Jenni’s Jumpy About Weird Hairs:
I have 3 different hair aberrations that I don’t understand:
1. Crazy Hairs, as I call them. Out of nowhere, I’ll suddenly notice a very long (I’ve had up to 7 or 8 inches!), very fine hair on my chin, lower cheek, or neck. How does this happen? Is this akin to cancer of a hair? Needless to say this is plucked out immediately.
2. Chin Whiskers. Why, oh, why do we ladies of a certain age get these? I pluck, and darn if it isn’t back in a few days!!!!
3. Hair loss. Why do I lose a LOT of head hair all at once? Several months ago I was in the hospital very ill with a Norwalk-type virus. Starting about 6 weeks ago I began to lose massive amounts of my already thin hair. Why did they all fall out at once? And, why didn’t all the hair on my legs fall out, too?
The Left Brain Responds:
To answer your question I need to give you a bit of hair biology background:
Let’s go all the way back to fetal development, when your cells are growing and differentiating. Some cells form eyes, teeth or intestines; others form follicles, the little tubes in your skin that grow hair. Some of these follicles are programmed to produce long, thick hairs like you usually get on your scalp. Others are designed to produce short, fine hairs like on your face, arms and legs.
Most of the time, these follicles mind their own business and keep producing the kinds of hairs they were made for. But every once in a while, a couple of follicles will go rogue and start acting crazy. Scalp hair can become very fine and thin, or worse yet, fall out and not grow back! Facial hair gets coarser and longer, creating those crazy hairs you mentioned.
What’s the cause? Well, no one knows the exact mechanism or how to control it but it’s related to hormones. That`s why changes in hair growth tend to be triggered by periods of hormonal change like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. (Diseases and prescription medications can cause similar changes.)
Different follicles on different people react differently, so it’s hard to predict what will happen and when. And unfortunately, there`s not much you can do about it except be alert and pluck those crazy long hairs before someone else spots them!