Why is there hair growing on my chin?

Stinkie Pinkie on Flickr.comThe other day, a friend of mine told me she had an excellent post idea for Silver & Grace, and I was free to use her story.

Seems my friend was closely examining her face in the mirror (don’t we all), and discovered a very black hair right above her lip. Very noticeable because she’s blond.

To her dismay it was quite long, which made her wonder how long it had been sitting there for all the world to see.

At this point in the story telling, my friend leaned in close to me and whispered:

“And it was really curly … just like a pubic hair!”

When I stopped howling with laughter, I shared a similar story.

One day, I was closely examining my face in the mirror (don’t we all), and tried to brush off an eye lash from my chin. Only it wouldn’t brush off, because the hair was actually growing out of my chin. It was very long, and I also wondered how long it had been sitting there for all the world to see.

I came to the conclusion that it was not there the night before, and that it simply grew that fast. But now I’m even more diligent about closely examining my face in the mirror, because I don’t want to be caught with long hairs dripping off my chin.

Where is this facial hair coming from?

We all have facial hair, but it is fine and basically invisible. Men, on the other hand, have coarser, darker facial hair. The type of facial hair is determined by a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The higher the DHT, the coarser and darker the hair.

A higher estrogen to testosterone ratio keeps the levels of DHT low. However, as our estrogen levels drop in peri-menopause and menopause the DHT levels increase.

Where are these hairs likely to show up?

Stray hairs show up on the chin, like my example, and the moustache area like my friend. As well, the jaw line is quite common. But, they can also grow on the cheeks and forehead.

Can we prevent facial hair growth?

The trick, as with alleviating all menopausal symptoms, is keeping our hormones balanced:

  • limit sugar intake
  • eat lots of veggies, fruits and whole grains
  • get plenty of exercise
  • reduce stress
  • keep weight level within a healthy range

How do we get rid of the hair?

I immediately grabbed the tweezers, as I am sure my friend did. However, it was single hair, and it was a single incident.

For more aggressive hair growth you have the following options:

  • bleach
  • depilatory creams
  • wax
  • creams formulated to reduce DHT production
  • laser treatment
  • electrolysis

You can talk to your doctor about options for keeping your estrogen and progesterone balanced, such as using a topical progesterone cream. You also want to make sure the facial hair is not related to some other factor, such as thyroid disease.

Don’t panic. We aren’t turning into the Bearded Lady. While shocking to discover hair growing where it shouldn’t be, if we maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle, they should just pop up on the rare occasion.

And when they do, they seem to make for some pretty funny stories!

Gracefully yours,

~ Eliza

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Comments

  1. I never understood those old ladies who have mustaches. My grandma had one. (I think everyone has a grandma who had one).

    It’s only a few dozen hairs. For God Sakes, HOW COME you don’t pluck those out?

    Is it because at that age, they just no longer give a shit about their appearance?

    Or maybe it’s a violation of some Double-Secret Probation Old-Lady Code (??)

    Ladies, you tell me.

  2. Every once in a while I’ll notice a long, wiry hair growing out of my neck about ONE INCH long, for crying out loud. The comb-over won’t hide it, so I pluck it while I shudder in disgust! Almost seems as if it’s watching and laughing at me.

    And it comes back,too well… sneaks back, more accurately. I watch for it, checking often in the mirror and, nothing. Then, one day I wake up and there it is! That’s when I wonder how long it’s been there and how many people have seen it. I wonder if that’s why so many ladies wear those pretty neck scarves. :-)

    I use a product call Zain that is made by a friend of mine for her own business. It’s a natural sugaring system and the only product I’ve found that works for me. My “extra” hair is very fine, blond hair and hard to get a grip — ha, ha — but I suppose it’s better than having curly black hair.

    @Friar… I’d blame the family of those elderly ladies with the moustaches. Here’s the thing: either their eyesight is not what it used to be and they don’t see the hair, or they’ve got the shakes and are tired of poking themselves with the tweezers. It’s the responsibility of those youngins to remove the hair. I bet you wish YOU’D thought of that for your grandmother’s sake :-)

  3. @DeepFriar – I can’t say really. My grandmothers were always ‘made up’. They didn’t go to salons and stuff, but they always had their hair done nicely, and their faces ‘powdered’. But then I read Davina’s response to you, and I think she nailed it. Seems it’s all YOUR fault *grin*

  4. @Davina – comb over … you are too funny. Okay, so it’s not just me. These hairs do grow at some mutant speed.

  5. Yes these hairs DO grow at a mutant speed! I was thinking that after I’d commented. Like… how come I don’t see it when it’s at least a half inch? Why does it just magically appear overnight and wave at me in the bathroom breezes? *she shrugs*. If I’d known what this aging thing was like, I would have had more compassion for my mother and grandmother.

  6. Hi Eliza,

    I wondered when you would get to this topic. No wild hairs yet, just a trace of facial fuzz that wasn’t there before. I don’t mind a lot of what happens as we age, but scary hairiness is too weird!

  7. Being olive-skinned, I tan easily. Nevertheless, I often wondered why in the world my upper lip tanned so much more than the rest of my face. …until the moment I was sans contact lenses (all the better for close-up clarity), was looking in the mirror while coincidentally standing in the ray of sunshine that came through the window. OMG, it was a MUSTACHE! And no one had been kind enough to tell me. (Maybe they couldn’t see, either?) Please. It’s akin to have an unzipped zipper. Embarrassing. People, please please please tell us these things! My solution is to periodically stand in the sun with my mirror and tweezers—and have tissues handy for when I sneeze. (Why does tweezing trigger sneezing?)

  8. @Lori – yes, funny eh? I can accept curves that weren’t there before and wrinkles. But facial hair? NOOOO!

  9. @Julie – ‘unzipped zipper ‘ LOL It’s true, eh?

  10. Lillian says:

    Ok, Ladies!
    It’s not just nicely aged women (we are like wine, as they say) who get these hairs…*sigh* here it goes:
    It was a dark and stormy night ;) I’m sitting in the car waiting for my husband to get out of Wal-Mart, trying to pass the time by staring at every pore in the mirror. In our car, the light is really bright, so I can see EVERYTHING. I’m looking at my eyes, a small crease in the corners, not too bad. A little downy light hair over my upper lip, on or two slightly curling over the edge; annoying, but I’d take care of those when I got home with the tweezer. One shallow crease in the forehead…well, I’ve got two boys, that explains that. I’ll put some wrinkle corrector cream on that bitch every night to stop her before she takes over. And then I see it. Who COULDNT? There, underneath my chin, on the bump that is my evil double chin wannabe, a long, THREE INCH *RED* HAIR. Ohhhh my GOSH. How the hell did I miss that? I thought it was part of my hair, (I am a fair skinned, auburn haired lady) so I tried to push it back with the rest of my then-long hair, but it TUGGED it. Hard. That’s when I looked closer, and there is not one, but three! One long one and two short ones next to it…So my husband comes back, gets into the car, looks at my face, and says “what happened!?” I show him the hair, his eyes get big as plates, which is quite a feat for him as he is Native American and has “chinky” eyes, and says, “Holy shit, baby, I thought women only did that when they went through menopause!!” So now I’m freakin the hell out, cause my periods are NOT like clockwork, I want more children, and it’s come back four times since then. AND the hair on my lip? It’s rebelling too. Oh yes. Now I have to wax the little bastards, cause apparently they took offence to me plucking their minnion cousins under my chin. NO ONE in my family has any kind of hair problem. Just me. So my question is to you lovely, more experienced, wise, understanding, humorous and wonderful ladies…should I take estrogen or something? Because I am only 26 years old, with one biological birth under my belt, and no genetic predisposition for this malarky. Thank you for hearing me out,
    Lillian

  11. @Lillian – first of all, your writing style is laugh out loud funny. Love it!!! Might have to get you to write some Silver & Grace stories :) Okay, as for those nasty red facial hairs and irregular periods at the tender age of 26 … there are other reasons for facial hair and irregular periods besides perimenopause and menopause, such as your thyroid being out of whack. I recommend that you book an appointment with a health care professional and discuss your symptoms with him or her. If it is your thyroid, you definitely want to get that back into working order before you experience other complications. Hope this helps, and thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

  12. Could be worse, I once told my boyfriend that he needed to shave his goatee and he said, “I will when you do!”…I wanted to cry of embarassment…it was only one hair then but now I get many and now am thinking about waxing…and yes I eventually married him…lol

  13. OMG @ Lillian, so funny! I was around 20 when my first mutant hair arrived on my chin. Then shortly after, a friend on either side of my face, close to my ‘side burn’ area. I am now 36, and the ones on the side of my face never really amounted to much. They rarely show up, and they are few of them, though I am not certain that there are only ‘the two’. My chin however is a different story… and I do fear becoming the bearded lady… any of you ‘tweezers’ out there ever notice how well these hairs show up when you are out in your car in the daytime looking in the mirror? I like to keep tweezers in the car!

  14. Haha…again, I started this phenomenon in my 20s. My college roomie and I used to joke that you weren't a real woman until you had a hair growing out of your chin. Needless to say, we were "real women". And it's only gotten worse (mom told me it would!) Ah, the joys of being a woman. ;)

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