Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder associated with anxiety, stress, depression, boredom and frustration. It is where a person manually removes hairs with their finger, either a few strands throughout the day or sometimes many strands at one time during an emotional outburst. This behavior is usually a means of coping with stress or emotional turmoil. However, it can sometimes become a habit that is difficult to break. The eyebrows is a commonly targeted area as is the scalp.
Male pattern hair loss has been established as androgen-dependent because it is associated with changes in the androgen receptor and responds to antiandrogen therapy (Ellis et al., 2002). With FPHL, genes that encode aromatase, which converts testosterone to estradiol, are also implicated (Yazdabadi et al., 2008, Yip et al., 2009). The process of androgen biosynthesis is depicted in Figure 1.
Hair loss is something that everyone experiences sooner or later, but some get it earlier than others. Losing hair prematurely can be traumatic. Because of that, there is an infinite number of products that claim to cure and reverse the problem. But what if you could find out the likelihood that you will experience hair loss so that you could prevent it before the symptoms even showed? Researchers in the United Kingdom have reportedly found a way to predict who is at risk.
Alopecia areata is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system erroneously attacks the hair follicles, causing inflammation and temporary hair loss. Any hair-bearing skin site can be affected by alopecia areata, including the eyebrows. Treatment commonly involves corticosteroid injections into the site of eyebrow loss. Eyebrow hairs usually grow back, but may be a different color or texture than the lost hairs.
Atopic dermatitis is a form of eczema that causes red, itchy patches of skin. Involvement of the skin around the eyes can lead to swelling, skin inflammation and loss of the eyebrow hairs, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Skin-irritating cosmetics and soaps may aggravate atopic dermatitis. The eyebrows often regrow when the condition becomes inactive.
Complete Belgravia's online consultation if you are unable to visit one of our London clinics. The questionnaire should take no more than 10 minutes to complete and will provide our hair loss specialists with all the information required to recommend an effective course of home-use treatment. For those who live in or around London, we always recommend a clinical consultation.
There are numerous diseases that can affect the hair and scalp. Hair loss can be caused by a variety of conditions. Diseases such as alopecia areata, anemia, male/female pattern baldness, and infections of the scalp can all cause significant difficulty and loss of daily well-being. Stanford Dermatology has established a special clinic focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders of the hair.
For women going through menopause, the cause of hair loss is almost always related to hormonal changes. However, there are many other factors that can contribute to hair loss during menopause. These include extremely high levels of stress, illness, or a lack of certain nutrients. Diagnostic blood tests that can help rule out other causes of hair loss include thyroid tests, and/or a complete blood count.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) has a distinctive shape. The front hairline recedes, especially at the sides, forming an M shape. This is frontal baldness. The crown of the head, also known as the vertex, becomes bald as well. Eventually the two areas join into a “U” shape. MPB can even extend to chest hair, which can thin as you age. Oddly enough, hair in different locations on the body can react differently to hormonal changes. For instance, facial hair growth can improve while other areas become bald.
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).
Dozens of other causes of eyebrow loss are also possible including a variety of infectious, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Consultation with a dermatologist or hair transplant surgeon is recommended. I strongly advise consulting a dermatologist before proceeding to hair transplantation for women over 40 with new onset eyebrow hair loss after age 40.
Hair loss may also occur due to dieting. Franchised diet programs which are designed or administered under the direction of a physician with prescribed meals, dietary supplements and vitamin ingestion have become popular. Sometimes the client is told that vitamins are a necessary part of the program to prevent hair loss associated with dieting. From a dermatologists’s standpoint, however, the vitamins cannot prevent hair loss associated with rapid, significant weight loss. Furthermore, many of these supplements are high in vitamin A which can magnify the hair loss.
In extreme cases, such as disordered eating and anemia, an iron deficiency may be to blame for thinning brows. “Even if you don’t have anemia, and you have low levels of stored iron, that could contribute to hair loss,” says Rajani Katta, M.D., a dermatologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who studies the link between nutrition and hair loss. Iron is found in meat, fish, and other animal products, plus beans and legumes, so vegans and vegetarians might be more likely to be low in iron. Your derm can do a ferritin blood test to check your iron levels. But don’t start an iron supplement without medical recommendation. Too much iron can also have negative effects, says Dr. Katta.
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.