Learn why some women have hair in places they shouldn’t.
Hair on men is a sign of their virility; hair on women—eh, not so much. Many of my patients often look a tad embarrassed when asking me about finding hair in places they don’t think it belongs. So that’s why today I want to talk about hirsutism, which is the fancy medical term used to describe excess hair on the body or hair found in various parts of the body that women often feel ashamed to have. For instance, many of my patients complain that they find hair growth on the breasts, above the upper lip, on the chin, on the fingers, stomach, or feet. Could this be normal? After all, these are locations where men are supposed to grow hair, “not women,” right? Wrong! And ladies, if you’re wondering if you’re normal for having hair in these places, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone.
Why Am I So Hairy?
First of all, remember that television and magazines wax, shave, pluck, and airbrush every millimeter of exposed skin. Not many real women look like the hairless and perfectly-smooth-appearing women who seem to so effortlessly float on the beach on shows like the old classic, Baywatch. Television just makes it appear as though they are naturally hair-free. The truth is most women have some hair in places where they don’t want it. It’s so common that I see it almost every day in the office. Being hairy is genetic and it can be more common in certain cultures and backgrounds--and you can thank your wonderful parent’s for passing on their super hairy genes to you.
What Is a Normal Amount of Hairiness?
It’s normal to be hairy…to some extent. Though most of us don’t naturally look like a Baywatch babe, it’s not normal to look like “Cousin It” from The Addams Family, either. Even though there is not a well-defined set of rules on what is considered medically “normal,” a good rule of thumb to go by is if the amount of hair growth is bothersome and interferes with your quality of life, then it’s time to get it checked out. In general, a little bit of peach fuzz here and there is common and normal in most women. A few stray hairs on the chin, upper lip, or breasts may be normal. But if you are finding yourself having to actually shave or wax because there are just too many to simply pluck, it may be time to get it checked out.