Those Random Dark Hairs On Your Chin Are Annoying, But They're Totally Normal

Finding sprouting chin hair is a strange phenomenon. Though those assigned females at birth have all spotted a sharply protruding or dark hair or one day will, many people tend to feel embarrassed at the discovery. However, it's a part of normal human biology.

Body hair is made up of two types of hair (via Cleveland Clinic). Vellus hair is very fine hair that encompasses the entire body and is often found on the chin. It's also what some call peach fuzz, and it tends to stay short. Since it is typically lightly colored and incredibly soft, it's not usually very visible, and you don't really feel it when you run your finger across your skin.

The purpose of vellus hair is to help keep heat in the body while also protecting the skin from foreign invaders. It covers the skin like a light, fluffy blanket. Yet, when you find a stray dark and protruding chin hair, it's likely a terminal hair, and it's a completely normal finding.

Why terminal hairs pop up on the chin

Terminal hair is quite the opposite of vellus hair. It's longer, darker, and more pronounced. Terminal hairs make up the eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair on the head. Hair follicles can house vellus hair, which may turn into terminal, and may even turn back to vellus hair over time, according to MedicalNewsToday. All of this is an entirely normal biological process.

Though terminal hairs do not primarily reside on the chin in those assigned females at birth, they can be a result of a progression that occurs when vellus hairs develop into terminal hairs. All people have both male and female hormones that change regularly, particularly so during transitional periods in life. During times of big hormonal shifts such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, an influx of male hormones or androgens, such as testosterone, can cause terminal hairs to develop.

While everyone has both types of body hair, the amount differs for each individual. How much vellus and terminal hair one has is also dependent on genes and ethnicity.

Sudden growth in chin hair may warrant investigation

If hair on the chin, chest, and stomach seems to be fast growing and something you've never experienced before, it may be time to see your doctor. A check-up is always a good idea whenever you notice a sudden bodily change, have new symptoms, or if your body just feels different or off in some way.

Many times, there is no cause for concern. "If women develop dark hair in areas where men typically have it — lip, chin, neck, stomach, chest — there may be a hormonal imbalance," dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner tells Allure. "In some cases, there may a testosterone excess, but in others, women may just be extra-sensitive to what appears to be a normal level of hormones."

While changing hormones may be the underlying cause and don't necessarily indicate any medical issue, a sudden growth in dark hair can signal certain conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, or high cholesterol. Just to be on the safe side, checking in with a physician in the event of an abrupt change is the best course of action.