The Scientist: Jeffrey Benabio, M.D., is a board-certified dermatologist at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.
The Answer: If you have one (or two or more) stubborn dark hairs on your chin, cheek or lip, you’re not alone. It’s common among women of all ages, and particularly after menopause—because they’re a result of hormones.
Unlike the downy, thin peach fuzz that lines the faces of both men and women (technical term: vellus hair), some isolated strands may stand out—literally and figuratively—for being darker, coarser, longer and more deeply rooted in the skin. The reason they appear different is that they are a different type of hair all together. They are actually a secondary sexual characteristic caused by hormonal changes, just like breasts and pubic hair—and beards. Yes, those hairs on your chin or upper lip are basically whiskers.Don’t worry: You aren’t turning into your father. Many things can cause a change in the balance between estrogens and testosterones in your body, including irregular periods, pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause and polycystic ovary syndrome.
The easiest, fastest and cheapest way to deal with them is to simply tweeze them out (No, it will not make them grow back darker or thicker.). The chin and upper lip tend to be particularly sensitive areas, though, and since the hair is coarser, you’ll feel the pluck more than you would a fine hair. If tweezing hurts too much, you can try a depilatory cream, electrolysis or laser hair removal.
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