Kinky long chin hair: It’s not a facial feature that most women welcome, but it’s a reality for many people, especially as they age. Indeed, in a memorable and relatable moment of television, talk show host Rosie O’Donnell once Chin hair is very long She was able to put a little pill on it.
O’Donnell’s candor should be respected, but when those random chin hairs appear seemingly out of nowhere, it’s only natural to wonder why they happened in the first place — and what you can do about them. We asked endocrinologists and dermatologists to share everything you need to know.
Blame your hormones
doctor. Anna KosselEndocrinologist at Mount Sinai Health System In New York City, it is said that when women’s hair grows in a pattern and thickness similar to that of men, it is called Hairiness. As we age and enter menopause, our hormones begin to shift, and when that happens, hair may sprout where it wasn’t there before.
“All women have both estrogen and testosterone, but in our reproductive years we tend to have more estrogen than testosterone and that balances out the side effects of the testosterone,” Cosell said. “As we age, there is a greater imbalance, where estrogen disappears but testosterone production remains, making androgens more potent and leading to side effects like chin hair.”
As a board certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michelle Green Explained, androgens—a group of hormones that includes testosterone—interact with hair follicles and stimulate them to produce terminal hair, or longer, thicker, deeper hair. Like beard hair. As a woman’s body produces less estrogen and testosterone becomes dominant, facial hair likely to germinate.
Of course, this does not happen to everyone. Whether or not you get that long chin hair comes down to your genetics.
“Hair follicles are unique, and their sensitivity to androgens varies from individual to individual,” Green said. “A person is more likely to develop chin hair if other women in their family also have chin hair.”
Kozel noted that while a little chin hair here and there in older women is normal, it should be minimal. If you notice a large growth, you should see a doctor for a blood test, and possibly a pelvic ultrasound.
What about facial hair in young women?
Of course, beard hair is not limited to postmenopausal women. Women of childbearing age get facial hair, too, and Kausel said if this happens, you may want to see your doctor. “Having chin hair could mean that your androgens (male hormones) are elevated,” she said. “Androgen elevation comes from the ovaries (polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, being the most common cause) or, less often, from the adrenal glands.”
Kausel said PCOS is a common and treatable condition caused by ovarian cysts that overproduce androgens, so a person’s cycle, ovulation, and fertility can all be affected. “You may have other problems, too, caused by high androgens, such as acne, hair loss, and hirsutism. PCOS can also have metabolic manifestations with weight gain, insulin resistance, and a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”
There’s also a genetic condition, like congenital adrenal hyperplasia, that can be late onset and affect facial hair growth, Green said.
“Another condition that can cause sudden hair growth is Cushing’s disease, in which the body produces too much cortisol, which causes androgen levels to rise,” she said. Cushing’s disease is also associated with weight gain, headaches, and blood sugar problems.
Long story short: If you’re perimenopausal and have facial hair, especially if it occurs suddenly, see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
What do you do about the hair on your chin?
While some of us are happy to accessorize our chin hair with beads, others may want to ditch it. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do if that’s the case, Green said.
“Laser hair removal It is a suitable option for removing excess, unwanted hair,” Green said. “The laser emits a specific wavelength that targets the hair follicle’s pigment, or melanin. With current advances in technology, lasers can safely treat all skin tones and hair colors except gray and white, which do not contain melanin until the laser detects it.”
Furthermore, “electrolysis is a great permanent hair removal option that works for both gray and white hair,” she points out. “During electrolysis, an electric current is delivered to the bottom of the follicle, which destroys the root and damages the follicle to prevent hair growth.”
The doctor may also prescribe anti-androgen medications such as: spironolactone To target excess androgens and prevent more beard or other unusual hair growth, Green said.
“Over-the-counter hair removal creams can be used at home to dissolve hair as well, but these products tend to be irritating and can burn skin if not used properly,” she said. “There are prescription eflornithine creams that reduce hair growth, and this cream is a good option for unwanted hair on a small, targeted area.”
Finally, while you might be tempted to pluck your chin, Green strongly advises against it. “Tweezing plucking is not the preferred method of hair removal, as it can damage the skin and cause ingrown hairs and folliculitis,” she said.
New long chin hair can be annoying, but it’s often nothing to worry about. And if they’re really bothering you, there’s only so much you can do to treat them — so don’t be afraid to chat with your doctor or dermatologist about any concerns you may have about ingrown hairs.