What is up with those mysterious chin hairs that many of us get?

IFC Films / HBO Films

You know the moment: You’re sitting at your desk when you absent-mindedly brush your finger against your chin. Suddenly, you feel something coarse. You may ask yourself, “Is it a splinter? Am I actually a porcupine?” That’s when you realize — it’s a chin hair.

If you talk with your friends about your new discovery, chances are, they’ve had the same one. These little suckers seem to come out of nowhere, even for women who generally aren’t hairy. Of course, there are many ladies who don’t give a shit about a little chin hair and some can even rock a full beard and look glam AF. Others want to stop those wild hairs dead in their tracks.

If you’re dying to know exactly WHAT the deal is with the rogue hairs on your chinny chin chin, you’ve come to the right place.

screamqueens
Fox

What causes chin hair to grow on women?

“Facial hair is normal in some ethnicities, but patches of thicker hair may may be observed in some women who have elevated levels of testosterone, leading to a more masculine hair pattern,” Dr. Michael H. Swann of Swann Dermatology tells HelloGiggles. He advises that if you experience these kinds of changes, you should discuss them with a dermatologist.      

Why do some women develop chin hair at a certain age?

“Fluctuations in hormone levels which happens commonly in female adults after pregnancy or around menopause,” says Dr. Swann. Even if you’re not nearing menopause or have never been pregnant, hormone changes can definitely occur as a woman gets older. This explains why your new chin hair, which you’ve nicknamed “Jeff,” probably wasn’t there a year ago.

Why does this hair appear to be thicker than normal?

“Hair thickness is hormone-dependent,” Dr. Swann explains. “Thicker hairs may be under the influence of more testosterone.”

Do genetics have anything to do with it?

As Dr. Swann mentioned earlier, some ethnicities are more prone to female facial hair as well as also increased testosterone.

samnthawho
ABC

What’s the best way to get rid of chin hair?

Dr. Swann says laser hair reduction works extremely well. “Sometimes thicker hairs are seen in conjunction with adult female acne and we see great benefits using Spironolactone, which has an anti-testosterone effect on their acne and hair,” he says. “Changing your oral contraceptive to lower the dose can lessen the testosterone in your body that is converted from other hormones.”

Who shouldn’t people get rid of hairs by plucking with a tweezer?

Dr Swann says: “Plucking hairs actually pulls them out of the root structure, which causes two problems: The first is that plucking causes inflammation and damage to the follicle, which can look like a pimple. The second issue is that when you pull a hair, the new hair that is formed is so short, it takes some time to emerge from the hair follicle, but often the tip of the hair can irritate the hair follicle and cause inflammation because it pokes into the sides of the follicle as it grows. This is even more common when hairs are thicker or coarse and if hairs are curly (more prone to poke into the side of the follicle) or if follicles/pores are bent.”

He also says exfoliating the dead layer of skin also can help because it functionally shortens the follicle and keeps the pore (where the follicle opens) more open.

There are mixed opinions out there when it comes to shaving the face. What is the final word on that?

“Shaving is fine. It doesn’t make hairs grow larger or thicker. Those are tall tales!” he says.

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