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Beacon Senior News

Hanging by a hair

May 05, 2020 10:51AM ● By Melanie Wiseman

How to cope with unwanted fuzz

Years ago, I had a hair-raising experience. After cross-country skiing in a blizzard, my husband, Dan, and I stopped to warm up at a public establishment. Quite a while later, I passed a mirror only to see a monster staring back at me—wild snakes of mascara streaked down both sides of my face clear to my neck.

No doubt that Dan (and everyone else) had noticed, but I guess since he loves me—flaws and all—he was willing to overlook the mess. At least that’s what I told myself.

Even though I urged him to point these things out in the future, when he informed me of a long hair growing out of my chin some years later, I said, “That’s not possible!”.

There must be something wrong with me. Only men have coarse facial hair! Women have faint “peach fuzz.” Was I a freak of nature or were other women silently going through this same experience?

I was in my early 50s then. Now, 10 years later, I watch for those sneaky chin hairs to pop up before Dan has a chance to point them out.

One of the main causes of facial hair in women is hormones—particularly male hormones. Since male hormones surge in us during puberty and menopause, these are the times when hair growth can take on a life of its own.

Men also get wild hairs as they age. Some look like chia pet plants with long hair protruding from ears and noses. While the fine, downy hair in our ears and noses serve as filters from dust particles, long hairs are a sign of later-life changing hormones.

You can accept that explanation, or this one: As men lose hair on their head, it’s looking for another escape route.

I frequently notice women gesturing to their male partners about food caught in the corner of their mouth or mustache, and picking lint from their sweater. It baffles me that we don’t extend the same kind gesture to bushy, wayward nose and ear hair. Or maybe we do, and men feel it’s new masculine hair replacing what once was on top, or a new crop of hair they don’t have to shave every day like their face.

I don’t want to insult, but I’ll just put it out there: Electric trimmers are inexpensive, simple to use and an easy solution. (Just sayin’)

As for ears and noses appearing to get bigger as we age, that’s actually just a trick of gravity. Isn’t aging fun?

Denial is one road to take as we age, but keeping our sense of humor and rolling with the surprises life hands our bodies is a lot more fun.