Why is my ear hair growing faster as I age?

23 May 2017

old man

old man

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Question

So I'm getting older and for example my eyesight is deteriorating which I find understandable. But why do other parts of the body speed up? Why are my ears growing hair like never before?

Answer

Chris Smith put Stefan’s question to Andrew Holding of Cambridge University...

Andrew - This is a problem many of us face, sadly, and that’s as we get older certain parts of our body start growing more hair and other parts start growing less hair. This is for several reasons but you may notice that it’s generally men who suffer from this. I don’t know about you Chris, do you?

Chris - Well, I have noticed that actually the hairs in my nose seem to grow longer as I’ve got older. I haven’t noticed them being more numerous but I’ve certainly noticed that they seem to get longer before they fall out.

Andrew - Maybe the good thing for you about that is that you’ve got lots of testosterone because that’s what’s causing these to grow. So the hairs in your nose basically go through three different phases and the phase which makes them grow longer, that phase is caused by the amount of testosterone you have. As you get older and as that testosterone has more of an effect because you’ve just had it for longer, that phase seems to gradually get bigger and bigger. It’s also why women are generally protected from this.

Chris - So a person like Stefan says they’re getting hairier as they’re getting older, it’s because the testosterone that they’re being exposed to is making hairs on the body grow relatively for longer before they fall out. So, it’s not that you’re becoming hairier, it’s that more hairs grow for longer so you notice them more?

Andrew - Yeah. And your eyebrows also grow longer and you get to that fateful moment where the hairdresser says do I need to trim your eyebrows?

Chris - It hasn’t happened to me yet.

Andrew - Fingers crossed.

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