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The Reason You're Starting To Sprout Chin Hairs

And what you may be able to do to get rid of them.

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illustration of woman getting chin hair removed by several people
Kruttika Susarla
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We’d love to tell you not to panic the first time you see a rogue chin or neck hair, but we’d be lying if we said we were cool, calm and collected when it happened to us. We won’t go into details, but let’s just say that we were the opposite of cool, calm and collected.

Yes, we know it happens to tons of women. One study found that 39 percent of women started growing some facial hair during menopause, with the chin being the most frequent site for new growth. Fab. But even if it happens to essentially four out of 10 women as they age, it doesn’t seem to make it any better when you see a stray hair on your actual face. What should you do? If you pluck it, will 10 more come back for revenge? Will you sprout a beard next month? And why, oh why, is your body doing this to you? We’ve got all the answers.

When can you expect to see random hairs? They typically start appearing after age 40, says Dr. Anju Methil, a dermatologist and medical consultant with ClinicSpots. My hair sprouted right on schedule on my neck — a single one. I keep plucking it, but like me, it’s a stubborn little dude, and it keeps returning. When I was 40, my hair was brown. Now that I’m 43, it’s white.

Why is this happening? Once again, the blame falls on hormones with a side of genetics. When you’re going through menopause — or even starting to get ready for menopause, your estrogen levels drop, and your testosterone increases. Dr. Methil says testosterone stimulates the production of androgens, which can lead to increased facial hair growth. Then, genetics plays a role in determining how much facial hair (and hair in general) you’ll have. Other factors, such as medications, health conditions and pregnancy can also play a part.

What’s the best way to get this hair off my face? If you’ve got a hair or three, tweezing or threading it is perfectly fine (it’s a myth that hair grows back thicker or faster after plucking or shaving). But if you have sensitive skin or more than a couple of stray hairs that you’re trying to tweeze, you could end up with inflammation and even scarring when you pluck your hair because you’re disturbing a layer of tissue called your epithelium. A better alternative — especially if you have a patch of facial hair — is to use laser hair removal or electrolysis. These are more permanent solutions that don’t typically result in any inflammation or infection. They do come at a cost, literally. Depending on the size of the area, your skin type and location, the treatment could cost up to $1,500, which will take a few months or up to a year.

How do I prevent these from returning? There are a few ways to get rid of the hair for good (though we’re a little disappointed that there aren’t better options). Lasers and electrolysis are more permanent hair removal solutions, says Dr. Anna Chacon, a dermatologist. Or you could ask your dermatologists about Eflornithine cream, a prescription cream that will prevent facial hair from growing. It’s specifically designed to slow the growth of facial hair for women and takes one-to-two months to show improvement, though you can remove the hair while you’re waiting for it to work. Some medications, such as hormonal birth control or hormone replacement therapy, can regulate your hormone levels and reduce unwanted facial hair growth, suggests Dr. Ksenia Sobchak, a dermatologist at GlowBar in London. If you’re overweight, shedding some pounds can help you manage your hormone levels, which may affect your facial hair growth as well, adds Dr. Chacon.

Are any of you sprouting chin hairs? Let us know in the comments below. 

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle