The discovery of the odd hair on your chin is perfectly normal and usually not a cause for concern. Shifting hormones, aging, and even genetics could be behind a few chin hairs that stand out. For that, there are simple and efficient ways to remove them if you don’t want them.

If you’re an adult who is getting more than just a few hairs that are coarser than others, or if you’ve noticed a sudden increase in facial hair, it’s time to see a doctor. Excess coarse facial hair in women could be a sign of a medical condition that requires treatments.

What causes chin hairs?

Everyone has hair on their chin and this is perfectly normal. We all have vellus follicles that produce very fine, tiny light-colored hair that is often referred to as “peach fuzz”. Vellus hair serves a purpose, which is to help regulate our body temperature.

During puberty, increased production of the hormone androgen causes these follicles to become bigger and begins making terminal hair, which is longer, coarser, and darker. Everyone’s body produces androgen, but males have higher levels, which is why men usually have more terminal hairs than women.

Your hormone levels shift periodically and throughout your lifetime because of aging, weight gain, and other factors, including pregnancy and menopause.

Even a slight increase in androgen or imbalance between your male and female sex hormones — which everyone has — can result in more terminal hairs in places you may not expect, like your chin.

There are a number of factors at play when it comes to facial hair. Some facial hair is normal and harmless, while some can be a sign of an underlying medical issue. In most cases, chin hairs are normal.

Getting rid of an unwanted chin hair

There’s not much you can do to stop chin hairs from growing — they’re just a part of being human. You do, however, have many options for removing random chin hairs if they bother you.

Options for getting rid of chin hair include:

  • tweezing
  • shaving
  • waxing at home or by a professional
  • professional threading
  • professional sugaring
  • laser hair removal
  • electrolysis

A couple of stray chin hairs can be easily plucked out with tweezers. Shaving is another fast and easy way to remove chin hairs. The downside to shaving is that you’ll likely have to do it more often and regrowth appears coarser.

Contrary to popular belief, your hair doesn’t actually grow in thicker — it just appears that way because the tips of the hairs are blunt rather than tapered after shaving.

When a chin hair is a health flag

There are times when chin hair is a red flag that something may be going on with your health. Excessive chin or facial hair, or suddenly increased growth in hair on any part of the face, may be a sign of a condition called hypertrichosis. The type of hypertrichosis specific to women is called hirsutism.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, hirsutism is common and affects 5 to 10 percent of women of childbearing age. It can cause dark, coarse hair growth on the chin, upper lip, chest, abdomen, and back.

Though the exact cause of hirsutism is not always known, it can also be caused by several medical conditions.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is the leading cause of hirsutism. This common condition affects as many as 12 percentTrusted Source of U.S. women of childbearing age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s characterized by a group of symptoms that affect the ovaries, including:

  • tiny cysts in the ovaries
  • high levels of androgen and other male hormones
  • irregular or missed periods

Along with excessive or unwanted hair, people with PCOS often also experience:

  • weight gain
  • heavy periods
  • acne
  • headaches
  • skin tags
  • dark patches in skin creases

Cushing syndrome

Cushing syndrome results from your body being exposed to high levels of the hormone cortisol for a prolonged period. It can happen if you take corticosteroids for a long time or if your body produces too much cortisol.

Females with Cushing syndrome often grow excess facial hair and have irregular periods. A fatty hump between the shoulders, purple stretch marks, and a rounded face are other common signs of the condition.

Non-classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia (NCAH)

NCAH is a milder form of a genetic condition known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) that occurs later in life. The condition is very rare and doesn’t always cause symptoms. Women who do have symptoms experience those related to excess androgen, such as:

Androgen-secreting tumor

Androgen-secreting tumors of the ovaries or adrenal glands are rare and account for just 0.2 percent of cases of hirsutism in women. The excess hair caused by these types of tumors usually grows suddenly and continues to grow even with medical treatment.

The excess hair may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, such as:

When to see a doctor

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should see your doctor if you experience an increased growth of facial or body hair over a short period of time.

Hair growth that is accompanied by other symptoms, such as severe acne, a change in your voice, or irregular periods should also be evaluated by a doctor.

A dermatologist can look at your chin hair and determine if you should be screened for PCOS or other medical conditions based on your appearance and other symptoms.

The takeaway

Having some hair on your chin is perfectly normal and usually a cosmetic concern more than a medical one. Chin hair can be removed safely using a number of at-home and professional methods, if you choose to do so.

If you have a lot of hair on your chin or experience increased hair growth suddenly, it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. Excess body hair in unusual places or chin hair that’s accompanied by other symptoms should prompt a visit to your doctor to find the cause.