Why do women grow chin hair as they age?

Q: Why do women grow chin hair as they age – and what’s the best way to remove it so that it doesn’t grow back darker and thicker?

A: If you are a woman who is growing new chin hair, the first thing you need to know is that most of the time, “it’s perfectly normal,” said Dr. Joel L. Cohen, dermatologist and director of AboutSkin Dermatology. and DermSurgery in Denver.

As women approach menopause, he said, the balance of hormones in their bodies shifts and they can start to produce more male-like hormones called androgens. Androgens, Cohen said, can turn the types of hair follicles that women typically have on their faces – those that produce short, thin, light hair called peach fluff – into follicles that make hair thicker and darker.

As to why some women grow these hairs and others don’t, it’s often down to genetics, said Dr. Angela Lamb, a certified dermatologist at Mount Sinai in New York City. If you grow unwanted hair and your mom, sister or grandmother does too, it is a sign that this type of hair growth is present in the family.

As to why some women grow these hairs and others don’t, it’s often down to genetics, said Dr. Angela Lamb, a certified dermatologist at Mount Sinai in New York City. (Aileen Son / The New York Times)

How to remove them

There are many safe ways to remove unwanted facial hair, including waxing, waxing, threading, shaving, and using depilatory creams. If you are worried that any of these techniques will cause your hair to grow back thicker, you can relax on this forehead.

“It’s a myth,” Lamb said. In fact, the opposite can even happen: waxing, waxing or threading can reduce hair growth, as some hair follicles are damaged by the hair removal process and stop producing hair, a- she declared.

Another way to control the growth of unwanted hair is by using a prescription cream called Vaniqa, which makes hair grow slower, thinner, and possibly lighter in color when applied twice a day. But the cream only works as long as it is used; once you stop applying it, the hair will grow back as before, Lamb said.

If you want to permanently remove chin hair, you can consider laser hair removal or electrolysis, Lamb said, both of which work by damaging the hair follicle so that it stops producing hair.

When unusual hair growth is a concern

If you notice more body hair than usual and it appears not only on your face, but also on your chest, lower abdomen, inner thighs, or back, you may want to see a doctor. This type of excessive hair growth, called hirsutism, can be caused by genetics or as a side effect of certain medications. In many cases, this is nothing to worry about. But hirsutism can also be a symptom of another medical condition that requires treatment, Lamb said.

One condition that can cause hirsutism is polycystic ovary syndrome, so called because small cysts develop in the ovaries. Cysts lead to increased androgen production, promoting hair growth, Cohen explained, resulting in thicker, darker hair. Other symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, weight gain, and acne. It’s important for women with symptoms of PCOS to see a doctor, Lamb said, because left untreated can lead to infertility. Usually, PCOS is treated with lifestyle changes and medications, which could include birth control, progestin therapy, or metformin, a diabetes medication.

Long-term use of corticosteroids, which are used to treat certain autoimmune diseases as well as asthma, can also lead to changes in hair growth patterns, including overgrowth, Cohen said. This is because they too stimulate the production of androgens in the body.

Usually, however, growing extra hair is nothing to worry about, and it is common.

“People ask me about this all the time,” Lamb said.

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