Loss of eyebrows and eyelashes is medically termed as superciliary madarosis. Like all other hair on your body, eyebrows also have a shedding and regeneration cycle. It is not noticeable as the thickness and quality of the eyebrows is maintained consistently throughout the cycle. But, if there is a sudden change in the pattern of eyebrow loss which includes thinning, excessive shedding, and balding without regeneration, the condition is madarosis.
Madarosis is caused due to various reasons ranging from nutritional deficiencies to autoimmune disorders and mentioned below are the same.
Causes Of Eyebrow Loss
1. Excessive Plucking
Eyebrows provide a frame to your face. Plucking them for a neater appearance is a common beauty practice. Every time the eyebrows are plucked, the hair follicles get damaged. Repeated plucking results in an irreversible damage to the follicles, which voids their ability to grow the hair. This results in balding or thinning of eyebrows. It is, therefore, suggested that you pluck them only when you see excess growth.
Using brow makeup is also a cause, as frequent rubbing and vigorous use of brow pencils and dyes damage the hair follicles.
Hair thinning is one of the common traits of aging. In women, especially, menopause brings in a lot of physical and emotional changes which are attributed to the reduced levels of estrogen hormone. It affects the hair follicles by hindering their regeneration capability. Nutritional and hormonal therapies which focus on maintaining normal levels of estrogen have shown effective results.
3. Nutritional Deficiencies
The importance of a protein and vitamin-rich diet cannot be emphasized enough. A deficiency of vitamin A, B, D, E, iron, and amino acid (building block of protein) L-lysine causes severe thinning of not just eyebrows but also scalp hair. This can be overcome by consuming foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein. Some of the rich sources are legumes, meats, spinach, kale, carrots, beans, whole grains, eggs, bell pepper, nuts, and cheese.
Nutritional supplements also help regain the lost hair. Make sure you consult with your doctor before starting on any nutritional supplements.
4. Autoimmune Disorders
An autoimmune disorder is a condition in which the immune system of the body treats the body’s own cells as foreign objects and in defense, attacks them.
Alopecia areata is one such disorder, which primarily attacks the hair follicles, causing temporary hair fall and inflammation. It can affect any hair-bearing part of the skin and eyebrows are one of them. Corticosteroid injections are usually administered at the site of hair loss, which helps in the regrowth of hair. Naturopathy treatments include acupuncture, use of essential oils, and nutritional supplements. The regrown hair, however, might have a different color and texture.
Lupus is also an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the healthy tissues of the joints, vital organs, and skin leading to inflammation and pain. Thinning of eyebrows and scalp hair is one of its symptoms. This condition though doesn’t have a cure can be managed through corticosteroids and immunosuppressant drugs.
An underactive thyroid gland leads to a condition known as hypothyroidism. Losing scalp hair and thinning of the eyebrows are the late signs of this condition. The thinning out usually occurs in the lateral third of the eyebrows, known as Queen Anne’s sign.
While mainstream treatment includes thyroid replacement medications, the naturopathic approach focuses on including nutrients rich in the thyroid-supporting hormone. Some of them are zinc, iodine, selenium, and tyrosine present in seaweed, protein, nuts, and seeds.
Chemotherapy often causes temporary hair loss in all the parts of the body and eyebrows are one of them. The hair loss usually starts two to three weeks after the treatment begins and continues until the end of the treatment. However, the hair regrows post the completion of the treatment and a therapy for regrowth is not necessary.
7. Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema characterized by the formation of red and itchy patches on the skin. When it affects the area around the eyes, it leads loss of eyebrows accompanied by inflammation. Administering corticosteroids at the site of hair loss will usually regrow the hair in a quick span. Make sure you stay away from cosmetics when getting treated for this condition.
8. Hansen’s Disease
Caused by Mycobacterium leprae, Hansen’s disease is commonly known as leprosy. It mainly causes skin lesions and nerve damage in various parts of the body. The condition often results in the permanent loss of eyebrows and in some cases, loss of sensation in the area due to severe nerve damage.
Identifying the underlying health condition helps is getting a quick and accurate treatment. When a disease is not the reason for the same, one can prevent further damage to the eyebrows by optimal plucking, eating a balanced diet, and using eyebrow makeup moderately.