Can You Actually Prevent Chin Hairs?

Imagine the scenario: you spent hours selecting your outfit, perfecting your makeup, and picking matching accessories so you can look and feel your best. But when you glance at yourself in the mirror just before walking out the door, you see a horrific sight — three long chin hairs that can be spotted a mile away. It's a situation in which many of us have found ourselves.

A study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research noted that women who lived with unwanted facial hair spent around 104 minutes per week on average removing and maintaining it. These same women also reported high levels of anxiety and depression, with 40% of them feeling uncomfortable in social situations, and though their overall quality of life was unaffected, they scored low in the sphere of social and relationship-related happiness, thus highlighting the negative impact of unwanted facial hair.

Dr. Joel L. Cohen, a dermatologist and the director of AboutSkin Dermatology and DermSurgery in Denver, told The New York Times that growing new, unwanted chin hairs "is perfectly normal. Most women have hair on the chin, but the amount of facial hair depends on your genetics and age." According to him, the growth of hair follicles can be affected due to hormonal shifts at times like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. But in rare cases, excess hair growth may also signal a medical condition that requires treatment.

How can you stop the growth of chin hair?

If you want to get rid of hair on your chin, you can try temporary hair removal methods like threading (removing hair from the root by using a twisted thread), waxing or sugaring (applying hot and sticky wax or sugar to pull the hair from the root), tweezing (pulling the hair with the use of a tweezer), shaving (using a razor to remove the hair), bleaching (lightening the color of the hair so it looks less evident on the face), and using depilatory creams (products that dissolve the hair under the skin's surface). These temporary methods, however, need to be repeated frequently as they don't keep the hair away for very long.

Semi-permanent methods like laser hair removal get rid of unwanted facial hair by targeting the melanin in the skin which makes the hair look dark on a light base tone. Though this method prevents the hair from coming back quickly, results are not permanent, and the treatment can be expensive as well as painful. Removing the hair through electrolysis, or the use of an electric current, is another option. However, this is also expensive and can cause discomfort during the treatment and swelling and tenderness afterward.

If none of these methods work for you or your hair growth seems excessive, do not hesitate to contact your doctor who may recommend prescription and non-prescription drugs to treat the root cause of the problem, and always know that you don't need to be worried about a few chin hairs as you age.

What causes growth of chin hair?

Apart from the effect of genetics and age, "menopausal women may experience more hair on their chin and other parts of the face and neck because their bodies are producing less estrogen," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melanie Palm tells Byrdie. "This throws off the ratio of estrogen to testosterone in the body, which can cause facial hair growth, among other symptoms. Studies also show varying androgen (testosterone) levels in different ethnicities, which can result in more or less facial and body hair," she adds, highlighting that facial hair is often determined by whether it runs in the family or not.

Excessive facial hair growth can also be triggered by hormonal imbalances caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). A surplus of male hormones can lead to hirsutism, a common endocrine disorder where excessive hair growth can be seen on the face as well as on other parts of the body.

However, hormonal imbalances aren't the only cause of excessive hair growth on the face. Hypertrichosis denotes the growth of excess hair due to other underlying health conditions or possible side effects of medications such as anabolic steroids, as well as certain kinds of chemotherapy and treatments for epilepsy.