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Should I wax my chin PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormone disorder that affects women. One of the symptoms of PCOS is hirsutism, which is excessive hair growth on the face, chest, back, or other areas where women typically do not grow hair. This can be distressing for many women. Chin hair and facial hair are common concerns for women with PCOS. If you have PCOS and are considering waxing your chin to remove unwanted hair, there are some important factors to consider. This article will provide an overview of PCOS and chin hair, discuss the pros and cons of waxing, and offer some alternatives to waxing for facial hair removal.

What is PCOS?

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects how ovaries function. It impacts up to 10% of women of reproductive age. The exact cause is unknown, but it seems to be related to insulin resistance. Common symptoms include:

  • Irregular, skipped, or absent menstrual periods
  • Infertility
  • Weight gain
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Acne
  • Male-pattern baldness

The excess androgen hormones linked to PCOS are what leads to hirsutism and abnormal hair growth. Women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of testosterone. Even small elevations can trigger new hair growth on the face, chin, chest, back, and abdomen.

Why Does PCOS Cause Chin and Facial Hair?

In women with PCOS, the ovaries produce more androgens like testosterone. These male hormones trigger hair follicles on the face and body. Hair may grow darker and more coarse as a result. The chin is a common problem area since there are more androgen receptors in that region.

Some additional reasons women with PCOS struggle with excess facial and chin hair include:

  • Increased sensitivity to androgens
  • Higher circulating levels of androgens
  • More androgen receptors in hair follicles
  • Higher conversion of weak androgens to testosterone

Genetics can also play a role. So if excessive hair growth runs in your family, you may be more predisposed. The hair growth pattern typically becomes noticeable after puberty when androgen levels rise.

Should I Wax My Chin if I Have PCOS?

Now that we’ve covered the link between PCOS and chin hair, let’s discuss whether waxing is a good option for removing it. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Pros of Waxing Chin Hair:

  • Provides smooth skin by removing the entire hair from the root when done correctly
  • Lasts 3-6 weeks generally, so provides longer-lasting results than shaving
  • Over time, may damage hair follicle and slow regrowth
  • Can be done at home or by a professional

Cons of Waxing Chin Hair:

  • Can be painful
  • Risk of skin irritation, redness, swelling, and ingrown hairs
  • Works best when hair is at least 1⁄4 inch long, so stubble may reappear quickly
  • Repeated waxing can damage skin over time
  • Not as effective for fine hair as coarse hair
  • Waxing alone will not prevent new hair growth like medication

Overall, waxing can be a good temporary solution for removing coarse chin hair and dead skin cells. However, since it only removes existing hair, it will not prevent new hairs from growing. It will also not treat the root hormonal cause of excess hair linked to PCOS.

Other Hair Removal Options

If you find waxing too painful, irritating, or impractical, there are other methods to remove unwanted chin hair:

Shaving –

Shaving is one of the quickest and easiest methods. It works for fine or coarse hairs. The results only last 1-3 days before stubble appears. It does not damage hair follicles. Redness and irritation are common side effects.

Depilatory Creams –

These creams contain chemicals that dissolve hair near the skin’s surface. They are left on for 5-10 minutes before scraping off the hair with a spatula. Results can last 7-14 days. Use can cause skin irritation and rashes for some.

Epilation Devices –

Epilators use rotating discs to grasp and pull out hairs. This can sting but provides smoother skin for up to four weeks. They work best on short, coarse hairs. Some redness may occur.

Electrolysis –

This permanent hair removal method uses a thin probe inserted into each hair follicle. An electric current is applied to destroy the follicle so hair cannot regrow. It takes numerous repeated treatments but can permanently reduce hair growth.

Prescription Medications –

Medications like spironolactone or oral contraceptives can treat the hormonal imbalance contributing to excess hair growth. They block androgen production and slow new growth. It may take 6 months to see results.

Should I See My Doctor?

If you are concerned about sudden unwanted chin or facial hair, it is a good idea to see your healthcare provider. They can check for elevated androgen levels via blood work to determine if PCOS or another medical condition could be causing hirsutism. Based on your exam and lab results, they may recommend:

  • Hormonal birth control pills to regulate menstrual cycles and reduce circulating androgens
  • Spironolactone or flutamide to block androgens
  • Metformin to improve insulin sensitivity
  • A topical eflornithine cream to slow facial hair growth
  • Referral to an endocrinologist (hormone specialist) for other treatment options

Treating the root hormonal imbalance can help slow further hair growth. But excess chin hair already present would still need to be removed via waxing, shaving, or other methods. Your doctor can help you decide on the best management approach based on your specific symptoms, medical history, and preferences.

What About Laser Hair Removal?

Laser hair removal is a popular option for getting rid of facial and body hair more permanently. A laser targets and heats up pigment in hair follicles to stop new growth. However, laser hair removal may not be the ideal choice for women with PCOS for a few reasons:

  • It works best on those with light skin and dark coarse hair. Women of color may be at risk for skin damage.
  • Its effectiveness is reduced in those with hormonal imbalances driving new hair growth like PCOS.
  • It often requires touch-up treatments every 6-12 months as hormones stimulate new hair regrowth.
  • The high cost of multiple treatments over a lifetime can add up.

Some women with PCOS do opt for laser hair removal to manage stubborn dark hairs. But for laser to work well, the underlying hormonal imbalance must be addressed first with medication. Otherwise results are temporary at best.

Tips for Waxing at Home

If you decide waxing is the easiest method for you to temporarily remove chin hair every few weeks, here are some tips for better results and preventing irritation:

  • Let the hair grow out at least 1⁄4 inch before waxing. Don’t wax over stubble.
  • Take an antihistamine like Benadryl before waxing to minimize inflammation.
  • Numb the skin with an ice pack or topical numbing cream first.
  • Use a warm wax instead of hot to avoid burns.
  • Apply powder or oil so wax only sticks to hair not skin.
  • Pull wax off in opposite direction of hair growth.
  • Avoid sun exposure and irritants for 24 hours after.
  • Apply aloe vera gel after to soothe skin.

Doing small patches first until you get used to the process can help lessen discomfort. See a dermatologist if you have concerns about repeated irritation, swelling, or breakouts after waxing.


Dealing with excess chin hair can be distressing whether it’s caused by PCOS, genetics, or other factors. Waxing is one temporary solution for smoothing the skin every few weeks. But since PCOS is a chronic hormonal condition, hair regrowth is likely without getting to the root cause. For more permanent reduction in growth, prescription medications combined with professional methods like electrolysis tend to produce better long-term results. The best approach is to consult your healthcare provider for testing and treatment options specific to your needs. With some trial and error, most women with PCOS can find an effective hair removal strategy that fits into their beauty routine.