If you’re suddenly tweezing more than usual know that you’re not alone.
Listen up, because what we are about to discuss here is important:
We need to talk about postpartum chin hair.
I, like a lot of women in their early 30s, have been plucking the occasional stray (a friend of mine once mentioned her aunt referred to them fondly as “goat hairs,” and now that is forever emblazoned in my mind) for a few years now.
It never really bothered me that much, because it might be a few months in between the times I would notice that stray hair pop up in my mirror. When it appeared, I would just pluck it quickly and go about my day.
But now? For some unforeseen, unlucky-in-life reason, after having my fifth baby and closing in on the age of 34, the rate at which my chin hair grows has seemingly quadrupled overnight.
Almost daily, I am now scouring the landscape of my facial nether-regions, looking for those pesky hairs that seem to be hell-bent on making up for the hair being lost from my actual head.
And while I am busy collecting tweezers in every corner of my house, minivan, and diaper bags, to ensure I am never without ammo should I come across a hair follicle foe, I am also left wondering — what on earth is happening? Is this even remotely normal? Do other people experience strange chin hair after having a baby?
As most of us know, pregnancy definitely impacts our hair. Our nails might grow faster and look healthier, and our hair appears fuller and more voluminous. In fact, part of that “pregnancy glow” might just be all that newfound volume in our hair.
But then, we have the baby, and that beautiful pregnancy bubble bursts. Our nails break, our eyes develop dark circles from the sleepless nights, and all of that beautiful hair we had falls off in clumps.
I am now 7 months postpartum and my hair is still falling out of my head at an alarming rate. I almost dread showering or brushing it because it’s scares me every time to see fistfuls of hair in my hands.
However, the good news about postpartum hair loss on our heads is that we aren’t really losing tons of hair — it just looks that way.
What actually happens is that during pregnancy, the normal cycle of hair growth and shedding is disrupted, so you don’t lose as much of your hair while you’re pregnant. That’s why it appears fuller and more luscious. But then, postpartum, the normal shedding process picks up again and you lose all of that extra hair you held on to during pregnancy.
So, while alarming in its amount, it’s not actually like you’re losing tons of new hair; it’s actually just old hair you didn’t get rid of yet.
Makes sense, right? But now, how do you explain the chin hair?
And although body hair growth generally tends to slow down as we age, the only exception to that is facial hair. Facial hair actually increases the older we get. Yay!
So, if like me, you have noticed that your stray chin hairs have seemed to increase during pregnancy and even through the postpartum stage, it can be completely normal and nothing really to worry about. Annoying, sure, but dangerous? Not really.
That being said, in some rare cases, excessive facial hair growth after pregnancy could be a sign of a medical condition, so if you are experiencing any excess facial hair growth or body hair growth, it’s definitely worth a trip to your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on.
When it comes to removing your chin hair, you have a few options: You could wait it out and see if your hair growth settles down as your baby gets older. Or you could give in and start plucking, waxing, or even for some women, shaving that business. (Yes, really, I know some women who choose to shave instead of chasing down strays every day.)
And if things get super serious, you can turn to laser hair removal, which is my plan as soon as I’m done breastfeeding.
Laser hair removal therapy can be effective and safe, says the American Academy of Dermatology. However, it can work differently for different people, based on your own hair growth patterns, how much hair you have, what type of hair you are having removed.
Effectiveness also depends on the timing of the laser removal. It’s more effective, for instance, when your hair is just emerging from the follicle, as opposed to once it has fully emerged.
If you’re considering making an appointment for laser hair removal, you’ll want to make sure you visit an actual dermatologist for the procedure, as not all center or clinic practitioners have the correct training or even the correct laser tool to make it effective.
And in the meantime, if you’re like me, can I just recommend that you invest in a lighted tweezer? Because it will seriously change your life.
Chaunie Brusie is a labor and delivery nurse turned writer and a newly minted mom of five. She writes about everything from finance to health to how to survive those early days of parenting when all you can do is think about all the sleep you aren’t getting. Follow her here.