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The Top 9 Causes of Thinning Eyebrows (And What You Can Do)

The Top 9 Causes of Thinning Eyebrows (And What You Can Do)

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Main image – Evegeniyasht19/Adobe

Eyebrows hold *quite* the power when it comes to defining the shape of our face and framing our eyes. Sometimes, all you need is a good brow and you’re good to go.

While many of us may have gone overboard with the plucking in the past (if, like me, you’re old enough to remember the 90s), big brows are literally timeless. And even if you weren’t graced with Cara Delevingne’s strong eyebrows or Audrey Hepburn’s iconic arches there are still plenty of ways to bulk them out.

Unfortunately, much like the hair on our head, eyebrows begin to thin out – and for a multitude of reasons.

So, LTG HQ spoke with hair loss expert Dr Jodi LoGerfo, to find out everything there is to know about why your brows might be thinning and how you can help them to grow back.

They do say ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’ so let’s get down to it!

 

The Top 9 Causes of Thinning Eyebrows (And What You Can Do)

Image – Adobe

 


The top 9 reasons your eyebrows are thinning

There are a multitude of reasons as to why your eyebrows might be thinning, and we’ve put together the top 9 so that you can identify the WHY and treat the issue.

1. Ageing

According to Dr LoGerfo, “The biggest cause of thinning eyebrows is ageing. As we age, hair growth slows down; the hair that is shed (normal shedding) is replaced at a slower rate – over time, you can notice that eyebrows could recede and become thinner.

“The incidence of hair loss increases with age and it most commonly happens during menopause. Under the influence of hormones (or lack of because of menopause), there is a slow, progressive decrease and loss of hair density.”

As we age, many of us notice our hair thins out and can become dry and brittle – we’ve got hormones to thank for this (surprise, surprise!)

While we can’t stop the clocks, things like microblading can make a huge difference in making eyebrows look thicker and fuller.

 

2. Skin diseases

Certain skin diseases can also be a cause of your thinning brows. Dr Logerfo says that diseases “like seborrheic dermatitis or allergic dermatitis can thin eyebrows.”

Those who suffer from dry skin or conditions like eczema or psoriasis will most likely already know this, but any scratching or itching you do will cause hair on your eyebrows or scalp to fall out. If you notice that the skin around your eyebrows is dry or flaky, your best bet is to head to the dermatologist to find out the cause.

Once you know the cause of your skin issues, your derm can offer treatments such as topical, intralesional, or oral steroids. after all, healthy skin is necessary for healthy hair.

 

3. Thyroid issues

In addition to skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, “Thyroid issues like hypo- or hyperthyroidism can interfere with the normal function of the hair follicle, and can also cause thinner eyebrows,” Dr LoGerfo warns.

Lots of people aren’t aware, but hypothyroidism can increase the risk of hair loss from the eyebrows and the scalp. The medical term for eyebrow hair loss due to thyroid problems is “eyebrow hypotrichosis,” and it’s *much* more common in people with an underactive thyroid.

However, both types of thyroid imbalance are linked to eyebrow hair loss.

And, unfortunately, thyroid issues can also wreak havoc in other areas of our lives such as weight, energy levels, sleep disturbance and irritability – so it’s really important to go to your doctor to get this checked out.

 

The *Top* 9 Causes of Thinning Eyebrows (And What You Can Do)

Image – deniskomarov/Adobe

 

4. Alopecia

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy cells that contribute to hair growth. This can lead to thinning hair, patches of hair loss, or hair falling out.

According to Healthtalk, “Alopecia can affect different parts of the body, including the eyebrows and eyelashes. This can be partial or complete hair loss and it could happen gradually or over a short period.”

There are a few different types of alopecia:

  • Alopecia areata, which causes random spots of hair loss.
  • Alopecia universalis, which is a total disappearance of all hair.
  • Frontal fibrosing alopecia, which causes scarring of the scalp along with balding and eyebrow loss.

Medical professionals are still unsure as to what triggers an episode, and they can even come and go, with the hair returning when the disease is inactive. If you’re worried that you may be suffering from alopecia, head to your doctor to carry out some tests.

And, don’t worry. Although alopecia can’t be cured it can be treated and your hair can grow back.

 

5. Stress

In this day and age, I think we are ALL a bit stressed. But, if you begin losing hair because of stress and anxiety, there’s a problem.

Now for the science-y bit. When we are stressed, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Although cortisol gives us a boost of energy (I know I need that), it also causes some non-essential functions to go into rest mode – and one of those is hair growth.

The good news is that Mayo Clinic confirms that “stress and hair loss don’t have to be permanent. And if you get your stress under control, your hair might grow back.”

Learning to manage your stress and control cortisol levels is one of the best things you can do for your thinning brows – and the rest of your body – so consider some stress management therapy.

 

6. Medication

Surprisingly, lots of different medications are thought to cause hair loss and, although usually a relatively uncommon side effect, medications like the following can cause hair loss:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Blood thinners
  • Antidepressants
  • Cholesterol-lowering drugs
  • Certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Hormone-related drugs like thyroid meds
  • Hormone replacement therapies
  • Chemotherapy drugs and
  • Steroids

You may need to take these medications, so it’s essential that you look after your body to keep it healthy and prevent further hair loss. This includes a balanced diet, a good haircare regimen, and avoiding the use of heat styling tools.

Again, though, if you are concerned about your hair loss it’s best to visit your doctor.

 

The Top 9 Causes of Thinning Eyebrows (And What You Can Do)

Image – Adobe

 

7. Trauma

While typically related to hair loss at the scalp, eyebrows can also be affected by this. Constant stress is a reason for hair loss, but a traumatic event can also have an effect. PTSD UK even says that “Studies have shown that people who have dealt with traumatic experiences in the past are more likely to deal with hair loss issues like alopecia areata in the future.”

Trauma to your skin, such as scarring and tattoo removal, can also cause hair to stop growing in those areas. This is due to scar tissue not having the essential glands required to grow hair, meaning the hair will never rise above the scar.

Mental health issues such as OCD and trichotillomania – where someone can’t resist the urge to pull at their hair and eyebrows – also cause hair loss and is something you should see your doctor about.

 

8. Over-tweezing

If you remember the thin brow trend of the 90s or even Bella Hadid’s more recent ‘skinny brows’, you’ll know *exactly* what we are talking about here (my brows have never grown back the same after over-plucking, it’s a real risk, guys and gals.)

It’s SO easy to overpluck, especially if you use a magnifying mirror when grooming your brows. Too often, wrong pluck and your arches could be ruined – nightmare.

The first step is to put. the. tweezers. down. Leave the grooming and let them grow back, as well as using an over-the-counter serum like UKBrow Eyebrow Serum (£37.99/$46.00) to aid growth.

Dermatologist-prescribed Latisse and Rogaine can also help fill out over-plucked brows.

If you’re waiting for your brows to re-grow, Cleveland Clinic advises that  “patience is key. ‘Give it at least two to three months to see hair growth. The hair growth cycle for eyebrows is between three and four months, so you need enough time for the hair to respond to your changes,’ recommends Dr. Khetarpal.”

 

9. Nutrient deficiency

Dr LoGerfo tells us that “nutritional deficiencies can affect hair growth and quality,” meaning “an unhealthy or poor diet is associated with hair loss and hair structure abnormalities.

“Hair follicles have a high cell turnover and because of their vigorous cell cycle, they need a wholesome source of nutrients. If you are depriving your body of healthy nutrition or if you are deficient in proteins, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, hair changes or loss can occur.

“In a developed country, hair growth disorders caused by nutritional deficiencies are not common, although there are lots of dietary supplements touted to improve hair growth.”

So, you heard us, get those fruits, veggies, and vitamins in!

 

The Top 9 Causes of Thinning Eyebrows (And What You Can Do)

Image – Evegeniyasht19/Adobe

 


How to grow them back

As well as a healthy and balanced diet, Dr LoGerfo says that cleansing and having a solid skincare routine and making sure to moisturise is also the cornerstone to great brows and hair health. Any dirt, oils, and dead skin should be cleansed away to promote hair growth through the skin.

This can also be said for the hair on our heads! Dr LoGerfo says, “We have to remember that scalp skin is a variant of normal skin – it has an epidermis and a dermis (an extension of our facial skin).”

“The health of our hair, the scalp skin itself, and the tissue underneath is intricately related to good nutrition and healthy hair care habits and rituals. These play a major role in hair growth, hair shaft thickness and the overall look and health of the hair itself.”

And we can’t forget the most important skincare stepSPF.

“We know that sun damage can cause thinning of the epidermis and the dermis of the skin and can affect hair quality and growth,” Dr LoGerfo explains.

SPF should be massaged onto your brows with your fingertips, then brushed through with a clean spoolie to disperse and spread the product through the strands.

As mentioned above, there are *tons* of great lash and eyebrow serums that contain very similar ingredients that add fullness and promote hair growth. The most common ingredients in lash growth serums and brow serums are botanicals, vitamins, peptides, and prostaglandin analogs.

If you’re really at a loss and your brows just won’t grow back, microblading is the *best* option to make your eyebrows look naturally full. For those not privy to this miracle treatment, microblading involves inserting pigment under the skin using a needle to give well-defined, natural-looking eyebrows.

Generally, results can last from 18 to 30 months depending on your skin type, lifestyle, and how often you get touch-ups.

 

The *Top* 9 Causes of Thinning Eyebrows (And What You Can Do)

Image – Pixel-Shot/Adobe

 


The takeaway

So, your brows have gone sparse or perhaps they just. won’t. grow? The first thing to do is to look into WHY.

Rule out any underlying health issues like stress, anxiety, alopecia, thyroid problems, your diet and any medications you may be taking. If these aren’t contributing factors to your brittle brows, purchase a high-quality lash and brow serum that can aid growth.

Still not seeing any results? Head you your doctor or derm to find out if there’s any other course of action, such as prescribed medicines, that could help.

Bare brows *really* needn’t be a worry, because even if yours won’t grow back, there are sooo many gels, pomades, pencils, powders and cosmetic procedures that can get your brows bushy once again!

 

Meet the expert

Dr Jodi LoGerfo is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and a Family Nurse Practitioner certified in Family Medicine and Dermatology.

She is considered an authority on hair loss and her years of research and clinical work on patients with various types of alopecia enable her to diagnose the various patterns of hair loss, identify the causes and offer the latest treatment options.

 

 

 

 

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Senior Beauty Editor

Laura Kemp started her journalism career as a news reporter for one of the largest newspaper groups in Europe before moving into features and editorial writing. Combining her love of hard-hitting journalism with her passion for beauty, she’s now Beauty Editor at Live That Glow. When she’s not writing, researching, or interviewing her favourite experts, you’ll find Laura practicing her downward dog or drifting on her paddleboard.

Expertise: Hair care, nails
Education: University of Salford
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