What Causes Eyebrow Hair Loss and How is it Treated?
When people think of hair loss, they usually envision aging men going bald. Though this kind of hair loss—typically caused by androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness—is the most common, it’s far from the only form.
We also regularly treat patients experiencing hair loss on the face, including the eyebrows. Though it’s a tiny patch of hair, eyebrow loss can have a massive effect on a person’s appearance, personal style and self-esteem.
As difficult as it is to lose eyebrow hairs, for most people, it’s very possible to regain the eyebrows they once had. It just takes pinpointing the exact cause of the eyebrow hair loss and figuring out which solution is right for you.
What Causes Eyebrow Hair Loss?
There are many reasons why people might lose their eyebrow hair. Here are a few of the most common.
Depending on your genetics, both men and women experience hair loss throughout the body—including the eyebrows—as they age. Whether it is age alone, or the lower levels of hormone, body hair along with eyebrows are often the first areas to thin out.
Overplucking (Waxing or Threading)
One of the most common culprits behind thinning eyebrows is overplucking. By regularly pulling out hair, you’re causing minor but repetitive trauma to each follicle you pluck, wax or thread. In response, those hairs sometimes stop growing in altogether due to scarring of the follicle.
This frustrating auto-immune disorder causes hair to fall out most commonly in circular patches from the scalp, but sometimes includes the eyebrows. Doctors still don’t know what triggers an episode but, in mild cases, hair typically grows back when the disease is inactive.
Another more severe version of this condition, called Alopecia Universalis, causes the total disappearance of hair over the entire body.
A lack of vital nutrients like zinc or Biotin (vitamin B7) can hinder hair growth. Since these, and other nutrients including vitamins A, C, D, B12, Folate, iron, proteins and Amino Acids and Omega-3 fatty acids are all essential to healthy hair, a poor diet and deficiency of key nutrients can contribute to balding.
It’s not a myth that stress can cause your hair to fall out—and eyebrow hair is included. The condition, called telogen effluvium (TE), is caused by high stress and anxiety. This happens as stress can trigger hormone levels to fluctuate. Under duress, the body will shut off “non-essential” functions so it can focus on more important things.
As much as we love our brows, we don’t need them to live. If your body senses that it needs to go into survival mode, your hair could become a casualty.
Medication Side Effects
If you’re undergoing chemotherapy or taking certain drugs or medications, eyebrow hair loss can sometimes be an unwelcome side effect.
There are two different conditions related to the imbalance of thyroid hormones, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, and both types of imbalance can lead to eyebrow hair loss. Hypothyroidism has been linked to hair loss in the outer third of the eyebrow, which are the thinnest areas that point towards the ears.
Hair loss related to a thyroid issue is normally temporary and once the thyroid issue is treated, hair growth should return to normal.
How to Treat Eyebrow Hair Loss
In general, losing your hair can be an incredibly difficult and emotional problem. Thankfully, like most other kinds of hair loss, there are several proven solutions for regaining eyebrow hair.
In certain situations, like overplucking, stress or a medical side effect, eyebrow hair will eventually come back on its own. It just takes time, patience—and abstinence from whatever caused the hair to fall out in the first place.
Medications, Shampoos or Serums
There are medications (like Rogaine a.k.a. minoxidil) that are proven effective for hair loss of the scalp but not formulated for the eyebrows. Latisse (bimatoprost) is approved to lengthen slow growing eyelashes and is more well suited for the sensitive eye area like the eyebrows and can be effective.
However, this is an “off-label” use. Bimatoprost is a prostaglandin analog and there are some over-the-counter products with similar ingredients that could also be used on eyebrows but again, many are marketed for eyelashes.
Always talk to your doctor before starting any hair loss treatment. Some medications contain hormones and chemicals that can prove dangerous to you, or if you’re pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, could be harmful to your baby.
The most effective way to permanently regrow eyebrow hair is via a transplant.
This safe, minimally invasive procedure takes donor hair follicles from the back of the scalp just like a scalp hair transplant. Each follicle is then precisely transplanted into a tiny incision where your soon-to-be revived eyebrow will emerge. Hair transplant technicians will move as many hairs as needed to carefully sculpt the shape of your brows to match your unique face.
If you’re familiar with a scalp hair transplant, the entire process is quite similar. However, there are some notable differences between transplanting hair to the scalp vs. the eyebrow.
For one, eyebrow transplant recovery is usually less painful. This is because far fewer hairs are removed from the donor area and implanted. However, because of the sensitive skin around the eye, it’s very common to experience swelling and bruising for about one-week post-op.
Also, as your new eyebrow hairs begin to emerge, you will have to “train” them to grow like proper eyebrow hairs. After all, these former head hairs have never had to grow in waterfall-like fashion that most eyebrows do. This means that newly placed hairs can appear a little unruly at first.
With proper “training” though, this will only be temporary. Your surgeon will teach you how to train these hairs. We recommend a special gel that’s specifically formulated to groom your brows and guide them into fluid growth.
Ready to get the full eyebrows you’ve been dreaming of? Then trust our expert team at Limmer HTC! We have a long track record of performing lifechanging eyebrow transplants—and we’d love to create the perfect look for you. Click here for more information on the procedure. Then, set up a free consultation online or call us at (210) 496-9992.