Read below about coarse hair, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your coarse hair from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Rough hair
Thick hair

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Coarse Hair Symptoms

Hair comes in all lengths and colors and can be found all over the body. We are mammals, after all, however, particular aspects of our hair may warrant a closer look.

Each of our hairs is composed of protein strands and rooted in our skin. Every strand lives for two to seven years before falling out and being replaced. Much like the rest of our body, hair changes in thickness and color as we age.

Coarse hair has the largest diameter of all hair textures and contains the cortex, cuticle, and medulla. Maybe coarse hair is the norm for you, and you're already familiar with some over-the-counter products that can help manage it. But, if coarse hair appears where it was not before, it may be the sign of a medical condition.

And, since hair largely grows on the exterior of the body, symptoms are easy to spot.

Checking to see if any of the following apply will be beneficial in identifying if you have coarse hair:

  • Dry hair ends
  • Thick patches of hair
  • Hair that is rough or hard to the touch
  • Hair that is difficult to work with

Coarse hair on the head can be normal, hereditary, and, in many cases, desired. Hair product manufacturers specifically advertise products that add volume and thickness to hair, both of which are components of coarse hair.

Concern over coarse hair is typically minimal, however, when coarse hair begins to grow unexpectedly, other factors may be in play.

Coarse Hair Causes Overview

Most people have hair covering one or more parts of their body. In fact, hair growth on people occurs on all but a handful of places on the human body. If your normal hair is coarse, it is likely due to genetics. If your hair is not typically coarse, but coarse hairs are beginning to appear, there are several potential causes.

Hereditary coarse hair causes:

  • Family Tree: Your family background and ethnicity influence your hair texture in different ways.
  • Systemic Disease: Unusual hair texture may also result from inherited genetic syndromes.

Medical coarse hair causes:

  • Hormonal Imbalance: Over- or underproduction of several types of hormones has been known to cause the growth of coarse hair. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Pituitary Cushing's and tumors have also been linked to coarse hair symptoms.

Environmental coarse hair causes:

  • Medicinal: Several medicines have been linked to the growth of coarse hair including testosterone, DHEA, anabolic steroids, and Minoxidil.

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Coarse Hair

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced coarse hair. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

    Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common hormone disorder characterized by irregular periods, acne, and fertility issues.

    Symptoms are well controlled with medicines including combined hormonal birth control.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, depressed mood, painful periods
    Symptoms that always occur with polycystic ovary syndrome:
    oligo/amenorrhea or hyperandrogenism
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Coarse Hair Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having coarse hair.

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  2. 2.Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped organ inside the neck, no longer produces adequate levels of hormones. Thyroid hormones are essential for many bodily functions including breathing, heart rate, and metabolism.

    Most cases of hypothyroidism require lifelong hormone replacement therapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, muscle aches
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Low Calcium Level

    Hypocalcemia is a condition where there is not enough calcium in the blood. Calcium is a mineral contained in the blood, which helps the heart and other muscles function properly, and is needed to maintain strong teeth and bones.

    Problem should go away with home care within weeks.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, shortness of breath, irritability, general numbness, tingling foot
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Coarse Hair Treatments and Relief

If your coarse hair symptoms are sudden and you have other coinciding symptoms, then it may be time to call your doctor.

Consult your doctor if coarse hair is found in conjunction with:

  • Weakness or pain in the back and/or head
  • Acne
  • Changes in weight
  • Mental changes
  • Excessive hair growthm (females)
  • Seizures
  • Problems with menstrual periods
  • Trouble losing weight
  • Diabetes

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms along with coarse hair, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment with a physician. The conditions listed above do not lend themselves to home remedies. Over-the-counter pain medication may provide temporary relief, but only a doctor can determine if the symptoms are related and what the underlying cause may be.

Professional coarse hair treatments:

  • Prescription Medications: Your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications to help manage the growth of coarse hair.
  • Removal: Professional techniques such as electrolysis provide some form of temporary or permanent removal.
  • Surgery: Certain surgical procedures may be necessary if hormonal imbalances are the result of pituitary issues. A pituitary tumor causing coarse hair, among other things, requires surgical removal.

At-home coarse hair treatments:

  • Removal: Controlling coarse hair can be done through a variety of at-home treatment including shaving, chemicals, and waxing.
  • Hair products: A wide range of hair products designed to manage coarse hair on the head are available.

Oftentimes, coarse hair is unavoidable. Thyroid disorders and hormonal imbalances are treatable. If, however, your coarse hair is natural and expected, but difficult to manage, you may simply need one of the wide range of hair products that can help you have your hair looking and feeling its best.

FAQs About Coarse Hair

Here are some frequently asked questions about coarse hair.

Why has the texture of my hair changed?

As we age, our hair texture changes, but textural changes may also be the result of genetic syndromes or from the use of certain medications. Issues with the pituitary gland, for example, have been known to alter hair texture and the use of testosterone, anabolic steroids, and DHEA can change hair texture as well.

Can certain medications affect the coarseness of my hair?

Medications can affect hair in a variety of ways. The pituitary gland and the thyroid can play a significant role in hair texture, and medications for either can affect coarseness. Steroids and testosterone can also affect hair growth and texture.

How do I stop my hair from breaking off?

When hair is stripped of its natural oils it can become stiff and brittle. Conditioners can help moisten the hair and using softer brushes or combs will further limit damage. Adding combinations of cider vinegar and oils to hair can also help restore its strength.

Is coarse hair hereditary?

Genetics and ethnicity are both important factors in determining hair texture. Your hereditary may simply help define the coarseness of your hair or result in genetic disorders that can cause the coarseness to change.

Why is my pubic hair so coarse?

Pubic hair is typically developed during puberty as a result of increased levels of androgens in men and estrogen in women. The hair is often coarser in nature than hair found on the rest of the body. Coarse hair can also sometimes be a sign of genetic disorders or caused by certain medications.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Coarse Hair

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Have you lost any hair lately?
  • Q.Have you had any changes in your weight?
  • Q.Do you have dry skin?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our coarse hair symptom checker to find out more.

Coarse Hair Quiz

Coarse Hair Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced coarse hair have also experienced:

    • 11% Hair Loss
    • 4% Fatigue
    • 3% Rash With Bumps or Blisters
  • People who have experienced coarse hair were most often matched with:

    • 40% Low Calcium Level
    • 30% Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
    • 30% Hypothyroidism
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having coarse hair

Coarse Hair Quiz