Why does facial hair grow longer as we age?
As we age, our bodies undergo various changes due to aging. While our hair may fall out, our eyebrows and nasal hair, in particular, can become increasingly longer, with nasal hair even protruding from the nostrils. Our complexion may also appear darker. Why do these changes happen?
Hormonal changes cause longer nasal hair
In fact, as we age, there is a tendency for nasal hair to become longer due to hormonal changes. Testosterone, a male hormone, combines with 5-alpha-reductase enzymes during the aging process, resulting in a substance called dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT reaches the hair follicles in the eyebrows, nasal passages, and chin, creating a growth-promoting factor (IGF-1) that makes the hair grow longer. This is why middle-aged men require more nasal hair maintenance.
However, pulling out nasal hair indiscriminately is not recommended. Nasal hair helps regulate moisture and temperature, as well as filtering out foreign substances and playing a role in our nasal immune response. If nasal hair is forcefully removed, it can cause skin damage to the hair follicles, leading to inflammation, and in severe cases, infection, meningitis, or sepsis. People with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly or those with chronic illnesses, need to be especially careful. Therefore, when trimming nasal hair, it is best to use dedicated scissors to cut the tips of the hairs that protrude from the nostrils. If using a trimmer, it is important not to insert it too deeply.
Darkening complexion due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation and other factors
As we age, our complexion may also appear darker compared to when we were younger. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation stimulates melanocytes in the skin, making it look relatively coarse and with many blemishes, such as age spots. In particular, seborrheic keratosis, which looks like a wart or mole, appears frequently on faces, necks, arms, and hands with high sebum secretion. Initially, it appears as a small water droplet-shaped spot, but over time it becomes larger and darker as the cells containing melanin pigment clump together. Seborrheic keratosis is thought to be related to aging, as it tends to appear after the age of 40. There is also research indicating that the more exposure to sunlight and UV radiation, the more frequent the occurrence of seborrheic keratosis.
To brighten dull skin and prevent seborrheic keratosis, it is essential to use sunscreen. Applying sunscreen can prevent not only seborrheic keratosis but also freckles, wrinkles, and UVA radiation that causes skin aging. It is recommended to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours.