We all know that moment when you (or a friend) has an inch of coarse hair sticking out of your chin.
It feels like the rogue chin imposter appeared out of nowhere, and it did so overnight!
And it may not end at your chin. They can appear suddenly on the side of your face, your nose, and even your nipple.
But don’t worry, you are not alone. It’s perfectly normal to have the odd black, wiry hair pop up in the same place over and over again.
And while it’s likely to surprise you every time, a quick swipe is all it takes and the culprit should be gone… for another month or so.
However, if you notice more than one or two unwanted chin intruders, it could indicate an underlying medical condition.
Where are these chin invaders coming from?
The amount of facial hair you wear often depends on your genetics, age, and hormones, according to Healthline.
Testosterone is commonly known as the male sex hormone, but everyone has it – women just tend to produce lower levels. This hormone has a lot to do with controlling hair growth.
You may notice that your hair growth pattern – including on your face – changes throughout your life due to a number of factors, beginning with puberty, then pregnancy and menopause.
Changes in hormone levels are often the cause.
When could it be a sign of an underlying condition?
It’s important to remember that unruly hair on your chin, neck, upper lip, and face is not a cause for concern or embarrassment.
If you develop dark hair on your face, neck, chest and abdomen, lower back, buttocks or thighs, it may be something called hirsutism.
According to NHS guidelines, hirsutism is related to androgen hormones and can be triggered when levels of these hormones rise or your body becomes more sensitive to them.
Sudden changes in facial hair pattern could mean your body is sending a signal that something has changed, Healthline said.
There are a number of health conditions that can lead to a shift in your hormone levels, or hormonal imbalance.
Excessive hair growth could also be a side effect of medications such as anabolic steroids – drugs manufactured to mimic the action of the male hormone testosterone.
2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a common cause of excess body hair, but it can also lead to irregular periods, weight gain, acne, thinning hair and scalp hair loss, and difficulty conceiving.
Women with PCOS tend to have high levels of androgen hormones in their bodies, which can cause extra hair to grow on their face or body.
Your ovaries may also develop fluid-filled sacs.
Not everyone with PCOS will experience symptoms, but the condition is believed to be very common – the NHS estimates that one in ten women in the UK has it.
3. Adrenal gland problems
According to Healthline, adrenal problems, sometimes caused by tumors and leading to excess androgen production, can lead to a deeper voice, facial hair and weight gain.
4. Late onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)
This is a group of inherited disorders that affect the adrenal glands and can also lead to excess body and facial hair.
5. Cushing’s Syndrome
Cushing’s syndrome is rare, according to the NHS, and mostly affects people who have been on steroid medication, particularly steroid tablets, for a long time.
In rare cases, however, the cause can be that the body produces too much cortisol.
It can lead to fat accumulation in the chest and abdomen and a swollen face, among other things.
Medications such as anabolic steroids, testosterone, and ciclosporin can increase facial hair as a side effect.
When do I need to see a doctor about my chin hair?
You should speak to a GP if you notice any of the following:
- sudden unusual growth of hair on your face, chin, stomach or other parts of your body, a deeper voice or sudden weight gain
- Changes in your period – getting heavier, lighter, or stopping
- thinning hair
They look at what’s causing your hair growth and may do a blood test to see if your hormone levels are affecting hair growth.
It is up to you whether you decide to have your chin hair removed.
However, if your extra follicles make you uncomfortable, there are several options available to you.
- Laser hair removal
- prescription cream hair remover
- According to Healthline, it’s a myth that shaving makes your facial hair grow back thicker
- depilatory creams