One day you’re lotioning up after a shower, and then you see it: a hair. Right there. On your nipple. There’s no reason to freak, though. “Our body has hair follicles and oil glands all over, including around the nipples, so there is always the potential for hair growth,” says Lance Brown, M.D., a New York dermatologist.
Of the approximately 50 million hair follicles covering your body, only one-fifth of them are located on your scalp, which leaves plenty of other places for random strands to pop up.
The Most Common Places You’ll Find Body Hair
In addition to your nipples, your earlobes, chin, and belly button are three other areas that it’s pretty common for hair to sprout from.
When it comes to your nipples, hair generally pops up on or right outside of the areola.
On your ears, we’re not talking about an old-man forest growing, but you may find a solitary coarse hair on your lobe fighting with your earring for attention.
On your abdomen, you may find yourself with a more pronounced patch of hair from your navel to your pubes or a few random hairs around your belly button.
Your chin, meanwhile, is one of the most common places to find stragglers.
Why It Happens
If you’re just finding a few strays, it’s more likely that your new hairy friends are due to hormonal fluctuations, such as the ones that accompany pregnancy or menopause. Certain medications can also cause excessive hair growth, such as testosterone, danazol, anabolic steroids, glucocorticoids, cyclosporine, minoxidil, and phenytoin.
If you’re finding more than just the odd hair popping up, you could have hirsutism, a condition that causes excessive, coarse body hair in women. Hirsutism can be genetic (thanks, Mom!), or it could mean that you have a more serious condition, like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). However, PCOS is relatively rare, affecting just five to 10 percent of women worldwide.
How to Deal with the Fuzz
While it’s good news that those hairy new arrivals don’t often signal a significant health problem, it doesn’t mean they’re welcome additions to your body.
Tweezers are your easiest at-home option for a few stray hairs. (Tip: Try tweezing after showering so hairs are softer and easier to pull.)
Shaving or waxing may be a better fit for larger patches of hair on your abdomen or chin.
If you’re looking for a more permanent fix (and don’t mind telling a stranger about those under-the-bra babies), Brown recommends laser hair removal. While it’s not completely permanent, it will provide a longer-term solution and cut down on time between tweezing or shaving.
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