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It's not unusual to have one particularly dark, coarse hair somewhere on your body.

Dr. Roshini Raj
May 22, 2017

Q: There’s a random dark hair that grows on my chin. What the heck?

Solitary hairs that are thick, dark, and coarse are actually very common. Most women have at least one somewhere on their body. They often pop up on the chin, but women can have one anywhere—the cheek, arm, belly button adjacent, you name it. You can thank androgens (sex hormones we all produce) and, more specifically, how your hair follicles react to the overall balance of those hormones, which is in part determined by genetics. You may notice that these hairs become more prominent during times of hormonal shifts, like pregnancy or menopause.

As for getting rid of the rogue whisker, feel free to tweeze away; contrary to the popular myth, plucking an unwanted hair won’t make it multiply or grow back any thicker than before. Or if it really bugs you when dark strands make an encore appearance, talk to a dermatologist about more permanent solutions, like electrolysis.

One more thing: If you’re noticing more and more facial or body hair that looks thicker and coarse, be sure to mention it to your doctor. A hair change of this nature is a common symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition in which a woman’s sex hormones are out of balance, typically causing many small cysts to grow on the ovaries. (Other signs of PCOS include irregular periods and adult acne.)

 

Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.