, I hid. I didn’t participate fully in school as a young child — even going to class on a regular basis was difficult for me. I was wearing things with high necks and long sleeves to hide my issue.”

It took social media and seeing other women proudly wearing beards for Geil to finally feel comfortable enough to forgo shaving and just be. Full beard and all. And despite what some would think, her facial hair has reaped positive attention both from individuals all over social media, and men.

“Oh yeah, that’s not too surprising,” Geil said of the opposite sex taking notice. “There are all kinds of people in the world attracted to all kinds of things, so I wasn’t too surprised when I started getting lots of attention.”

And you thought that light fuzz above your lip was worth fussing over.

But in all seriousness, Geil’s story is important to share as it puts the spotlight on polycystic ovarian syndrome. So what do you know about it, and what should you know about it?

The endocrine disorder, according to the National Library of Medicine, comes about due to hormone level changes (modifications impacting your estrogen, progesterone, and androgen–the latter can be found in some women) that can keep ovaries from releasing mature eggs.

A diagnosis that can impact teens but usually affects women in their 20s and 30s, PCOS can cause infertility, prolonged or spotty menstrual cycles, obesity, severe acne, skin tags, pelvic pain, anxiety, depression, sleep apnea, and in Geil’s case, excessive hair growth on the face–according to the PCOS Awareness Association.

But according to the Mayo Clinic, being diagnosed early and receiving treatment, along with proper weight loss (with the help of a low-carb diet) can help you reduce the chances of dealing with long-term complications that can come about, including adult onset diabetes and heart disease.

So, if you find yourself dealing with excess hair, especially on your face, acne that doesn’t seem to decrease despite treatments, a period that seems to come and go irregularly, or you deal with fertility issues, you should seek out a physician to be evaluated for PCOS.

With all that stated, and knowing that PCOS is behind Geil’s beard, I can’t help but ask: Do you think you would also forgo the constant shaving and embrace the facial hair? It’s so easy to be shocked by her look and say “No!” However, if that hair just kept coming, in Geil’s case, why be a slave to the razor forever?

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