Question of the Month

Q:  Why would hair follicles suddenly become sensitive to testosterone when they seemed not to be before? I'm 26 and have never had a problem with facial hair before and have noticed some fine dark hairs on my chin and also on my stomach which are concerning me. I just want to do what I can to prevent the problem from becoming worse.

A:   Usually it is not that the follicles have become more sensitive to testosterone. Rather the effect of testosterone to increase facial hair growth is a very gradual one, which occurs over years. Testosterone levels in women begin to go up at puberty and may rise for a few years after that. But it make take a long time for facial hair to increase in response to testosterone.

Sometimes, testosterone levels do go up later in life and so blood tests to make sure that the levels are not too high should usually be done.

It is always best to start to treat facial hair as soon as it becomes a problem. Otherwise it tends to continue to increase.

Hope this is helpful.

Geoffrey Redmond, MD

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