Let’s face it, having squiggly strands of chin hair does not fit most women’s idea of feminine beauty. And while chin hair can be removed by waxing or laser, they spring back within a few days. Which indicates that chin hair is a symptom of a bigger underlying problem.
Causes of chin hair in women
Physiologically speaking, chin hair (beard) is a masculine feature. So chin hair in women usually suggests a dominance of male hormones or androgens like testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and the enzyme 5-alpha reductase which converts testosterone into DHT. DHT overstimulates the hair follicles and makes them produce coarse, dark, terminal hair – like armpit or pubic hair – rather than the fine, light, vellus hair common on a woman’s body.3 This is also known as hirsutism. So a woman with chin hair will also likely have excess body hair.
Though many recommend popular home remedies like yellow lentils, potatoes, or chickpea flour scrubs for removing facial hair, these do not work in removing the harder and coarser chin hair. The natural remedies for chin hair removal need to focus on fixing the hormonal imbalance by suppressing testosterone and DHT.
1. Spearmint Tea
The androgen-lowering effects of spearmint tea came to scientists’ notice when clinicians in a town in Turkey found that the tea reduced libido in men. Following this observation, a test was performed on 21 women with idiopathic hirsutism (where the cause is not known) and PCOS-related hirsutism. The women were given spearmint tea twice daily for 5 days in the follicular phase – the phase between their period and ovulation.
Drink 1 cup of spearmint tea twice a day.
There was a decrease in the circulating testosterone. The researchers concluded that spearmint can be an alternative remedy for mild hirsutism.4
How to use
- Use 5–6 fresh spearmint leaves or 1 tsp dried spearmint.
- Add this to 1 cup of boiling water and cover this for 5 minutes.
- Strain and drink 1 cup twice every day.5
2. Saw Palmetto
In a study, 31 women with chin hair due to idiopathic hirsutism used a saw palmetto extract-based cream twice daily for 2 months. There was a 16% decrease in the hair count after the first month and 29% after the second month. Only 1 patient showed signs of skin allergy. After this period, most patients needed fewer hair removal sessions like waxing, threading, or shaving.6
If you can’t find a saw palmetto-based cream, you may even drink saw palmetto tea. But if you have hormone-related health issues or are taking hormone medicines like birth control pills, ask your doctor first. Also avoid saw palmetto if you are on blood-thinning medicines.7 Interestingly, saw palmetto can also help cure male or female-pattern baldness.
How to use
- Use 2 tsps dried saw palmetto berries.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water on this.
- Steep for 30 minutes.
- Drink up to 2 times a day.8
3. Nut Grass Essential Oil
A study found that the nut grass (cyperus rotundus) essential oil when applied topically is as effective as alexandrite laser hair removal. The alexandrite laser is considered the most effective tool for hair removal. The flavonoids (antioxidants) in the oil have the ability to reduce the effect of male hormones on male-type or terminal hair.9
The experiment was performed on axillary (armpit) hair, but since chin hair in women is of the same hair type – that is, terminal hair – there’s reason to believe this method will work.
How to use: Apply nut grass essential topically on areas of overgrowth.
Fennel has an antihirsutism effect on idiopathic hirsutism. Researchers used creams containing 1% and 2% fennel extract on patients of idiopathic hirsutism and found that the cream containing 2% fennel extract could reduce the diameter of hair by 18.3%. This has to do with fennel’s estrogen-like property.10
How to use: You can use fennel seed extract or fennel oil topically.
You may know that licorice has medicinal value in fertility-related problems in women. The glycyrrhizic acid in it breaks down into compounds that have an estrogen-like activity and inhibit the synthesis of androgens.
A study found that when a 15% licorice gel was used along with alexandrite laser, it was more effective in removing terminal hair than when only the laser treatment was used.11
Drink licorice root tea twice a day unless you are suffering from hypertension.
Adding licorice to your diet will also have similar results. In one study on healthy women, researchers found that having 3.5 g licorice every day for 2 months reduced their serum testosterone levels from 27.8 ng/dL to 17.5 ng/dL at the end of the second month.12
How to use
- Take 1 tsp dried and sliced licorice roots.
- Simmer in 1 cup water for 10 minutes.
- Drink twice a day.13
6. Lavender And Tea Tree Oil
A study has found that applying a mixture of lavender and tea tree oil in areas with terminal hair can reduce both the hair count and the hair diameter.14
Both lavender and tea tree oil are known to mimic estrogen and inhibit androgens like testosterone and DHT. In fact, this effect is so pronounced that using lavender and tea tree oil led to breast development in a few pre-puberty boys.15
How to use: Apply a few drops of lavender oil and tea tree oil, after mixing them with a carrier oil, on the area with hair growth.
7. Papaya And Turmeric Paste
Papaya contains the protein-breaking enzyme papain that has a proven depilatory or hair-removing function.16 This enzyme is most active in raw papaya.
Turmeric, however, hasn’t shown any such effect, contrary to what is believed in India.17 It is possible that because turmeric tints both the skin and the hair yellow, the hair is less visible against the yellow skin. This is mistaken as reduced hair growth. However, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent that can ensure good skin health.
How to use
- Mix 2 tbsp of papaya and 1/2 tsp of turmeric into a thick paste.
- Massage onto the chin for 15 minutes.
- Wash off.
- Do this once or twice weekly.
Note: Don’t use the turmeric you use for cooking. It can have additional colors. Buy whole turmeric, grind it dry, and store for cosmetic use.
Other Possible Remedies
- White peony: It is a popular remedy in traditional Chinese medicine. It has a compound called paeoniflorin that not only inhibits the production of testosterone but also helps convert testosterone into estrogen. It can help you with your PCOS symptoms but whether it has any effect on hirsutism needs to be seen.18
- Black cohosh: It too has been known to help with reducing the effects of androgens and help with menopause symptoms. But its effect on hirsutism needs to be further researched. Black cohosh is a no-no if you have liver disease.19
- Chaste tree: A standardized extract of chaste tree is known to have anti-androgenic effects. However, it can also interfere with the hormonal balance.
- Red reishi: Red reishi mushroom has anti-androgenic properties. It inhibits the function of 5-alpha reductase and lowers the level of DHT. While this sounds promising, there has been no research on the direct effect of red reishi on hirsutism.20
- Green tea: Drinking or applying green tea on your hairy areas may also have a beneficial effect. Green tea contains catechins (epigallocatechin-3-gallate and epicatechin-3-gallate), which selectively inhibit the action of 5-alpha reductase.21
Remember that chin hair does not merely mar your appearance and self-confidence, it may indicate a health condition that needs to be fixed immediately. There are no quick fixes. If the root cause is PCOS, as it is most of the cases, you need to follow the right diet and exercise regularly. Before using any of these natural remedies, have a word with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
|↑1||Sachdeva, Silonie. “Hirsutism: evaluation and treatment.” Indian journal of dermatology 55, no. 1 (2010): 3.|
|↑2||Hirsutism in Women. American Family Physician.|
|↑3||Azziz, Ricardo, Enrico Carmina, and Marty E. Sawaya. “Idiopathic hirsutism.” Endocrine reviews 21, no. 4 (2000): 347-362.|
|↑4||Akdoğan, Mehmet, Mehmet Numan Tamer, Erkan Cüre, Medine Cumhur Cüre, Banu Kale Köroğlu, and Namik Delibaş. “Effect of spearmint (Mentha spicata Labiatae) teas on androgen levels in women with hirsutism.” Phytotherapy Research 21, no. 5 (2007): 444-447.|
|↑5||Hirsutism. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑6||YOUSEFI, MARYAM, B. Barikbin, S. Givrad, HAMIDEH MORAVEJ, and R. KHOUSHNOUDI. “THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE EXTRACT OF SERENOA REPENS (SAW PALMETTO) IN IDIOPATHIC FACIAL HIRSUTISM (LETTER TO EDITOR).” (2009): 139-140.|
|↑7||Hirsutism. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑8||Cichoke, Anthony J. Secrets of Native American herbal remedies: a comprehensive guide to the Native American tradition of using herbs and the mind/body/spirit connection for improving health and well-being. Penguin, 2001.|
|↑9||Mohammed, Ghada Farouk Abd El-Kaream. “Topical Cyperus rotundus oil: a new therapeutic modality with comparable efficacy to Alexandrite laser photo-epilation.” Aesthetic surgery journal 34, no. 2 (2014): 298-305.|
|↑10||Javidnia, K., L. Dastgheib, S. Mohammadi Samani, and A. Nasiri. “Antihirsutism activity of fennel (fruits of Foeniculum vulgare) extract–a double-blind placebo controlled study.” Phytomedicine 10, no. 6-7 (2003): 455-458.|
|↑11||Faghihi, Gita, Fariba Iraji, Bahareh Abtahi-Naeini, Bahar Saffar, Ali Saffaei, Mohsen Pourazizi, Abolfazl Aslani, and Mohammad Ali Nilforoushzadeh. “Complementary therapies for idiopathic hirsutism: topical licorice as promising option.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).|
|↑12||Armanini, Decio, Mee Jung Mattarello, Cristina Fiore, Guglielmo Bonanni, Carla Scaroni, Paola Sartorato, and Mario Palermo. “Licorice reduces serum testosterone in healthy women.” Steroids 69, no. 11 (2004): 763-766.|
|↑13||Balick, Michael. Rodale’s 21st-century Herbal: A Practical Guide for Healthy Living Using Nature’s Most Powerful Plants. Rodale, 2014.|
|↑14||Tirabassi, G., L. Giovannini, F. Paggi, G. Panin, F. Panin, R. Papa, M. Boscaro, and G. Balercia. “Possible efficacy of Lavender and Tea tree oils in the treatment of young women affected by mild idiopathic hirsutism.” Journal of endocrinological investigation 36, no. 1 (2013): 50-54.|
|↑15||Henley, Derek V., Natasha Lipson, Kenneth S. Korach, and Clifford A. Bloch. “Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils.” New England Journal of Medicine 356, no. 5 (2007): 479-485.|
|↑16||Traversa, Eduardo, Gláucia Maria Machado-Santelli, and Maria Valéria Robles Velasco. “Histological evaluation of hair follicle due to papain’s depilatory effect.” International journal of pharmaceutics 335, no. 1 (2007): 163-166.|
|↑17||Shaffrathul, Jasmine H., Prabhu S. Karthick, Reena Rai, and C. R. Srinivas. “Turmeric: Role in hypertrichosis and acne.” Indian Journal of Dermatology 52, no. 2 (2007): 116.|
|↑18, ↑19, ↑20||Grant, Paul, and Shamin Ramasamy. “An update on plant derived anti-androgens.” International journal of endocrinology and metabolism 10, no. 2 (2012): 497.|
|↑21||Liao, S. S., and Richard A. Hiipakka. “Selective-Inhibition of Steroid 5 α-Reductase Isozymes by Tea Epicatechin-3-Gallate and Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications 214, no. 3 (1995): 833-838.|