Chin hairs: How to stop them

Dr. Janet Zand

November 5, 2021
 
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Most women over 30 know what this is like...

We’re at the bathroom sink, doing our normal skin-care routine, when we feel it: a stray (and course) chin hair.

Ugh, where’d that come from?! And while a stray hair is nothing a pair of tweezers can’t take care of, it seems to grow back so quickly. 

So what’s going on? Why do these hairs suddenly appear? And most importantly, what’s the best way to make them stop?

Why chin hairs appear in women

Chin hairs are typically due to hormonal changes. Specifically, testosterone.

Testosterone is a sex hormone that’s naturally more predominant in men than women, but women have it, too. It’s actually an important hormone for women, helping to produce new blood cells, maintain bone health, and maintain libido.

However, if our testosterone level increases (relative to our estrogen level), one of the side effects is unwanted hair growth.

So why would your testosterone level change?

Well, one of the most common causes is menopause. But with menopause, your body isn’t producing more testosterone, it’s just producing less estrogen. So the balance of the two hormones changes. And even a slight change in your hormone balance can cause hair to grow in unexpected places, like your chin.

So the good news is that those chin hairs are normal, and they happen to everyone. (But that doesn’t mean you have to live with them, and we’ll talk about the best way to get rid of them in just a moment.)

Now, if you have chin hair that’s accompanied by other symptoms, you should see your doctor.

That’s because there can be more serious causes for chin hair, such as Cushing syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (a genetic condition), and an androgen-secreting tumor. These tumors — while very rare — produce excess testosterone and can even cause deepening of the voice.

Another common cause of higher testosterone in women is PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Women with PCOS have more male sex hormones, which results in facial hair growth.

So... assuming you’ve ruled out serious issues and we’re just talking about some random chin hairs, let’s talk about the options for getting rid of them...

Your options

First, let’s quickly dispel a very common myth: Removing these hairs will NOT cause more hairs to spring up in their place! There’s simply no way that removing a hair can create a brand new hair elsewhere on your skin.

Now, you’re probably familiar with the most popular hair removal methods, like shaving with a small facial or eyebrow razor, tweezing, threading, depilatory creams, and waxing. But when it comes to chin hair, is one method better than another?

Well, in general, it comes down to your skin sensitivity more than anything else. If your skin is sensitive, you should choose a less abrasive method, like shaving, tweezing, or threading. If your skin isn’t sensitive, you may be able to use depilatory creams or wax.

However, as you know, these methods are all temporary. And this is especially true for hair on your chin. That’s because the hair on your chin is caused by hormonal changes, and hormone-driven hair tends to come back quicker than other hair. Sometimes as often as every two weeks.

So if you want a longer-lasting solution, then consider a professional treatment...

The gold standard in hair removal

The longest-lasting solution is laser hair removal.

Lasers work by targeting and heating the hair follicle, killing it and preventing regrowth. It can take three to five sessions for lasting results, and it’s important to choose your dermatologist carefully.

And only go to a dermatologist — not a spa! Using the wrong laser wavelength or technique can cause heat damage, which will damage your skin. So you want an expert to do this.

If you’re concerned about pain, ask your doctor about newer lasers like the Motus AX, which is highly effective and pain-free. One patient said it felt like an “ice cool glass comfortably running up and down the skin.”

Finally, while laser is the longest-lasting hair removal option, you’ll need touch-ups every year or so. That’s because with hormone-driven hair, you can get brand new follicles that weren’t there before. And then those follicles will need to be treated with a laser, too.

The takeaway

Having some hair on your chin is perfectly normal, and usually a cosmetic concern more than a medical one. Chin hair can be removed safely using a number of at-home and professional methods, if you choose to do so.

 

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