Why Do I Have Nipple Hair?

Hair, hair everywhere.

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Nipple hair represented by two fluffy pom poms

Photo, iStock.

Our bodies grow hair in a plethora of annoying places. From chin to our toes, chances are you’ve got a spot you wish was a little smoother.
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The first thing to know is that what we’re calling nipple hair isn’t actually growing on your nipples. Technically, it’s your areola, or the more pigmented skin around your nipples. You should also know that you’re not alone if you have hair growing on your breasts.

There are no concrete numbers on how many people have areola hair. But, according to Charlotte Powers, Lead Fuzzologist Trainer at Fuzz Wax Bar in Toronto, “full chest waxes include nipple waxing, and that’s one of our most popular services.”

Areola hair is one of those leftover, evolutionary things that was once meant to keep us warm and protected. It might be growing because of hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy, higher levels of testosterone in the body, or a medication like immunosuppressants. But, it can also be a symptom of certain diseases, like polycystic ovary syndrome. So if you have other symptoms like irregular periods or lots of hair growing in other unexpected places, it might be worth a trip to the doctor.
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Regardless of where it’s coming from, if you want to remove it (and no judgment if you don’t, PS), you might be at a loss. Can you wax it? What might happen if you take your razor to it? Powers has some suggestions.

“It’s not an area I would recommend shaving,” she says. “One of the reasons is the potential for nicks, but most importantly, the hair around your nipples grows in different directions and the odds of someone following their natural hair pattern will be low.”

Instead, Powers recommends using something like a hard wax, which is more gentle for sensitive areas. And as with any waxing treatment, there are steps to follow afterwards to avoid ingrown hairs. “[Your nipples] should be gently exfoliated and moisturized the same as everywhere else that gets waxed.”