Causes of eyebrow hair loss
The growth cycle of our eyebrows typically lasts between 12 and 15 weeks. The anagen phase lasts around 30-45 days. The telogen phase lasts for around 2-4 months.
Reasons for brow hair loss
Much like the hair on our head, our eyebrows can thin out or simply stop growing. This can happen for several reasons including infection, skin conditions, hormonal changes, or an overactive immune system. Nutritional deficiencies, physical trauma, or emotional stress can also cause diminishing brows.
There are several kinds of alopecia:
- Alopecia areata causes random spots of hair loss.
- Alopecia universalis is a total disappearance of all hair.
- Frontal fibrosing alopecia causes scarring of the scalp along with balding and eyebrow loss.
Doctors are not sure what triggers an episode, but it can come and go, with hair growing back when the disease is inactive, according to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. Alopecia can also affect fingernails and toenails.
A lack of vitamin A or zinc can slow cellular growth and hinder the production of moisturising sebum (oil). Other more specific deficiencies that can affect hair loss include:
- Biotin (vitamin B-7)
- Vitamin C (collagendevelopment)
- Vitamins E, B-12, and D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
Eczema causes inflammation of the skin resulting in itching, redness, oozing, and irritation. It’s prompted by an oversensitive immune system and can show up as a one-time flare-up or an ongoing condition. Because hair follicles are embedded in skin, eczema may interfere with proper hair growth.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder that causes skin cells to multiply so quickly that red, thick, scaly, and painful patches form, blocking hair follicles and stopping growth.
Contact dermatitis is caused by contact with an allergen or a toxic irritant. Clients might feel itchy or experience a burning sensation. If the area near their eyebrows is affected, the inflammation may inhibit hair growth.
Seborrheic dermatitis is usually an ongoing condition. Scientists believe it is caused by a fungus or by an overproduction of oil in the skin. Seborrheic dermatitis leads to dandruff, even in the eyebrows.
Tinea capitis (ringworm)
Tinea capitis, known as ringworm, is also fungal. It produces red, itchy, raised, ringlike patches, along with oozing and blisters. When these patches appear over the brows, the hair usually falls out, leaving a bald patch.
Thyroid disease is a common cause of eyebrow hair loss. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism. When this gland produces too much or too little of a hormone, your body falls out of balance, disrupting several normal processes. This includes hair growth.
Hansen’s disease (leprosy) is caused by bacteria and shows up as sores all over the skin. It’s not common in Western countries. Lepromatous leprosy includes lesions and hair loss all over the body, numbness, and limb weakness.
Stress and anxiety
Excessive stress and anxiety can cause physiological changes, including reduced oxygen to the hair follicles and fluctuating hormone levels that contribute to eyebrow hair loss.
Pregnancy and childbirth
Pregnancy and childbirth can send hormones and other aspects of the body’s biochemistry into a tailspin. These wild fluctuations may disorganise the hair growth cycles and cause hair loss.
Telogen effluvium (TE) is an abnormal loss of hair that occurs when the normal hair growth cycle gets interrupted by hormonal or other changes in the body.
Persistent plucking or overuse of makeup products
Over-plucking the eyebrows creates minor trauma, and eventually the hair may stop growing in that spot. Harsh makeup may cause similar damage when used for extended periods.
To battle cancer, chemotherapy is designed to go after all rapidly dividing cells. This includes hair follicles. It’s why hair falls out in clumps when people undergo this treatment.