If you are suffering from hair loss on your head AND your brows, you might be suffering from a protein deficiency of some sort. A supplement like Viviscal (available here), which is packed with marine protein, could help your condition. Viviscal has been shown to treat alopecia areata, as well as androgen-related hair loss (Journal of International Medical Research, 1992; FutureDerm). It will take some time, though: changes in protein in the diet have been shown to correspond with protein in the hair within 6-12 months (American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 1999; Futurederm).
Over-plucking or nutrient deficiency can be easily solved on your own with behavioral changes and nutritional supplements, but if you suspect that your thinning eyebrows are caused by a health problem, please see a doctor right away for treatment. Do not attempt to address hypothyroidism, eczema, or alopecia areata without the guidance of a medical professional.
Also called “chastetree,” Vitex is an herb which is typically prescribed to treat estrogen dominance. It seems to be recommended as a remedy for especially low levels of estrogen as well however, and does seem to have a general balancing effect on the overall ratio of estrogen to progesterone. Vitex’s balancing effect is thought to result from the stimulation of dopamine production.
Check for hypothyroidism. If you also notice unexplained weight gain, chronic fatigue, feeling depressed, or feeling colder than usual in low temperatures, your thyroid gland may not be producing enough hormones. You may also notice your periods getting heavier or becoming sporadic. Hypothyroidism is most common in women, especially over age 50, and it can be treated with a synthetic hormone.
If, however, you aren’t so sure that any of the causes listed above are a problem for you, then a good place to start may be to talk with your healthcare provider about testing. It is important to learn the root cause – especially if dealing with infertility – because that which is causing hair thinning and shedding may also be contributing to your inability to conceive.
Research suggests that hair loss during menopause is the result of a hormonal imbalance. Specifically, it’s related to a lowered production of estrogen and progesterone. These hormones help hair grow faster and stay on the head for longer periods of time. When the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop, hair grows more slowly and becomes much thinner. A decrease in these hormones also triggers an increase in the production of androgens, or a group of male hormones. Androgens shrink hair follicles, resulting in hair loss on the head. In some cases, however, these hormones can cause more hair to grow on the face. This is why some menopausal women develop facial “peach fuzz” and small sprouts of hair on the chin.
Finasteride is a 5-alpha-reductase type II inhibitor, and although it is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of male androgenetic alopecia, it is not approved for FPHL. Finasteride is significantly teratogenic and has been shown to cause feminization of male fetuses (Bowman et al., 2003) as well as sexual side effects, depression, headache, nausea, and hot flashes (Varothai and Bergfeld, 2014). The decreased conversion of testosterone to DHT causes a build-up of testosterone, which subsequently converts to estradiol and creates a relative estrogen excess, and this could theoretically increase the risk of breast cancer (Kelly et al., 2016). Studies that use low doses (1 mg daily) showed no significant benefit (Kim et al., 2012, Price et al., 2000). However, one study of 37 premenopausal women who were taking a 2.5-mg dose of finasteride daily with an oral contraceptive pill showed improvement of hair loss in 62% of patients (Iorizzo et al., 2006). Another study of 87 pre- and postmenopausal normoandrogenic patients who were taking a 5-mg dose of finasteride per day for 12 months showed a significant increase in both hair density and thickness (Yeon et al., 2011). The effectiveness of finasteride does not seem to differ between pre- and postmenopausal patients (Yeon et al., 2011). Finasteride is classified as pregnancy category X.
Not only that, but plucking, waxing, or threading can also lead to permanent eyebrow loss, ingrown hairs, and infections. With repeated trauma to the hair follicle, your follicle can become damaged and scarred. If this occurs, your hair may never grow back again. Make sure to be extra careful to only pull out the hairs that you want to remove when you are plucking your brows. You should also wash your tweezers with alcohol before you start plucking or seek treatment at a reputable salon to prevent infections.
"Others are taking hair follicles out of human scalp and growing them with dermal papilla cells," Cotsarelis says. "If they grow in culture, you might be able to recombine them with skin cells and form new follicles. This would let you expand the number of follicles you get for a hair transplant. This may not be that far off -- five to 10 years, maybe. There's very good evidence you will be able to do that."
Every child deserves the opportunity to just be a kid—to fit in and feel normal. Kids experiencing hair loss don’t get that chance. That’s why we offer the Hair Club For Kids® program. Hair Club For Kids provides non-surgical hair replacement services, completely free of charge, to children ages 6-17 who are suffering from hair loss. These services are available at all Hair Club locations throughout North America to help reach as many kids as possible. Call 800-269-7384 for details.
MICHAEL REED, MD: Over-the-counter minoxidil, which is the brand Rogaine, is FDA approved. It's been shown to be effective in scientific studies. Propecia is the new drug on the block, and that probably is more effective. It's a pill that you take once a day, and that has been shown to slow down hair loss and grow hair in a significant number of individuals. Most of the other preparations that are heavily advertised or marketed are not proven to be effective.