Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Is Menopause to Blame for Thick, Dark Chin Hairs?

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I’ve never had a chin hair in my life (beside a little skin fuzz) until I hit 40. Now, it’s like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole every time I pluck one from my chin and jawline. As soon as that one is gone, another one pops up. Not only are these facial hairs relentless, they are thick, dark, spiky and very prominent. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get away from them, but all is not lost as experts say you don’t have to spend countless hours of your life plucking course, dark hairs from your face.

Why do chin and jawline hairs pop up so often?

If I’ve never noticed them before 40, that makes a lot of sense says Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias. “Hormones! Hormone changes as we age can affect hairs including causing persistent thick and dark hairs.”

“I often say to my patients that middle age is that magical time when women and men meet in the middle,” adds Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda Honet, MD. “However, most drastic change is apparent in women, where annoying hairs start growing on the face, especially the chin and mustache areas, less hair occurs on the head, and more breakouts appear on the lower face and periorally.”

Which hormones are out of whack?

In a nutshell, we can blame an increase in testosterone says Briarcliff Manor, NY dermatologist Derek Chan, MD. “Yes, it’s testosterone…a male hormone,” he explains. “It’s present in both men and women. In women, as estrogen decreases as they age, the unopposed testosterone can result in thickened facial hair.” 

“Hormone imbalance can be due to an increase production in androgens or an increase in skin sensitivity to androgens,” says Dallas dermatologist Elizabeth Bahar Houshmand, MD. “Hirsutism, a condition that causes hair growth in this area, is more common in some ethnic groups like: mediterranean, middle-eastern, and hispanic origin.  It has also been seen in up to 10 percent of caucasian women.”

Is plucking them a good idea?

Plucking in the mirror has been a go-to solution, but it doesn’t stop new hairs from popping up says Ann Arbor, MI dermatologist Farhaad Riyaz, MD, and it can be time-consuming. “Other options for removing facial hair include shaving, waxing, or using hair removal creams,” he says. “If the hair growth is bothersome or excessive, it may be a good idea to speak with a dermatologist or other healthcare provider about potential treatment options.”

Why are they so thick?

Dr. Riyaz says the thickness of the hair can be influenced by genetics. “If the hairs are very prominent, and you have excessive hair on other undesirable parts of your body, like the chest or lower back it might be wise to talk to your doctor about getting your hormones tested to rule out something like polycystic, ovary disease, or other such genetic conditions,” adds Ontario, Canada dermatologist Dusan Sajic, MD.

Can you slow the hair growth?

Yes, says Bay Harbor Islands, FL dermatologist Melissa Lazarus, MD who recommends Vaniqua cream. “Oral medications can also slow the hair growth by minimizing testosterone’s effect on the follicles,” notes Washington D.C. dermatologist Lauren Payne, MD.

What treatment works best to stop chin hairs from forming?

Hands down, all of the experts I spoke to said laser hair removal is the answer. “This is the best treatment if the hairs are dark,” says Las Vegas Dermatologist H.L. Greenberg, MD.

“Laser hair removal is a great solution for dark hairs on the chin and neck,” adds Shreveport, LA dermatologist Skylar Souyoul, MD. “If the hairs are white or grey, unfortunately laser hair removal will not work. For those patients, I recommend using a hair-removal cream made specifically for the face.”

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