Have you ever woken up, feeling refreshed and ready to face your day when you suddenly spot a surprise something in the mirror? Do you have that single strand of rogue hair, sometimes thick and coarse, growing apparently randomly from unusual areas of your body, such as the cheek, chin, or elbow?
You’re not alone in facing this problem, and don’t worry – it’s completely harmless, if only aesthetically displeasing to some. Read on to find out what causes this random growth spurts of hair and what you can do about them.
Why do these strange hair grow from random spots?
Every single hair strand on your body is produced by a hair follicle, which grows in different phases. There is a growth (anagen) phase, a cessation (catagen) phase where the blood supply is cut off from the follicle and the hair stops actively growing, and lastly, a rest (telogen) phase, where the hair strand eventually becomes brittle and drops off. Once the hair has dropped off, the hair follicle is stimulated to begin the growth phase again and the cycle repeats itself.
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We all know that our skin is covered in hair follicles from head to toe, but different body areas have different “instructions” on the sort of hair to grow. You would expect thick and long strands of hair growing out of your scalp, but not your face or hand, for example. However, our body occasionally gets things mixed up too!
The hair strands on your face, arms, back, etc. are naturally programmed to grow much thinner and finer, and to stop growing at a certain length short enough for the strand to look almost invisible on your skin. However, sometimes one of these hair follicles misses the memo and continues to stay in the growth phase for a much longer time, pumping in more nutrients and cells to produce that long, thick and dark hair strand that seemingly pops out of nowhere. As previously mentioned, the appearance of these rogue hairs is harmless and benign, but if you should experience rapid growth of denser patches of hair on unusual areas of the body, do seek medical advice from a doctor!
This miscommunication within your body could have been caused by a wide variety of factors, such as medications, genetics, pregnancy, menopause, or simply hormonal fluctuations. Whatever it is, they’re generally hard to prevent, but you can take your own steps to remove them if they should prove unsightly!
How do I get rid of these rogue hairs?
The easiest and fastest way of removing rogue hairs is tweezing, which is self-explanatory and an inexpensive method of hair removal. Whether it’s on your cheek, chin, arm, elbow, or leg, tweezing is probably the method that most of us would instinctively turn to in order to remove that rogue hair strand. Don’t worry, tweezing is not going to make your hair grow out thicker and darker. If you find a rogue hair strand there again, it’s simply because the hair follicle is stubbornly rebellious, rather than your tweezing producing a regrowth of it.
With every other part of your body, simply shaving the rogue hair is yet another simple and pain-free option of removing it. Just like tweezing, there is no evidence to show that your hair will grow back coarser or darker from shaving. However, the downside of shaving is that it could give you a stubble. A single stubble on your arm or elbow would probably not bother most people, but if the rogue hair happens to be on your face, chin or jaw, you may want to reconsider pulling out your razor and go for the tweezers instead.
There are a few scenarios in which you might want to consider seeking a professional hair removal service rather than doing it yourself. Firstly, if your hair growth occurs in patches rather than a single strand, and tweezing is too tedious an option to think about. Secondly, if your hair growth occurs in an area that you cannot see or reach yourself, you might need someone else’s help to pluck out the offending rouge strand(s). Whichever the case, there is generally little difference between waxing and threading, and it’s simply up to your own preference! Take note that if you are using chemical exfoliants on your skin, or both topical and oral types of isotretinoin preparations, you may want to avoid both waxing and threading as there will be a higher chance of skin irritation.
If your rogue hair just won’t give up in popping back every now and again, and you want a clean break from it, other options you can consider are electrolysis and laser hair removal. With electrolysis, a needle is inserted into the single rogue hair follicle and it is treated with a combination of heat and chemicals that kills the hair follicle. Alternatively, IPL treatments can also be used on an isolated strand or patch of rogue hairs. The downside to both these options is that they can be pretty costly, and require multiple sessions to achieve the optimal result.
Whichever method you prefer to remove that rogue strand of hair, or if you prefer to embrace that stubbornly persistent follicle as part of your life, just be assured that these rogue strands of hair are not only completely harmless, but also occur more frequently than you’d expect in both women and men. You’re not alone in this!