Chin Hair Can Be Annoying—Here's How to Nip It in the Bud

Close up of a woman with her face in the sunlight

Liliya Rodnikova / Stocksy

Facial hair—especially on the chin—is something many women experience, yet few talk about. Sure, chin hair doesn't really take up a lot of space, but many people consider it annoying. If you're among them and want to ditch your chin hair for good, we're here for you.

Here's what you need to know about the ways you can treat and prevent chin hair in women, straight from board-certified dermatologists Quynh-Giao Sartor, MD, Erum N. Ilyas, MD, and Melanie Palm, MD.

Meet the Expert

  • Quynh-Giao Sartor, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology.
  • Erum N. Ilyas, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology.
  • Melanie Palm, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon at Art of Skin MD.

How Can You Stop or Prevent Chin Hair?

To prevent chin hair, it's really important to try to figure out what's triggering it in the first place. Your physician can test you for a number of different conditions and causes that may lead to the presence of chin hair. These include PCOS, thyroid problems, problems with the adrenal glands, tumors, and medication side effects. If a trigger is identified, it can then be treated in a way that makes sense for that cause.

Read on for some of the best ways to treat chin hair.

01 of 06

Get an Oral Prescription

Spironolactone is a medication that can help block the effects of androgens in the body, subsequently preventing chin hair growth. To be effective long-term, spironolactone must be taken regularly. "This is a blood pressure medication noted to have anti-androgen effects, such as reduced hair growth on the chin and increased hair growth on the scalp," Ilyas says.

Birth control pills work similarly by blocking androgens in the body. They also must be taken regularly to be effective long-term. Before taking these medications, it's important to talk with your doctor about any potential side effects. "Both birth control pills and spironolactone can lead to significant side effects and should be monitored with regular office visits," Sartor says.

02 of 06

Try a Topical Medication

Eflornithine (aka Vaniqa) is an FDA-approved topical medication that slows the growth of unwanted facial hair. It's available by prescription and must be used regularly to be effective. As with other prescription medications, speak with your doctor about side effects before taking eflornithine. Some of the medication's potential side effects include acne, stinging, and burning.

03 of 06

Tweeze, Wax, or Shave

If you're looking for a way to temporarily eliminate chin hair without medication or a prescription, tweezing, waxing, and shaving are all good options. "All can be inexpensive and are easy to perform but must be repeated to maintain results," Sartor says. Keep in mind that there are some possible side effects when using these methods, such as skin irritation, ingrown hairs, folliculitis, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

04 of 06

Use Depilatory Creams

Depilatory creams are another option if you're looking to treat chin hair without a prescription. These products work by breaking down proteins within the hair so that it thins and dissolves. It's important to use these creams as directed: They can cause burns and other side effects.

05 of 06

Book an Appointment for Laser Hair Removal

For more permanent results, laser hair removal is a good option. In fact, Sartor says this is the most effective method for permanently removing chin hair.

Laser hair removal uses a laser to reduce or eliminate unwanted body or facial hair. In brief: A laser is used at a specific wavelength to target the melanin within a hair follicle, which then destroys the hair follicle and typically inhibits it from regrowing.

That said, laser hair removal isn't recommended for everyone. "If you’re pregnant, taking a prescription acne medication, or have a history of keloid scars, I would advise against laser hair removal," Palm says.

If you decide to give laser hair removal a try, know that there are some potential side effects to be aware of. Some people experience hyperpigmentation or dark patches of skin. This is most common in people with darker skin and those who don't avoid sun exposure before and after the treatment, Sartor says. Another potential side effect is coarse and dark hair growth along the jawline, which Sartor says is most common in women of Mediterranean descent who initially come in for the treatment of fine chin hairs.

06 of 06

Undergo Electrolysis

Electrolysis, or electropilation, is a process that uses electricity to permanently remove hair. There are a few different types of electrolysis, but the process generally works by inserting a fine probe into the hair follicle. From there, an electric current destroys the hair root, causing existing hair to fall out and preventing new hair from growing.

Electrolysis is an effective way to remove chin hair permanently, but it has some drawbacks. "The electrolysis process is tedious, time-consuming, painful, and can result in punctate scarring," Sartor says. "For these reasons, it is not a practical means of hair removal for large areas of unwanted hair."

What Causes Chin Hair in Women?

Women may experience chin hair and other facial hair for a number of reasons, including genetics, age, and hormonal fluctuations. While the presence of chin hair can indicate a health problem, that isn't always the case. "Menopausal women may experience more hair on their chin and other parts of the face and neck because their bodies are producing less estrogen," says Palm. "This throws off the ratio of estrogen to testosterone in the body, which can cause facial hair growth, among other symptoms." 

Similarly, women with hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also experience an increase in facial hair. Chin hair in women could also be a sign of hirsutism, which is a common endocrine disorder that's characterized by the presence of excessive hair growth in areas where hair more commonly grows on men, such as the chin, chest, and back. Sartor explains that within the general population, hirsutism affects approximately 5 percent of women of reproductive age.

For some women, it can be completely normal to experience some facial hair, especially if it runs in their family. "Studies also show varying androgen (testosterone) levels in different ethnicities, which can result in more or less facial and body hair," Palm says.

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