Chin Whiskers: Just What Every Menopausal Woman Wants
Remember when your great-grandmother kissed you and you could feel spiky whiskers poking your face? Now its your turn. All kinds of delightful changes occur when a woman goes through menopause and facial hair is one of them.
Facial and body hair that increases after menopause is called hypertrichosis. When coarse hairs pop up on a woman in areas where you would see hair on a man this is considered hirsutism and is often the outcome of increased male hormone levels. Hairs that were always there but werent obvious become visible when hormonal changes from menopause take place.
T.S.: I pluck and wax. I thought about letting it grow and joining the circus as the bearded woman.
The true irony is while hair on the face may increase, hair on the head is simultaneously thinning and falling out. As noted by Womenvoicesforchange.org, Father Time and Mother Nature do have a wicked sense of humor when it comes to deciding where hair grows or doesnt grow on older women and men.
S.R.: I had facial hair, peach fuzz. When my son was getting ready to get married he said to me, Mom, what are you going to do about that hair on your face? Needless to say, I had it waxed.
J.S.: Hairy genes plus age = yuck! C.G.: Im a tweezing fool!
Because estrogen receptors are plentiful around the face, this area is susceptible when circulating estrogens are reduced as a result of menopause and, voila, hair appears.
When A Chin Hair Is A Health Flag
There are times when chin hair is a red flag that something may be going on with your health. Excessive chin or facial hair, or suddenly increased growth in hair on any part of the face, may be a sign of a condition called hypertrichosis. The type of hypertrichosis specific to women is called hirsutism.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, hirsutism is common and affects 5 to 10 percent of women of childbearing age. It can cause dark, coarse hair growth on the chin, upper lip, chest, abdomen, and back.
Though the exact cause of hirsutism is not always known, it can also be caused by several medical conditions.
What Are The Types Of Hair Loss
There are three: anagen effluvium, telogen effluvium and FPHL.
- Anagen effluvium: This is caused by medications that poison a growing hair follicle .
- Telogen effluvium: This is caused by an increased number of hair follicles reaching the telogen phase, which is the stage where hair falls out.
- Androgenetic alopecia/female pattern alopecia/female pattern hair loss /baldness: This type is the most common. Hair thins over the top of the head and on the sides.
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What Causes Facial Hair In Women
If you never had much facial hair, you might not be in the clear for life. It’s no secret that hormone levels change as humans ageand this causes a wide variety of side effects such as reduced sex drive, moodiness, and insomnia, to name a few. One of those effects occurs in our hair follicleson our head, body, and face.
Here’s how hormones work: both genders have male and female hormones, androgens and estrogen, respectively.
“The ratios are kept in check for the majority of our lives,” Board-certified dermatologist;Corey L.;Hartman, M.D., tells HelloGiggles. “But as the production of estrogen starts to decrease with menopause, the androgens can start to dominate. Those are the hormones that have receptors on hair follicles, so they make the hair on your head grow lighter, finer, and slower, while making the hair in the male distribution start to grow thicker.”
So, hormone imbalances are to blame for increasing hair along your jawline and neck. However, going through menopause isn’t the only trigger for increased facial hair growth in women. “Changes in hormones can occur at any point, especially for women because of the monthly cycle that women endure,” Dr. Hartman points out.
Combating Hair Woes During Menopause
Because of hormone shifts, women may start losing the hair on their heads and see it pop up where in other unexpected places. These treatments can help.
Its bad enough that menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings can turn your life upside down, but menopause can also lead to some serious changes in your hair. Menopause can cause the hair on your head to start thinning and the hair on your upper lip or chin to get thicker.
Thinning hair happens to about half of all women by age 50, while up to 15 percent of women experience hair growth on their chin, upper lip, or cheeks after menopause, according to the North American Menopause Society.
Sometimes women experience both, sometimes its one or the other, says Mary Polan, MD, a gynecologist at Columbia Doctors Eastside in New York City.
The culprit: changes in estrogen and androgen levels during menopause. Both levels of hormones go down during menopause, but at different rates. Estrogen levels drop severely while androgen levels drop more slowly over time. As a result, the ratio of estrogen to androgen levels changes dramatically, Dr. Polan says.
That can lead to scalp hair loss in women and the arrival of fine hair, or peach fuzz, on the upper lip or chin, or dark, wiry, hairs on the chin that grow quickly.
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What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Hirsutism
Hirsutism will require ongoing treatment. None of the treatments make the hair go away completely, but they make hair grow more slowly and help to significantly decrease the amount of unwanted hair. Most women are happy with their results once they find an effective treatment regimen that works for them. Once an effective treatment is established, it may be continued indefinitely.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/13/2018.
Menopause And Facial Hair Growth
Increased growth of hair on the face of women just before and just after menopause is quite a common occurrence. It is primarily because of decreased estrogens. This is not the problem in your case because you are taking replacement estrogens, but let me explain about it because most women with your complaint will fall into this category.
Estrogens that a woman normally produces during her reproductive years stimulates a blood protein called sex hormone binding globulin . This protein absorbs and holds any male hormones such as testosterone or DHEA which circulate in small amounts in all women. These male hormones called androgens will stimulate hair to grow in a male pattern with beard, mustache, and abdominal hair growing up from the pubic area toward the navel and stimulate the growth of acne in the skin. When sex hormone binding globulin is high, it deactivates the androgens so that women do not have these male hair problems or acne. In fact the birth control pills that decrease acne do so because the estrogen in the pill increases SHBG. Before menopause, when the ovaries do not ovulate regularly, estrogen levels drop and androgen levels are more free to stimulate hair growth and acne. That is why most menopausal and some perimenopausal women will notice increased facial hair growth.
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How Will A Healthcare Provider Diagnose Hair Loss In Women What Tests Are Done
The tests performed to diagnose hair loss in women can be simple or complicated:
- Gently pulling on your hair to see how many hairs come out.
- Blood tests. These check for vitamin and mineral levels and hormone levels .
- Scalp examination under a microscope and trichoscopy.
- Scalp biopsy to remove and examine a very small piece of scalp skin.
Menopause Hair Loss Treatment
There is no way to prevent menopause as its a womans organic, natural response to the progression of age. However, there is good news! Once the hormones settle down and find balance within your new, post-menopausal self, hair will resume its natural growth patterns. Heres what you can do now to stave off the visible signs of hair loss from menopause and assist the body in managing these significant hormonal shifts:
Although there is no miracle menopause hair loss treatment, there are many things you can do to stave off the visible signs of hair loss from menopause and assist the body in managing these significant hormonal shifts:
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How To Hide Thinning Hair After Menopause
If hair continues to thin after menopause and natural treatments have been ineffective, there are things that can help camouflage this issue. Some hair stylists will suggest shortening the length of hair. This adds volume and reduces the weight of hair. It can also help hide problem spots.
Some more permanent but also costly options include topical hair growth products, hair extensions, wigs, surgical hair transplants, and low-level laser scalp treatments.
What Questions Might Your Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose And Categorize Your Hair Loss
Your healthcare provider might ask about your habits:
- What kinds of hair products do you use?
- What kinds of hair styles do you wear?
- What types of food do you eat ?
- Do you have a habit of pulling your hair out ?
They might ask about your history:
- Has anyone in your immediate family experienced hair loss?
- Is there anything stressful going on in your life?
- What medications and supplements do you take every day?
- Has hair loss ever happened to you before?
- What foods are in your diet?
And, they might ask about your observations:
- How long have you been losing hair?
- Have you been shedding more?
- Have you noticed hair loss in places other than your scalp, like your eyebrows? Leg and arm hair?
- Does anything worsen your hair loss?
- Does anything improve your hair loss?
- Have you noticed hair loss occasionally or has it been going on continuously?
- Have you noticed if your hair growth has changed?
- Has your hair been breaking more often?
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Menopause And Facial Hair Now Theres Help
I will never forget the first time I felt it a hair. Poking out from my chin. As if perimenopause had not visited enough indignities upon me, now I was growing a beard. I briefly thought about joining a circus, but thought better of it and plucked the offender with a pair of tweezers.
Another of our goddesses, petite and gorgeous, shared at an annual meeting that her son caught her plucking an errant menohair one day. Nice beard, Mom, he quipped. It felt like a new low.
After a couple of years, I no longer needed the tweezers. It just went away, like so many of the unwanted menopause symptoms. I am happy to report that there is now a product that just might help perimenopausal women past the bearded lady stage more easily. Enjoy this guest blog by the kind folks at Inhibitif. And be sure to enter to win a free bottle -details at the end of the post.
Menopause and Facial Hair Why Inhibitifs Face Serum Can Help For many menopausal women, an increase in unwanted facial hair is common. About 30 percent of women report unwanted hair on the face.; This increase is typically called hypertrichosis, and is seen in areas where visible hair is usually seen in men. The hairs themselves have always been there, but as a result of hormonal changes related to menopause, they are brought up to the surface.
Inhibitifs Face Serum:
And Introduction To Hair Loss And Menopause
Many women suffer from hair loss when going through the menopause. Every person naturally loses between 50 and 100 hairs a day. If you begin to lose more than this, you may notice areas of baldness on your scalp, clumps of hair coming out when you wash or brush your hair, or thinning of hair around the front and sides of your scalp.
Hair is made from keratin, the same material as nails. This is produced by cell structures known as hair follicles lying beneath the scalp and the hair that people wash, brush and style is actually the dead secretions from these follicles. Individual strands of hair can stay on the head for up to six years before falling out.
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Hair Loss Due To Hormones: Will It Grow Back
Hair loss due to hormones is a reality for many people after menopause as well as during pregnancy. But will it grow back? The answer is yes, but there are also things that can help the body along.;
Wash hair regularly with a mild shampoo. Treat hair gently. Dont comb or brush hair when its wet. Using the fingers to detangle is a gentler option. Putting hair up in a tight bun or ponytail can cause added stress on the hair and its follicles.;
Finally, try to limit the use of hair dryers or irons on hair, as they can dry and damage it.;
Here are five tips to prevent hair loss during the menopausal transition and after menopause:
Why Does Hair Turn Grey
Your hair color is produced by cells at the base of each hair follicle. These cells make melanin pigments and feed these through to the hair root.
The pigment color you produce is genetically determined. Red melanin makes your natural hair color a gold, auburn, or red. Black melanin produces hair that is brown or black. Pale melanin, which is concentrated in the spongy core of the hair shaft, rather than the outer cortex, causes your natural color to be more honeyed or blonde.
Hair turns grey due to an age-related decrease in the activity of an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme produces melanin from an amino acid called tyrosine.
The age at which your hair loses color is genetically determined and a few lucky people may retain their hair shade throughout life.
If your hair is grey, then some pigment is still present within the hair. If your hair is totally devoid of pigment, it becomes transparent and reflects light to appear snow white.
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Menopause And Hair Loss: Whats The Connection
When entering the years of menopausal transition, it is a good idea to check the bodys hormone levels. This can help explain symptoms such as hair loss.
When a person experiences hair loss and other symptoms of menopause, it is predominantly due to hormonal changes. With age, the ovaries begin to decrease the amount of sex hormones that are normally produced. As the body responds to the fluctuations in hormones, numerous physical changes occur. Menopausal hair loss is directly related to the decreased production of estrogen and progesterone.;
As these hormone levels drop, hair may begin to grow more slowly and become thinner. Over time, the decrease in estrogen and progesterone causes an increase in the activity of male hormones that the body makes. Androgens cause the hair follicles on the head to shrink, which leads to hair loss. These are the same hormones that are responsible for increased facial hair growth in menopausal people.;
Among other factors that contribute to hair loss are lack of nutrients, stress, and illness. A health care provider may suggest tests for basic blood count, thyroid function, or hormone levels to identify the cause of hair loss.
Can Hair Turn Grey Overnight
Stress can cause the life cycles of different hair follicles to synchronize and enter their shedding phase together. This results in hundreds of older, more pigmented hairs falling out at the same time, to produce a rapid, noticeable thinning.
What remains are the finer, less pigmented hairs in the earlier stages of their current life cycle which suddenly become more noticeable.
This phenomenon, known as telogen effluvium, can cause someone to look noticeably greyer within a short period of time the source of tales about someone turning grey from shock overnight.
Here are 10 tips for improving your thinning or graying hair.
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How Do I Prevent Growing Facial Hair In Menopause
Growth of facial hair during menopause is typically caused by an increase in the ratio of androgen to estrogen. This does not necessarily point to a problem, but the increase in facial hair can be bothersome.
One of the best ways to prevent androgen excess is by eating a balanced diet rich in quality proteins, complex carbohydrates, and colorful fruits and vegetables. When the body is getting too many refined carbohydrates, such as simple sugars, white bread or pasta, it produces more insulin. And one of the ways the body can respond to high insulin is by increasing androgen production.
Other ways to prevent unwanted hair growth include balancing your hormones, taking a high-quality multivitamin to fill in any nutritional gaps, reducing stress, and keeping your body fat under 30%. Both stress and excess fat can lead to increased androgen production.
Prevention is ideal because once facial hair is present, reduction techniques such as laser hair removal, IPL , or electrolysis are the only ways of achieving permanent removal. Waxing is also an option, though only temporary.
For more information on androgen dominance and hair growth and loss, read our article on coping with unwanted hair growth.
We Can Help You Manage Facial Hair
- Meet with a Gennev Doctor – our menopause specialists can help you understand why you are experiencing facial hair symptoms and their impact on your overall health and wellness
- Partner with a Health Coach for actionable solutions and the support you need to manage facial hair, and get you feeling better
- Vitality the nutrient-packed multi-vitamin supplement that supports mood, energy, stress response, immune health, joint pain, and inflammation
The information on the;Gennev;site is never meant to replace the care of a qualified medical professional.;;Hormonal shifts throughout menopause can prompt a lot of changes in your body, and simply assuming something is just menopause can leave you vulnerable to other possible causes. Always consult with your physician or schedule an appointment with one of;Gennev’s telemedicine;doctors before beginning any new treatment or therapy.;
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