Why do we get more nose hair as we get older?

23 February 2016


A man's nose.



As we get old why do hairs grow down our nostrils?


Kat put this question to Chris Smith

Chris: - It isn't just confined to me. Everybody gets more hairy as they get older and the reason for this is that the hair that you have on your body is actually sensitive to androgens (these are testosterone-like chemicals) and, as you go through life, your testosterone exposure of your hair follicles that grow hair increases and so, therefore, you are destined to become hairier as you get older because testosterone encourages those hair follicles to grow more hair. Kat - And is this both men and women as well?

Chris - Yes it is, and specifically what testosterone or testosterone-like chemicals do is prolong what's called the anagen phase of hair. Hair goes through three phases: it has an anagen phase when the hair grows; it has a catagen phase when the hairs stops growing - the hair follicle switches off, the hair falls out; and then it goes into a telogen phase which is it's resting phase for a little while and then it starts growing again back to the start. The testosterone-like signals prolong the anagen phase, and the anagen phase dictates how long the hair's got to grow for, so therefore, you're going to get a longer hair if you make the anagen phase longer. So you will have the same number of hairs on your body but you will make thicker, bigger, longer hairs in response to testosterone. To come back to your question about women. Women are vulnerable to this but they tend to be less vulnerable until the age of the menopause because at the age of the menopause, the level of oestrogen in the bloodstream falls down and oestrogen reverses the effect on the hair follicle of testosterone - it stops the hair follicle responding to testosterone. So when the oestrogen level comes down a bit, the testosterone becomes - and women do have testosterone - it becomes more dominant and, as a result, you do see more hairs growing. Nose, ears, other parts of your body as well.

Kat - And what should you do about it? You know can you just pluck them out?

Chris - Very, very painful. I don't know if you've tried plucking nasal hair but some people say this is the strongest stimulus that you can succumb too.

Kat - Guys round the table - is there nose plucking here guys? No!

Chris - It makes you cry really, really profoundly but yes, you can trim them. It's a myth that if you trim hair it will grow back more. No evidence for that whatsoever! So you can comfortably clip and away and snip away at your nose and ear hair and you will do it with impunity - you'll be fine.

Kat - Ginny...

Ginny - Why does this only apply to nose hair and ear hair and basically and hair where you don't want it? Why does the hair on your head, particularly for men, get thinner with age then?

Chris - It does with women as well. And there is a conversion process of turning the testosterone in the bloodstream - or in women, testosterone-like chemicals - get converted into dihydrotestosterone in the scalp and, for some reason, certain populations of the hair follicles on the scalp are sensitive and they die in response to the build-up of testosterone there or the exposure to testosterone. The receptor that does this is on the X chromosome; men have only one X chromosome, but women have two. So if you have the variant of the gene that makes you susceptible to balding and you're a man, you have that and nothing else so you're destined to lose your hair in that male pattern. With women, because you have two chances - because there are two X chromosomes, and you randomly use one or the other all over your body - then you've actually got more chance that you won't see a loss of hair, and, also, the testosterone is lower to start with in a woman.


What age should your nose hair stick out because I’m 13 years old and my nose hair just sticks out of my nose

depends on the level of hormones

I can't believe after the age of 65 how many nose hairs I have & they do come out of your nose & I certainly want to trim them, it's disgusting to see when people don't take care of that. When women don't take care of the hair above their lip it looks like a mustache & OMG I can't stand it on me, so take care of it. My thoughts on the nose hair issue.
Laugh out Loud !!

For some weird reason I noticed nose hairs sticking out after getting some nose treatment at a skincare shop.
Can nose hairs stick out after a skincare routine on the nose? The staff there rubbed my nose very hard.
Couldn't find my tweezers so I plucked them out with my fingers but it didn't really hurt much at all. Some of them were cut off in the middle rather than pulled out from the roots, what if they grow longer after this?

I might be a bit ignorant on this regard, but what kind of skin care treatment is it, as I didn't know it involves going inside the nose, I knew about cleansing and exfoliating the pores of the nose sides and tip. I don't think rubbing the outside of the nose can have some effect on the inside, if you're talking about that.
Don't be afraid of trimming it, a hair strand can only grow of the length that has been trimmed off, no less and no more ;) and trimming is recommended over plucking, as, especially on the nose, plucking can expose the skin. Unless the treatment involved minoxidil it's unlikely it actually contributed anyway. Otherwise tell me what they did, it might work on my hair. (:

- "It's a myth that if you trim hair it will grow back more. No evidence for that whatsoever!"
You kidding me? Plucked or trimmed. Myth or not. My nasal hair has grown out longer and thicker to the point
that it's unbearably curling out of my nose. And oh how I try not to resort to trimming, but it get so irritating when it's growing out one side of the nasal cavity just so it can graze or even stab on to the other. -_-##

Is it a myth shaving nose hair completely makes you more vulnerable to cold and sickness because of hair holding particles.
It should be a myth that hair grows stronger and longer if shaved, but even if it did, couldn't you simply keep shaving or trimming it, why let it grow that long (:. I trim or shave it periodically if it's not Tmi ^_^

Ok, the scientific reason is what you are stating, but why do our bodies decide that now we need tufts of hair out our noses, ears and thicker eyebrows. I think it goes back to our ancestors, and it is even effective today, it keeps insects out of those orifices and dust out of our eyes. When you're young you are quick enough to slap a moth coming near your ear, but when we get older our reactions fade, so our bodies compensate by making it more difficult for a critter to go into your nose/ ears / and nether regions.

Interesting theory, Mark! I'd not considered the speed and agility decline with age aspect!

Add a comment