You wake up and take that first peek in the mirror in the morning and looking back at you is a dark hair on your chin. It seems to have grown overnight, like some facial beanstalk. Unlike men, women aren’t used to seeing a big hair on the chin. What’s up with that?
Since we’re the experts at putting our variety of lasers to work ridding our patients of unwanted hair, we thought we’d address these stray chin hairs in this Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal blog.
Terminal Versus Vellus
That hair on your chin, you know the black one that is unlike all of your peach-fuzz-esque hair elsewhere on your face, is a terminal hair. The other fine, virtually invisible hairs are called vellus hairs. Terminal hairs are thick, strong, pigmented hairs that have fully matured. Terminal hair is what you find on the scalp, the pubic area, under the arms, and on the face (guys only, hopefully!).
Vellus hairs are fine and whispy. They usually don’t have hardly any pigmentation. Plus, they don’t come out of sebaceous glands. Vellus hair develops in childhood and remains on much of the body throughout adulthood. The primary role of vellus hair is to protect the skin and keep the body warm.
The chin is an area that doesn’t usually grow terminal hairs in women. But that occasional stray hair can come up from time to time, usually in the same spot. This hair can be more affected by testosterone when a woman’s estrogen is beginning to drop. Certain medications can make terminal hairs grow in unusual areas. And sometimes, it’s simply a case of a hair follicle behaving badly (you have three million hair follicles on your body).
If you tend to grow some facial hair, especially above your lip, you can thank Mom and Dad for that. If the women in your family grow facial hair, you probably do or will too.
Do Chin Hairs Grow Faster?
It seems as if these hairs sprout basically overnight. You went to bed with a clear chin and awoke with a black hair poking out. These hairs actually grow at the same rate; it’s just when they erupt above the skin surface they are quite noticeable instantly.
Hair does grow at different rates on different areas of the body. That’s why your scalp hair can grow to Rapunzel length while your eyelashes grow only a quarter inch or so (we’d like them to grow more!).
And, no, plucking that stray chin hair won’t make it come back thicker and darker next time.
Of course, if a stray chin hair is hanging around when you come in for a laser hair removal session at Romeo & Juliette, we’d be happy to give it a little laser energy to make it vanish permanently.