Hair is a special part of us that makes us unique, just like our skin and eye color. Some of us have more hair than others, including facial hair. A complex interplay of genetics and hormones determines the type, amount, and even how hair grows.
A few random patches of hair appear on the chin and neck, a peach fuzz, which is associated with hormonal changes that occur in our bodies throughout our lives.
Sometimes chin or neck hair is more than irritating. This may be a symptom of an underlying disorder.
Let’s take a closer look at why chin and neck hair occurs and how to manage it.
Why do women develop chin hair?
Hair usually grows under the skin from the root or hair follicle. There are two types of hair follicles.
vellus hair is fine hair like smooth
terminal hair follicles are long, thick, and deeply rooted
Androgens (testosterone), also known as male hormones, play a major role in hair growth. Both men and women produce testosterone; women are just smaller.
Testosterone turns vellus hair into terminal hair by activating receptors in the hair follicle. This is completely normal and happens to everyone, especially during puberty.
Hair growth in women, including facial hair, is affected by certain hormonal phases. Hair growth changes when hormone levels change during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
What about those random hairs?
Most women have pubic hair on their faces, but some have more pointed chins. This can be due to genetics or age. Menopause can stimulate more hair on the chin, neck, and face.
Studies show that different racial groups have different levels of androgens, which can result in body and facial hair.
Each individual’s hair follicles are unique and may respond differently to testosterone. The rate at which hair grows from the follicle also varies. This results in a few random long hairs appearing in random places like the neck. For most people, these random hairs are normal.
When chin hair is a flag of health
A little facial hair is common and normal, including on the chin and upper lip.
Excess body and facial hair in women is called hirsutism. It is more common in people of South Asian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern descent.
The difference between normal facial hair and hirsutism is the color, density, and texture of the hair. Hair becomes thick, thick and dark. This can be caused by virilization or excessive production of androgens.
A sudden change in the pattern of facial hair means that your body is signaling that something has changed. It can signal a hormonal imbalance caused by a medical condition or medication side effect.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This condition affects up to 15 percent of women of reproductive age and is caused by a hormonal imbalance with elevated androgen levels. Usually there is a family history. Many women are unaware that they have PCOS. This disorder can cause facial hair growth, irregular periods, ovarian cysts, weight gain, and acne.
Kidney problems. Adrenal problems caused by tumors that cause excessive androgen production can lead to voice, facial hair, and weight gain.
Late-onset adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). CAH is a genetic disease that affects the adrenal glands.
Cushing’s disease. Cushing’s disease causes excessive production of cortisol. This can cause weight gain, headaches, blood sugar problems, and increased androgen levels.
Medicines. Drugs such as anabolic steroids, testosterone, and cyclosporine (immunosuppressants) can increase facial hair.
TALK TO THE DOCTOR
If you notice:
sudden unusual growth of hair (on the face, chin, abdomen, other parts of the body), deepening of the voice, or sudden weight gain
Menstrual changes (heavy, light, stopped)
Make an appointment to discuss these changes with your doctor. Keep in mind that these are some general symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
Your doctor may order blood tests, ask about your symptoms, and perform other diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Treatment for hirsutism
For hirsutism, treatment may refer to treating the underlying disease, including:
surgery to remove a tumor or cyst
Dietary changes and exercise to balance hormone levels
Medicines to regulate androgen levels, such as:
Metformin for PCOS
Chin hair removal tips
Although chin hair is common, it can be bothersome and uncomfortable for some people.
There are many ways to remove unwanted facial hair.
The options are:
laser hair removal
eflornithine (Vaniqa) is a prescription hair removal cream
shaving (this is a myth that your facial hair will grow thicker)
hair removal cream
Chin and neck hair are normal for most women.
How much facial hair you have depends on your genetics and age. As we age, hair follicles react in a unique way to changes in testosterone levels, causing hair growth.
It is especially associated with hormonal changes during certain periods such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
In rare cases, excessive hair growth can indicate a medical condition that requires treatment, such as PCOS, tumors, or cysts.
If you are concerned about unusual hair growth, make an appointment with your doctor. They may perform blood tests and other diagnostic tests to check your hormone levels and recommend a solution.