If you’re here, you’re probably freaking out about the fact that your eyebrow hair is shedding; it’s getting patchier by the day, or maybe you’re on the verge of losing them entirely.
The timing’s also wrong. Even though eyebrow trends are fickle, it seems as if the thick, bushy brow trend is going to stick around a little longer. So, the pain of eyebrow hair loss, also known as eyebrow madarosis, may just be ten times worse.
You only understand the importance of these hair strips once you start losing them. That’s because only then do you realize how much they contribute to facial attractiveness.
Sure, they also protect the eyes and help with facial expressions. Their positioning, shape, and thickness all matter.
According to a study, the thickness of the eyebrows, a prominent jawbone and vertical facial height are traits that people find attractive and look for in their romantic partners.
What Causes Eyebrow Hair Loss?
Brace yourself; it’s going to be a long list.
This is when the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy hair follicles, which results in their shedding: diffuse thinning or patchy hair. Different autoimmune conditions specifically result in eyebrow hair loss.
It results in the development of small circular bald patches, leading to hair loss in different parts of the body or all over.
Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA)
The exact cause of frontal fibrosing alopecia isn’t known. However, it is thought to be an autoimmune disease. It is a type of scarring alopecia, occurring due to inflammation. And it can permanently destroy the hair follicles, leaving scar tissue behind.
Slowly, it causes a recession of the hairline. However, it begins with eyebrow hair loss. This condition usually affects women after menopause and can rarely occur in men. Currently, there is no cure for frontal fibrosing alopecia.
It results from the overproduction of skin cells which leads to the formation of red or white thick, scaly patches. It’s another autoimmune condition that stops hair growth. Psoriasis affects the skin and doesn’t directly cause eyebrow hair loss. The intense itching, however, can cause breakage.
Discoid Lupus Erythematosus (DLE)
It is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the skin and results in inflammation, scarring and disc-shaped plaques that may be raised or flat. It can also cause loss of hair in the eyebrows.
Other Autoimmune Conditions
There are other rare autoimmune conditions that can result in eyebrow madarosis, such as Parry-Romberg syndrome, Graham-Little syndrome, Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada (VKH) disease, and en coup de sabre (ECDS).
Eyebrow hair loss can occur as a result of viral, bacterial and fungal infections.
Ringworm or tinea capitis is a fungal infection that can affect the hair follicles of the eyebrows. You might notice bald, circular patches with dark black spots. The hair around is also bent. Being contagious, it is a common cause of hair loss in children.
Syphilis can result in scarring and non-scarring eyebrow hair loss.
Leprosy is another highly contagious, infectious disease that causes skin sores and nerve damage. Eyebrow loss also occurs in this disease.
Another common bacterial infection that can cause thinning eyebrows due to follicular inflammation is folliculitis.
Among viral infections, herpes simplex can cause scarring alopecia, which can cause permanent eyebrow hair loss.
Usually, people with HIV experience hair loss because of other diseases that develop due to the weakening of the immune system. The medications for this viral infection can also result in eyebrow hair loss.
Since hair follicles reside in the skin, any condition affecting the skin will also impact hair growth. The following skin conditions commonly lead to hair loss in the eyebrows:
- seborrheic dermatitis, which results in overproduction of oil
- contact dermatitis, which causes inflammation when the skin comes in contact with an allergen
- atopic dermatitis (eczema)
- scarring from skin cancer
As you age, your hair gets thinner and smaller. You may also notice a change in the texture and pigmentation of your eyebrow hair. It’s only the natural way of things.
In women, hormonal fluctuation also accompanies ageing, which may cause further exacerbate eyebrow hair loss.
The over or underproduction of thyroid hormones disrupts the normal hair growth cycle. This can result in thyroid eyebrow hair loss. In this, it is important that you get your thyroid checked by a doctor. S/he may do a blood test for it.
Stress situations, such as pregnancy, childbirth, illness, and trauma induce a kind of eyebrow hair loss known as telogen effluvium. Usually, the hair starts growing back after 3 months, but it can result in temporary eyebrow loss.
The irresistible urge to pluck hair from the eyebrows can leave them bare and patchy. People with this mental disorder find it hard to stop themselves from doing so.
Another reason for the disruption of the hair growth cycle is none other than nutritional deficiencies. Zinc, mineral, iron, and vitamin deficiencies can all cause hair loss. According to one study, a diet poor in fatty acids can also cause eyebrow hair loss.
For a lot of people, that’s the reason why their eyebrow hair ends up thinning. Over-plucking and waxing can permanently damage the hair follicle. This can also cause permanent baldness.
Some other reasons for eyebrow hair loss include:
- side effects of medications
- overuse of makeup
- genetic disorders
How To Stop Eyebrow Hair Loss?
Different treatments for different types of eyebrow hair loss are available. You should not solely rely on “doctor internet” to diagnose yourself and start any treatment. Make sure to talk to your doctor about it. Let’s take a look at the following hair loss solutions for your eyebrows.
There’s no FDA-approved eyebrow hair loss treatment. However, topical steroid creams help with inflammation that can cause eyebrow hair loss. Your doctor may prescribe you those. Then there’s minoxidil, the vasodilator, that can help promote hair growth.
If it’s a nutritional deficiency causing eyebrow loss, you need to act accordingly. Speak with your doctor to find out the kind of nutritional deficiency you have. You may then have to take biotin, zinc, iron, or vitamin supplements for your eyebrow hair loss treatment.
The nutritional powerhouse castor oil can help reduce inflammation and play a role in balancing hormones, which can stimulate hair growth in the eyebrows.
Microblading fills the patchy, bald areas in the eyebrows with a pigment of the person’s choosing. This eyebrow hair loss treatment is temporary, so the pigment will start to fade away after some time. You need to have regular touch-ups for it.
Don’t Go Overboard with Grooming Sessions
Don’t stress or further damage the eyebrow hair through excessive brow grooming sessions. You need to be very careful when plucking, waxing, or threading your hair. You can cause permanent damage to the hair follicle.
One of the most effective eyebrow hair loss treatments is an eyebrow transplant. If no medication, hormone replacement therapy, supplements, or home remedies are working, you should consider this brow loss solution.
The surgeon will take hair follicles from the donor area in the scalp and transplant them to your eyebrows. Eyebrow transplant is most suitable for those who’ve experienced permanent hair loss and cannot grow it back (permanently) through other treatments.
Mental health problems, such as stress, anxiety, depression, and trichotillomania (which may result from anxiety), can cause hair loss in the eyebrows. In such cases, you need to seek the help of a medical professional.
Can You Prevent Eyebrow Hair Loss?
Sometimes there’s no way you can prevent this from happening. However, at others, you can do so by taking good care of your mental and physical health. Make sure that you are consuming a balanced diet.
Exercising can help with stress and improve blood circulation. You can also try massaging your eyebrow with different hair oils (be careful as some can clog pores).
How Much Eyebrow Hair Loss is Normal?
It is completely normal for you to lose a few strands of brow hair in a day. In fact, on average, it is normal to lose up to 10 strands. The hair isn’t permanently fixed into your eyebrows; it can and does fall. So, you should get worried immediately if some of them do end up shedding.
Also, keep in mind that the hair growth cycle for eyebrows is different. The growth phase only lasts for a few weeks. For 2-4 months, they stay in the telogen phase before shedding.
It’s important to get your hair checked if you are losing hair in patches, have an itchy, red, dry scalp, or have any symptoms of the diseases/disorders listed above.
To Sum Up
Eyebrow loss affects many people for different reasons. It is important that, before starting any treatment, you get a diagnosis for it. Early treatment can prevent permanent damage to the hair follicle. If the eyebrow hair loss is permanent, only an eyebrow transplant can give you permanent results.
Reviewed and Approved by Dr. Hassan Soueid.