Excess facial hair is a nightmare, and no woman wants to think about it more than she has to. Luckily, hirsutism (excessive body hair on body parts where hair is normally absent or minimal, such as on the chin or chest) is a condition easily dealt with by a wax job, but experts say its appearance might not actually be completely benign. Here are five reasons that might be behind the appearance of excess chin hair on women.
1. Changes in hormone production
It could be caused by puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, but in any case, hormonal changes can dramatically alter the appearance of a person. Most frequently, hirsutism caused by hormonal changes is not permanent, but in some cases, such as those of menopausal women, Hormone Replacement Therapy can be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms.
2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Women who suffer from PCOS – a syndrome which, among other things, affects the balance of the so called ‘sex hormones’ estrogen and progesterone – have also been known to battle with excess facial hair. A specialized low-dairy diet tailored to PCOS patients has been known to help in such cases.
3. Cushing Syndrome
The Cushing syndrome happens when cortisol, the blood pressure-regulating hormone found in your adrenal glands, is being produced at very high levels. In such cases, excess body hair is a minor symptom of an otherwise potentially serious condition.
Fortunately, in many cases, high cortisol levels can be kept at bay by either medication, surgery, or radiation treatments.
Source: Monik Markus via Flickr
Believe it or not, even something as widely-used as the birth control pill can be behind the emergence of excess body hair, particularly on the chin. Aside from oral contraceptives, steroids have also been known to be the cause of this problem.
If patients are not found to have hormonal imbalances (i.e. they get regular menstrual cycles), and they have not been diagnosed with Cushing syndrome or PCOS, genetics is the most likely cause for excess facial hair.
As it turns out, race may also play a factor in whether or not a woman’s hirsutism is inherited. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, women of European, Middle Eastern, and South Asian ancestry are more likely to develop the condition.
Talk to your doctor
Although in most cases extra chin hair does not necessarily point to health problems, it’s important to let your doctor know about it, especially if it’s severe or has developed quickly (over the course of 1-2 years).