Eyebrow hair loss can be a distressing problem and may occur due to several different factors. The good news is that a range of effective nonsurgical and surgical treatments are available to restore the appearance of thinning eyebrows.
Eyebrows are prominent features that enhance your appearance and play an important role in communication – through facial expression – and in protecting the eyes. The arched shape of eyebrows helps to divert debris, dirt, and moisture, such as sweat and rain, to the sides of the face and prevent it from falling into the delicate eye area.
Hair loss from the eyebrows is not uncommon, particularly as we age. It can occur for several reasons, ranging from hormonal changes to skin conditions. Treatment for thinning eyebrows can vary depending on the root cause of the condition.
What Causes Eyebrow Hair Loss?
The main causes of eyebrow hair loss include:
Thinning eyebrows are considered a natural part of the aging process. This is because there is a natural decline of hormones such as estrogen (in women) and testosterone (in men) which affect the hair growth cycle and the structure of the hair follicles. Generally, this hormone decline starts in the 40s, causing some hair follicles to stop producing hair growth and hair shafts to become finer. This may affect hair both on the scalp and in the eyebrows.
Skin conditions, such as atopic and contact dermatitis, may impact proper hair growth if the eyebrow area is affected. This is because the area can become inflamed, blocking the hair follicles from growing properly. These conditions can also cause the skin to become itchy, which may cause scratching and rubbing, leading to damage and loss of eyebrow hair.
The thyroid gland is a small gland in the front of the neck. It is responsible for producing hormones important for many bodily processes, such as regulating metabolism, which turns food into energy. When the thyroid doesn’t work properly, such as producing too much or too little hormone, the body’s normal processes – including hair growth – can be disrupted. Thinned or partly missing eyebrows can be a symptom of an underactive thyroid (where the gland does not produce enough hormones), alongside other symptoms such as weight gain, tiredness, muscle aches and weakness, and constipation. Thyroid disorders should be diagnosed immediately to ensure the condition is treated effectively.
To keep healthy, the human body requires a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Certain nutrients, particularly vitamins B12, D, E, zinc, iron, and biotin, are important for hair growth and health. If there is a nutritional deficiency, it can disrupt the normal hair growth cycle and result in hair thinning and hair loss.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that can cause the hair follicles to stop or slow down hair production in both the eyebrows and the scalp. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly targets and attacks normal tissues – in this case, the eyebrow follicles. Other autoimmune disorders, such as certain forms of lupus and psoriasis, may also result in eyebrow hair loss.
Certain medications, such as chemotherapy, can cause hair loss. Chemotherapy is specifically designed to affect all rapidly dividing cells, including hair follicles which can affect hair production in the eyebrows and elsewhere on the body. Other medications, such as cholesterol, anti-thyroid, and blood thinners, may also affect hair growth.
Over Plucking or Tweezing
Overplucking, tweezing, or pulling the eyebrow hairs can impair hair growth. The process causes minor trauma to the follicle, which can result in scarring around the hair follicles, preventing the regrowth of the hair in the affected area.
Psychological issues and periods of excessive stress or anxiety can contribute to hair loss, including hair from the eyebrows and other body areas. A traumatic event or major lifestyle change may be the root cause of hair loss.
Scar tissue may result from trauma, burns (chemical or thermal), or other skin conditions. Scar tissue can damage and destroy the hair follicles, preventing natural hair growth.
Telogen Effluvium (TE)
Telogen effluvium is a condition that causes temporary but often dramatic hair loss. It more commonly affects scalp hair, but it can also affect eyebrow hair in severe cases. The condition occurs when the normal hair growth cycle is interrupted and can be in response to stress caused by infection, surgery, or changes in the body chemistry.
How is Eyebrow Hair Loss Treated?
If you are experiencing hair loss from your eyebrows, there are a range of effective nonsurgical and surgical treatments to enhance natural hair growth or to make brows appear fuller and better defined.
If eyebrow hair loss is related to an underlying medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder, symptoms can improve once the condition is managed and treated effectively. You should visit your doctor for further investigation if you are experiencing other symptoms alongside eyebrow hair loss. Your doctor may request further tests, such as a blood test, to diagnose the underlying cause of your condition.
Over the years, it has become increasingly common for people to modify the shape of their eyebrows, and with recent changing trends, it has seen a demand for fuller, more defined eyebrows.
A range of cosmetic treatments and nonprescription products can help improve the appearance of the eyebrows or camouflage areas of thinning hair. Some camouflage products are applied to thinning hair to give the appearance of hair fullness. They come in a variety of colors to match natural hair color. There is also a range of makeup, such as tinted brow mascara, eyebrow pencils, pens, and powders to fill in sparse areas.
Microblading and microshading are types of semi-permanent makeup that can make brows look fuller and more natural in appearance. The treatment involves using a fine blade to apply a pigment (that matches your natural shade) in hair-like strokes or tiny dots to the skin in the brow line.
Eyebrow restoration is a type of hair transplant surgery similar to scalp hair restoration, a permanent solution for eyebrow hair loss. There are different transplant techniques available depending on your requirements and aesthetic goals. In most cases, scalp grafts are used for patients, and the ultra-refined follicular unit hair transplants (FUT) procedure is typically used. This involves removing hair in a small strip from the back of the scalp and relocating the individual follicles into the sparse eyebrow area.
To ensure desired results are achieved, your surgeon will discuss your expectations and the look you want to achieve, such as the eyebrows’ position, symmetry, and fullness. Eyebrows can be tailored to your face and a design that is unique to you.
For the procedure, your surgeon will outline your desired eyebrow shape with a surgical marker. You will then be able to make any changes to the outline and give your approval before the surgery. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area and to ensure your comfort and safety. The donor site hair follicles are removed, and each individual follicular graft is then meticulously placed within the outlined area at the correct angle and direction, resulting in the eyebrow shape and fullness you desire. On average, surgery takes approximately 3 – 4 hours.
Eyebrow Restoration in Tacoma, Seattle, and Spokane, Washington
If you are experiencing eyebrow hair loss and would like to discuss your treatment options, contact the dedicated team of professionals at Northwest Hair Restoration. We are leaders in the treatment of hair loss, and our goal is to help you maintain the hair you have and restore the lost hair.
We offer the latest advancements in hair transplant surgery, including follicular unit excision (FUE) and ultra-refined follicular unit transplantation(FUT) procedures, eyebrow transplants, facial hair transplants, and many more options to help you look and feel great.