The amount of hair on women's chins varies and appears thicker or longer for a variety of reasons, report the National Institutes of Health. When thick, coarse hairs appear on a woman's chest, lips, back or chin, the condition is called hirsutism. The unwanted hair grows similarly to men's beards on the chin.
Changes in hormone production often cause unwanted chin hair on women. While all women produce small amounts of the male hormones called androgens, hair begins to grow on the chin when a woman has an overabundance of the male hormones. The condition is not life-threatening or medically harmful. Most women with hormonal imbalances find the hair growth to be embarrassing, however, and seek ways to remove it. The cause of the increases in androgens is unknown. NIH researchers report that genetics most likely play a role because the condition runs in families. Certain ethnic groups of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern or South Asian decent are at a higher risk of developing the condition. Women with hirsutism also may have small breasts and larger muscles than other women.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is a common medical condition that causes an overabundance of chin hair. PCOS results from an imbalance of hormones and often causes additional symptoms as well as unwanted hair growth. Women with PCOS usually have trouble with their menstrual cycles, have a deeper voice and have difficulty losing weight. PCOS also can cause acne and diabetes. Sudden onset of hair growth, coupled with other symptoms, can signal the appearance of a tumor.
Cushing syndrome develops when a woman is exposed to high levels of cortisol, often seen in women taking steroids. Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone and prednisolone used to treat arthritis and asthma can cause Cushing syndrome and produce unwanted facial hair. At other times, the pituitary gland just produces too much ACTH hormones and causes the adrenal glands to excrete additional cortisol in the system. A tumor in the pituitary or adrenal gland also can cause the disorder. Tumors in the pancreas, thyroid glands or lungs also can cause Cushing syndrome.
Though rare, congenital adrenal hyperplasia can cause women to grow heavy coarse hair on their chins. In those born with the condition, the adrenal glands fail to produce enough cortisol, which causes strong male characteristics to from. Girls born with the birth defect also will have deep voices and early growth of pubic and underarm hair. They may have ambiguous genitals and abnormal or non-existent menstrual cycles. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia affects about one in 15,000 children.