thinning eyebrows

The fashionable penciled and overplucked eyebrows of our younger years have been replaced (for now, at least) with a thicker, more feathered look—which you can opt to address, or not, with a variety of cosmetic products. But eyebrow hair loss could be a sign of an underlying medical condition, warranting a talk with a primary care physician or specialist.

Hair loss, whether from the scalp or the brows, can be attributed to a host of factors: from chemotherapy treatments to autoimmune disorders to stress. Harsh chemicals on the face or hair, overplucking or over-waxing the brows all can impede healthy hair growth or contribute to hair loss. Skin conditions like seborrheic dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis can interfere with normal hair growth. Nutritional or vitamin deficiencies also can rob the hair follicles of necessary collagen, sebum and other nutrients.

For eyebrow thinning caused by aging, your doctor can prescribe medications such as Rogaine and Latisse (prescribed off-label for eyebrows) to stimulate hair regrowth. Designed for the scalp and lashes, respectively, these medicines are effective on brows, too. Your doctor may prescribe hormones to replace declining estrogen or to address a thyroid imbalance and can refer you to an endocrinologist to rule out alopecia or other autoimmune diseases. Madarosis, a rare (yet reversible) disorder that causes eyebrows or lashes to fall out in clumps, requires diagnosis and treatment by an eye care specialist.

Absent a more serious diagnosis, a dermatologist can prescribe or recommend dietary supplements, skincare serums or injections to help restore or support healthy hair growth. A visit to a nutritionist can help you formulate a dietary or vitamin regimen to support healthy hair, skin and follicles.

For those seeking a cosmetic approach, a broad array of solutions includes permanent makeup, microshading (tattooing tiny dots to fill in gaps) or microblading (applying pigmentation beneath the skin). The latter can be performed at a salon or medical spa, though eyebrow hair implants require a surgical procedure. Consult your doctor for guidance in choosing the right treatment and practitioner.

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