Most of us look at the eyebrows as a patch of hair that has an aesthetic purpose and it is often shaped for cosmetic purposes. Although the exact purpose of the eyebrows is not conclusively understood, it is believed to be prevent water or sweat from falling on to the eyes itself. For most people its function is of little concern compared to its cosmetic purpose. As with hair anywhere on the body, eyebrow hair and the follicles from where it arises can be prone to the same diseases and disorders which may lead to hair loss..
The hormone imbalance known as hypothyroidism is a common cause of abnormal eyebrow thinning, especially in women; roughly 27 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease, and about 80 percent of them are women. Thinning eyebrows appear as a symptom of both hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid production) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid production), alongside issues such as excessive fatigue, difficulty losing weight and constantly feeling cold. If your brows appear particularly thin around the edges, visit your doctor for a thyroid screening, which should include thorough blood work. With prescription medication, your eyebrows should fill back in over the ensuing months.
The first step in treatment is to identify the cause of the hair loss. Then, treat it appropriately. If an internal cause is the culprit, it should be addressed — for example, thyroid medication for thyroid disease or supplements for a nutritional deficiency. External skin conditions are often treated with topical medications, and, once treated, the hair loss usually recovers. I often recommend Latisse as an adjunctive treatment. Though frequently associated with eyelash lengthening, it is a great option for thickening brows. In fact, people with brows that thin with aging (I typically don't see this in women under 50) may want to opt for Latisse.
An unhealthy gut is also a common source of inflammation and that alone can contribute to hair loss. But lack of robust digestion and a healthy gut bacterial environment will not only lead to nutrient deficiencies that impact hair health but an imbalanced impacting all other hormones related to hair loss such as low thyroid, poor estrogen metabolism and elevated cortisol.
Elizabeth Willett is the Senior Herbalist and Lead Educator at NaturalFertilityInfo.com. She holds a BS in Mass Communications (2000) from Minnesota State University, and a Master of Arts degree (MA, 2010) in Holistic Health Studies with a specialization is herbalism from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. Liz has written over 200 articles on women’s fertility and brings a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise in holistic health and healing to Natural Fertility Info.com
Management of madarosis primarily depends upon treatment of the predisposing disorder. Inherited disorders can be identified by the associated clinical features. Establishing the diagnosis is an important prerequisite for the management of madarosis. For this, madarosis can be broadly classified as scarring and non-scarring. In non-scarring madarosis, generally regrowth of hair occurs after treatment of the primary disorder. In disorders such as lepromatous leprosy, though the madarosis is non-scarring, hair regrowth does not occur. In such cases, and in cases of scarring madarosis, hair transplant is essential for cosmetic purposes.
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.