I have recently pledged to myself that I would remain open and honest about the natural occurrences of hair on my body. When I was only about 8 or 9 I started growing hair in all sorts of places. My mother told me it was normal, so I didn’t think much of it. Though, at times, it still felt abnormal and embarrassing. I wasn’t showing off my hair to anyone because I was 8. But I was living in my own body and as I watched my body evolve, I began self-critical of my hair growth. Sound familiar?
Let’s talk about one pesky spot that hairs may pop up: your nipples. Don’t worry, if you spot a hair around your nipples, you’re not alone. Personally, I have a colony of hair growing around my nipples and I often try to ignore it. It’s only natural, right? When I first started dating my fiance, I was very upfront that I had an unusual amount of hair on my nipples. When we started showering together, he got a first-hand look at what I meant.
He didn’t flinch.
He didn’t care, honestly. This is coming from a guy with a hairy chest, hairy legs, and pretty much a hairy existence.
He has always told me that I am beautiful and we often laugh about my nipple hair, making cutesy jokes about how alive it looks! It has a funny way of falling out on its own when it reaches a certain amount, so there are periods when I am hairless in the area and then there are periods when the hair gets totally out of control.
There isn’t a book written on nipple hair (although I will continue to search), but there are a few important facts we need to drill into our minds:
- Nipple hair is OKAY
- Nipple hair is NORMAL
- Nipple hair DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE A HEALTH CONDITION
- Nipple hair appears because we ALL have hair follicles around our nipple region
It is estimated 30% of women have nipple hair. The numbers are probably a little higher but the sense of embarrassment is so great that many aren’t willing to admit it.
Nipple hair is greatly influenced by hormone levels and often fluctuates depending on a number of factors.
While some nipple hair growth is associated with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), not all hair should be linked to this conclusion. In fact, PCOS has a number of overarching symptoms that are considered much more alarming and are reasons to see a healthcare provider. It’s important to these symptoms:
- Insulin resistance
- Irregular menstrual cycles (during menopause)
- Infertility in women
- Sleep apnea
- Diabetes and high blood pressure
- Depression and anxiety
Hairy nipples can be hereditary (so be sure to check in with mamma bear), could be associated with hyperthecosis, or could begin sprouting after taking medications such as Danazol, Phenytoin, or Minoxidil.
Our culture considers hair icky. You don’t have to feel that way. When I feel a sense of ickiness, which often comes when I see others criticizing hair, I think about my roots. We were put on this earth as hairy beings and we should leave hairy beings. Embrace that nipple hair. I know I have.