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.
If you’re losing more than 100 hairs a day it may be worth seeking the help of a hair loss professional. Oestrogen and hair loss may or may not be problematic but there is still the chance that your hair follicles may become damaged in the process. There is currently no concrete evidence that links an increase in oestrogen to the effective treatment of hair loss, but there are hair loss treatments that have FDA-approval for the specific purpose of regrowing hair. Topical products like minoxidil are proven to promote hair growth and there are also anti-androgen products that could help to deflect the creation of DHT. Early treatment is the key to successful hair restoration so if you’re concerned, contact the Belgravia Centre to ensure that you will keep your head of hair full, healthy, and strong.
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.
Because there are a number of different factors that can contribute to hair loss, it’s best to ask your doctor for a few different tests. I recommend checking: fasting glucose, iron levels and complete blood count (which can determine if you have anemia), as well as thyroid, estrogen and testosterone levels. These assessments should give you a better understanding of what hormonal issues may be at the root of your problem.
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.
Topical estrogen and progesterone creams and oral medications are generally the forms prescribed for post-menopausal women with androgenetic alopecia. But HRT will rarely, if ever, be prescribed for treatment of hair loss alone.] If you have other bothersome symptoms which might warrant HRT, in addition to hair loss, you'll first need to undergo a thorough gynecologic and physical exam, and will likely have blood tests done to measure hormone levels before these drugs are prescribed.
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.
So, if you have a similar paranoia—fear not! Losing strands is totally normal. But Dr. Wexler is quick to add that things like over-tweezing (it causes scarring to the follicles), waxing, severe weight-loss, stress, excessive touching, hormonal changes, and auto immune disease can cause irregular brow hair loss. If you believe your case may be extreme, it's best to see a specialist.
Madarosis is the hallmark of lepromatous leprosy. It was reported in 76% of patients with multibacillary leprosy. Bilateral symmetric cicatricial madarosis occurs in lepromatous leprosy due to histiocytic infiltration of hair follicles[77,78] [Figure 4]. It occurs in multibacillary leprosy after at least 5 to 10 years of untreated disease. Loss or atrophy of the eyelashes may follow. Madarosis adds to the cosmetic disfigurement caused by leprosy. Absence of madarosis is a good prognostic sign in long-standing cases. Unilateral madarosis may occur in tuberculoid leprosy due to the facial patch in the eyebrow region. In tuberculoid leprosy, madarosis occurs due to granulomatous infiltration of hair follicles leading to their destruction.
When the thyroid is under stress or poorly nourished—the thyroid is highly dependent on optimal levels of vitamins and nutrients to function optimally—it starts to focus its efforts on supporting the bodily processes (like breathing and regulating heart rate) that support and sustain life—and it stops paying as much attention to less vital functions, like hair growth.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution, pill or product that will correct hair loss entirely. But if you think of your hormones as a cast of characters, knowing which ones are leading the show and which ones are only playing a supporting role can help you get to the bottom of the issue. If you haven’t already, take my free hormone quiz – it can help you determine what tests you may want to request from your doctor and which lifestyle or dietary changes may benefit you most. In the meantime, manage your stress levels and get enough sleep. This will help with general hormone balance and can protect your precious locks from any further damage.