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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