Weird Places Where Body Hair Grows

Fun fact: We have hair follicles covering just about every inch of our bodies. The only guaranteed hairless spots are the lips, the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet. Given that ubiquity, it's surprising that we don't have more rogue hairs popping up in inconvenient or embarrassing spots.

If you've noticed some fuzz sprouting in strange places, don't blame it on the full moon. Find out what the experts have to say about bizarre hair growth and how you can cope with it.


Although whiskers that grow around the chin, lower jaw, and upper lip are typically thought of as a male trait, these areas are the most common places for hair to grow on women, too, according to Rebecca Baxt, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine. The cause probably involves a hormonal imbalance (such as an elevated level of testosterone); in some cases, the endocrine disorder polycystic ovarian syndrome can be to blame. A pituitary tumor can also give rise to more facial hair.

Your smooth strategy: Electrolysis. The procedure can be time-consuming because it destroys the hair follicles individually, but it works on any hair color and skin tone (unlike laser hair removal, which isn't as effective for those with light-colored hair). Or try threading, which is less irritating to your skin than shaving, says Sandy Tsao, MD, a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Shoulders, back, and buttocks

Tufts of hair on the tops of your shoulders and on your back or tush may be embarrassing, but they're simply harmless reminders of your prehistoric ancestors. "Unlike other species, which have fur for protection and insulation, humans have become quite hairless, using clothing for warmth and temperature regulation," explains Jeannette Graf, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Your smooth strategy: Laser hair removal offers the best chance of a long- lasting permanent reduction in the hair, says Dr. Baxt. "It does usually hurt a bit," she says, "but most patients can tolerate it, and small amounts of prescription numbing cream are usually safe and can reduce the pain." However, the lasers work best on brown and black hair, so if you have blond, red, or gray hair, waxing may be a better option.


Just because your father and grandfather have hair topiary sprouting from their ear canals doesn't mean that you have to follow in their footsteps. "Ear hair is less common in women and seen more often in men," says Dr. Graf. So while you may have a few hairs appear on the outer skin of the rim of your ear, it's pretty unlikely that you'll ever have more than that.

Your smooth strategy: An ear trimmer from your local drugstore is an easy, low- cost way to rid yourself of unwanted hair. Tweezing is another relatively pain- free option.


It's extremely common for someone with XY chromosomes to sport hair on his chest and abdomen. But if women have noticeable hair growth in this area, or even a few strands growing around their nipples, abnormal levels of estrogen and testosterone are probably the cause, says Dr. Tsao. A panel of blood tests can determine whether this is the cause of hirsutism (the medical term for excessive hair growth).

Your smooth strategy: Waxing is effective when you want to eliminate hair on a large area of your body — but you need to be careful that the wax doesn't burn your skin, warns Tsao. Shaving is also easy and affordable.

Bikini area

Does getting your body ready for a swimsuit have more to do with hair removal than hitting the gym for stomach crunches and leg lunges? For some women, the growth of pubic hair extends beyond the genital area, reaching toward the hip bones and inside the thighs. "Unfortunately, panties do not stop the growth of our hair!" says Noemi Grupenmager, founder and CEO of Uni K Wax centers. Extensive pubic hair doesn't necessarily have an underlying cause — it's often simply genetic.

Your smooth strategy: Waxing weakens the hair follicles, "which will result in your hair starting to grow back slower, lighter, thinner, and sparser," Grupenmager says. If waxing causes ingrown hairs, Graf advocates laser hair removal, which "is quite effective, particularly where there is coarse, dark hair."


Are a few dark strands keeping you from sporting open-toe shoes this spring? According to Graf, it's quite common to have some hair on the tops of your feet and toes. Typically, this is vellus hair, which is short, fine, and light and can't easily be seen, but sometimes (whether because of a hormonal problem or an inherited trait) a few strands will grow longer and darker.

Your smooth strategy: Shaving is the easiest method to whisk away any noticeable hair. Depilatory creams are another low-cost approach, although Tsao points out that they can irritate sensitive skin.

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