What is nipple hair and why does it grow there?
There are hair follicles present in many areas of the entire human body. Some of it is coarse, some are thin and near-invisible and then, some pop up where you least expect - like your nipples!
If you thought hair on the nipples are only reserved for men and are unnatural for women, then you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, nipple hair is way more common for women than you think! The actual percentage is unclear though since most women don’t openly talk about it.
In most cases, nipple hair is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about. But, why do you have them in the first place?
- Hormonal imbalances - In some cases, a hormonal imbalance in the body can lead to an overproduction of male hormones like testosterone and other androgens. Excess testosterone in women causes many symptoms apart from nipple hair like facial hair, acne, irregular periods, scalp hair fall, mood changes and a deepening of the voice.
- PCOS - Short for polycystic ovary syndrome, an imbalance of reproductive hormones can cause small cysts to grow in the ovaries. The disease can lead to a variety of symptoms like irregular periods, unwanted facial and body hair growth (including nipple hair), infertility, mood disorders like anxiety or depression and other symptoms.
- Hormonal changes - As a woman progresses through her life, hormonal fluctuations can arise as she reaches puberty and then transitions into her twenties and thirties. Other bodily changes like pregnancy and menopause can also result in hormonal shifts which can cause a variety of symptoms, including darkening of nipple hair.
Cushing’s syndrome - If your body is exposed to high levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, for a large period of time, you may get something called Cushing’s syndrome. Increased hair growth in unwanted places and irregular or absent menstrual cycles are among the many unpleasant symptoms of the disease.
Is it okay to have nipple hair?
There are hair follicles around your nipples and while some may sport fine, thin hair, others may have more pronounced and darker hair around there. In most cases, it is completely normal and not a sign of anything too serious.
The colour and texture of your nipple hair will vary depending on your age, race and hormonal balance. But if you are embarrassed by your nipple hair, don’t be. It’s fairly common and there are various ways you can get rid of it if it bothers you too much.
If you have recently started developing nipple hair and are not undergoing pregnancy or menopause, you may want to inform your doctor to identify any underlying causes that may be acting as the culprit.
Do you need to remove nipple hair?
It’s absolutely not a necessity to get rid of your nipple hair from a health point of view. The hair is harmless and is really like the hair on any other part of your body. But, if it makes you feel uncomfortable, there are various safe hair removal processes you may want to look into.
There are both at-home and clinical ways you can try but if you are considering hair removal creams or bleaches, it’s best to avoid using them on sensitive skin like that of your breasts as you may suffer from skin irritation and rashes.
How to get rid of nipple hair?
These are the various things you can do to safely get rid of the hair on your nipples:
- Trim it - You can use a small pair of scissors to cut your hair close to the skin. Hold the breasts taut when you do it and be careful not to cut your breast or your nipple. Do this patiently and with full concentration to avoid injury.
- Tweeze it - It’s advisable to have a warm shower beforehand because nipples and areolas are sensitive and warm water will soften the hair follicles for easier removal. Simply hold your skin taut and use a tweezer to pluck out the individual hairs. But, make sure to watch out for signs of ingrown hair or infection, which you are more prone to when using this method.
- Shave it - While in the shower, grab a razor and shave the hair around the nipples. You still run the risk of ingrown hair and cuts, so be careful while shaving around this sensitive area.
- Wax it - You can go to a parlour or wax your nipple hair at home. If you are using hot wax, be careful not to burn your skin, though. Also, this may result in ingrown hair and infections as well, so proceed with caution.
- Laser it - You can opt for an at-clinic laser hair removal where they will be using a low level of radiation to destroy the hair follicles. You may need a few sittings, but you will probably notice a remarkable reduction in hair or even permanent hair removal.
Balance out your hormones - Talk to your doctor to understand the underlying cause and if it’s happening due to a hormonal imbalance, you may be prescribed birth control pills or any other form of hormone therapy to fix the issue, and subsequently lessen your nipple hair growth.
Should you see a doctor?
There is no need to be concerned if you have hairy breasts but no other symptoms. However, if you see a sudden emergence of hair on your breasts, along with other symptoms, you should talk to your doctor about your worries.
Hair loss, mood swings, irregular periods, and infertility are all symptoms of an underlying imbalance or health problem, such as PCOS or Cushing's syndrome. Your doctor can do tests to assist you to figure out what's wrong.
While you can remove nipple hair on your own, consulting your doctor about the best procedure is a smart idea. Even though the methods for removing nipple hair are thought to be safe, adverse effects such as ingrown hairs or infections might arise. Your doctor can advise you on how to avoid these unpleasant and unwelcome side effects.