Science Questions

Why do hairs grow in my nose?

Sun, 5th Nov 2006

Part of the show Naked Science Q&A and Record Breaking Fireworks

Question

James in Caister asked:

When I got towards retirement age, I started to get hairs growing out of my nose and my ears. Why?

Answer

Unfortunately, blokes seem to get hairier as they get older. It's to do with testosterone - the hormone that makes us uniquely male. It makes hair grow on some parts of the body, makes your skin greasier, and makes hair fall out on the top of your head. The hairs in your nose and ears do have an important job, as they filter out large lumps of dust or fluff that would damage your lungs. Testosterone just makes them grow thicker and longer. It seems to be an exposure effect so over time we get hairier and hairier, and there is not a lot we can do about it apart from investing in a nose clipper.

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