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Thinning Eyebrows

Dr. Sumaiya Khan

One of the very embarrassing and discomforting conditions to deal with is thinning eyebrows. This article discusses the causes and treatments for this condition.
Eyebrows help define the eyes, which are one of the most prominent features of the face. However, one of the most embarrassing and disturbing problems that a person may suffer from is thinning eyebrows.
Thin eyebrows may be seen in patches or may even be seen all at once, in which case, the person may land up with no eyebrows at all. This is surely not a very pretty sight. There may be many causes of thin eyebrows, which range from continuous threading, plucking and waxing, to an underlying disease.


  • One of the most common cause of this condition in women is hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland functioning goes down. This leads to decreased levels of thyroid hormone in the body, causing various problems, especially those that affect the skin and hair.
One such symptom includes the loss of hair from the scalp and the face. The hair becomes brittle and falls off easily. At times, the outer third of the eyebrows may completely fall off.
  • One of the causes that can lead to permanent loss of hair includes constant eyebrow waxing and threading, which gives rise to a condition called 'traction alopecia'. In this condition, due to the hair constantly being pulled out, it starts to fall out on its own. This is also seen in ballerinas who tend to tie their head hair in very tight buns, which causes hair fall.
  • Endocrine disorders can also lead to loss of eyebrow hair. This is seen in women who are pregnant or those who are on long-term birth-control pills.
  • Certain chemotherapeutic agents can also lead to loss of hair on the face and scalp although the effects are seen more commonly on head hair rather than on eyebrows.
  • There are certain infiltrating cancers that tend to spread, and thus, they damage the hair cells that are present in the surrounding areas. Such cancers include skin cancer, leukemia cutis, etc.
  • Autoimmune diseases may also lead to loss of hair on the face, specifically the eyebrows. This is because, in autoimmune diseases, the cells that are supposed to fight infections mistakenly target the body's own cells. So, if the hair follicles are targeted, it could lead to loss of eyebrow hair.
  • Certain infections like fungal infections, lice, etc., may occur on the hair bearing regions of the face, which could lead to loss of hair on the eyebrows.
  • Other causes include infiltrating skin disorders, skin growths, vitamin overdose, side effects of certain medications, etc.


  • If the underlying cause is hypothyroidism, then as soon as you start your thyroid treatment, the eyebrows should start to regrow. They may or may not regrow to their original thickness, but you need to be patient with this as it may take some time for the hair growth to come back to normal.
  • If the person is affected by a skin infection or any other infiltrating disease, then he will need to visit the dermatologist, and get the condition diagnosed and treated accordingly. The treatment for each condition will depend on the exact causative agent.
  • A simple way of camouflaging very thin eyebrows is with the help of suitable eye make-up. This includes making use of some helpful eyebrow pencils. This can help you replicate your eyebrows very well. You can even try out permanent make-up by making use of tattoos. In very severe cases where there is excessive loss of eyebrows, you can make use of fake eyebrows.
This is more of a cosmetically disturbing condition than a serious medical disorder. However, if there is an underlying disease, then it is best to get it treated because thin eyebrows may be only one of the symptoms of a grave underlying disease.
Disclaimer: This story is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.