Rose Geil used to hide her excess facial hair, but ditched the razor nine months ago

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June 15, 2016 01:25 PM

After decades of hiding behind her razor, Rose Geil is letting her beard grow freely.

The 39-year-old from Portland first started seeing excess hair on her face when she hit puberty. Not long after, Geil started shaving daily to hide it.

She and her parents tried everything to stop the coarse hair from growing. Doctors recommended various treatments, including laser therapy and medication, but neither worked.

“They ran a few tests, and came to some conclusions that medications might help, so we tried for probably a year to manage my hair growth with medications but it really wasn’t effective,” Geil explains on the British talk show This Morning.

Eventually, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, a hormonal disorder.

Geil says it made her life growing up difficult.

“It mostly affected my social life, I don’t feel like my full personality was ever present, and instead of facing ridicule, I hid,” she says. “I didn’t participate fully in school as a young child. Even going to class on a regular basis was difficult for me. I suffered all around.”

Nine months ago, after 26 years of cutting her beard each day, Geil decided enough was enough.

“First [I stopped] out of a physical need – my skin was just torn up, and I really couldn’t handle putting a metal blade to my skin just one more day,” she says. “And 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.”

Geil says the support of online friends made the transition bearable.

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“I wouldn’t be able to do that without social media,” she says. “I found my community right away. Even before I let my beard grow, I was following certain accounts that were run by bearded women or just people in general who didn’t conform to a conventional look, or gender roles even. Just looking for inspiration, it’s there, it’s a beautiful thing.”

She is also getting increased attention from men.

“There are all kinds of people in the world who are attracted to all kinds of things,” Geil says. “So I wasn’t too surprised when I started getting lots of attention.”

Thinking back on the 26 years she spent carefully hiding her beard, Geil has some regrets, but is happy to be free now.

“I think about that – the years of heartache and anguish I could’ve spared myself – but I can’t say that for certain,” she says. “And all I can say is I was ready now, so now’s the time to do it.”

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