Changing the shape, thickness and length of the eyebrow is a commonly practiced beauty technique. Some people even remove the eyebrow entirely only to replace it with a pencil-drawn mark (eyebrow pencil). As with any part of the body, repeated irritation can eventually lead to hair loss. Sometimes this is due to manual trauma, chemicals from cosmetics or even infections that arise when breaks in the skin occur. While eyebrow modification will not stop as a commonly practised beauty technique, it should at least be minimized.
But, interestingly — and what most people don't initially realize — is that eyebrow hair loss is often a sign of an internal disease. The classic example of this is an under-active or over-active thyroid. Loss of the outer third of the eyebrow, in particular, is a characteristic sign of an under-active thyroid. Fortunately, thyroid conditions are easily treatable, usually with oral medications, but the medications generally have to be taken for life. The eyebrows should grow back, but there is always the possibility that they may not. The thyroid gland plays a huge role in our bodies, so it is important to have any thyroid issues treated.
What she doesn’t mention is how to regrow your brows after chemo-related brow loss! If you have recently undergone chemotherapy, your brows may be a bit wonky in the beginning, but you still want them, right? They are the frame for your beautiful face. Every October we host a “Buy One Give One for the Cure” campaign, where for every bottle of WINK sold, we donate one to a cancer survivor. If that’s you, shoot us an email so we can get you hooked up.
Hormones are cyclical. Testosterone levels in some men drop by 10% each decade after age 30. Women's hormone levels decline as menopause approaches and drop sharply during menopause and beyond. The cyclic nature of both our hair and hormones is one reason hair loss can increase in the short term even when you are having a long-term slowdown of hair loss (and a long-term increase in hair growth) while on a treatment that controls hair loss.
Hormones are cyclical. Testosterone levels in some men drop by 10 percent each decade after thirty. Women's hormone levels decline as menopause approaches and drop sharply during menopause and beyond. The cyclic nature of both our hair and hormones is one reason hair loss can increase in the short term even when you are experiencing a long-term slowdown of hair loss (and a long-term increase in hair growth) while on a treatment that controls hair loss.
Insulin regulation is also a big factor in hair health, as an imbalance can lead to various hormonal effects. Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which effects fat storage and hormone balance. Fat storage and hormone balance play a role in hair growth because fat storages will secrete excess estrogen in the body, and can desensitize hormone signals.
However, the effects of alopecia reach far beyond symptoms of depression and include anxiety, obsessions, dissatisfaction with one’s appearance, and low self-esteem (Al-Mutairi and Eldin, 2011, Dlova et al., 2016, Hunt and McHale, 2005, Schmidt et al., 2001). There can be significant disturbance in a patient’s social life because they may change their hair style, clothing, or avoid social meetings (Al-Mutairi and Eldin, 2011). One study reported that 40% of surveyed women described marital problems and 63% had career-related issues that they ascribed to their hair loss (Hunt and McHale, 2005). These effects seem to occur regardless of patients’ age, race, or degree of hair loss (Dlova et al., 2016, Hunt and McHale, 2005, Schmidt et al., 2001). Another study of more than 200 women found that this psychologic morbidity occurs with equal frequency in women whose hair is typically covered by a headscarf (Erol et al., 2012).
While these factors contribute to hair loss for any woman, it’s particularly dicey for those of us with PCOS because when the follicle is exposed to our elevated androgens such as DHT (di-hydro testosterone, an active metabolite of testosterone) it gets damaged. Whenever a cell is damaged it generates oxidative stress which further alters the androgen receptor in the follicle perpetuating the issue.