A few weeks ago, I was humming to myself in the bathroom, checking out my pores and contemplating the importance of contributing to my Roth IRA versus treating myself to an expensive facial, when I saw it. A hair.
At first I was like, "Oh, hey! This thing is pretty long. I bet it's just a stray." But when I tried to brush it away, I realized it was attached. To my chin. My 27-year-old chin.
It's important to note that I really don't grow much hair at all. In fact, I grow so little hair that I only have to shave the peach fuzz on my underarms once every other week and can go three months without an eyebrow wax and still get complimented on their shape.
I'd spent all this time dreading my first gray hair, only to be cursed with a hair sprouting from chin. The proceeding moments following my discovery are somewhat of a blur, but they do include a ruler to measure my chin hair's length (two inches), a match to get rid of the evidence, and at least an hour spent spent looking through Internet search results to queries such as "women with hairy chins," "female chin hair removal" and "learning how to accept my chin hair as a woman."
Like most medical-related web searches, this research only exacerbated my chin hair hysteria. While I did locate insightful information, I also happened upon a website discussing retirement homes with "shaving stations" set up for older female patients dealing with excessive facial hair. I made the same face you're making now.
This newfound data prompted a text message to my aunt, a registered nurse and the assistant director of nursing at an established nursing home in Indianapolis. While she had never heard of a shaving station set up at a nursing home (that seriously sounds like something out of a horror story, no?), she did confirm that female chin hairs are pretty common.
"I don't have a true percentage, but I would estimate that 5 to 10 percent [of female patients] have excessive chin hair that requires regular shaving," she texted. "A hair here and there, but not excessive, I would say is very common."
Not sure if I should feel relieved knowing I wasn't alone or freaked out by my own body, I decided to contact a dermatologist for details. I spoke to Dr. Ariel Ostad, a dermatologist based on the Upper East Side of New York.
Dr. Ostad reiterated what my aunt told me, explaining that chin hair typically occurs because of hormone changes women go through as they age. These changes cause "testosterone to become higher and estrogen lower," he said, "which causes hair growth."
He also noted that you usually see this growth on the face, chin and neck, and recommended laser hair removal as a permanent means to nix the issue.
This time around, I simply pulled the hair out with my best friend, Mr. Tweezerman. If this becomes a consistent issue, however, I have no problem going to the extreme with a little laser zapping.
This whole ordeal actually reminded me that I have an at-home hair removal laser, the Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X, which happens to be FDA-cleared for using on your face. If I see another one, I'll probably give it the stink eye and pluck it out again, but if more start sprouting, I'm breaking that thing out without hesitation. Using it is not exactly akin to eating maple-syrup covered fluffy pancakes or getting a massage, but I'm willing to deal with a little discomfort if it means a hair-free chin.
I do want to say that I know one measly chin hair isn't that big of a deal. Still, it does serve as a very real reminder that the arrow of time goes in one direction and I can't help but feel a little betrayed by my body.
Not to mention, facial hair on women is kind of an embarrassing issue we just don't talk about much. In fact, it took me about a week of hemming and hawing and wondering if my husband would view me differently if I told him about my Great Encounter With A Wild Chin Hair. I needed someone to talk to about it, though, and eventually let it all out. True to his nature, he shrugged it off like it was NBD. Although, since then he has cracked a few jokes about how I should consider auditioning for ZZ Top.
What about you ladies? Ever found an unwanted hair in a place it didn't belong? Did you go into panic mode like I did or did you pluck and move on with your day? Or do you just leave it?