39-year-old woman Rose Geil is letting her beard grow freely after 26 years of hiding behind the razor.
At age 13, when Geil reached puberty, she began to notice excessive amounts of facial hair. She quickly decided to begin shaving daily in order to hide it. After trying various treatments, laser therapy, and medication, Geil decided nine months ago that she had enough hiding and would let her facial hair grow.
Geil was eventually diagnosed with a hormonal disorder called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The syndrome has made a huge impact on Geil's life and she claimed that growing up with it was extremely difficult.
Geil stated, "It mostly affected my social life, I don't feel like my full personality was ever present, and 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 suffered all around."
When Geil finally stopped shaving and hiding her condition nine months ago it wasn't completely by choice. "First [I stopped] out of 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. And once I realized 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 told This Morning.
While social media can often by cruel, Geil found comfort through others who supported her on her various social media outlets. "I wouldn't be able to do that without social media. 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."
Geil has mentioned having regrets over the past 26 years with shaving her face, but now feels free to happily be who she is.