Eyebrows frame your face and play an important role in your facial appearance and expressions. If the hair in your eyebrows starts falling out, you are sure to see a difference in your appearance, which you may want to rectify. Many conditions can cause eyebrow loss. However, you can usually take steps to reverse the effects, such as eating a healthy diet and adjusting your beauty routine or lifestyle to account for the natural aging process.
Giorgos Tsetis: There are really two industries at work here that have to be separated. First, there's the drugs, the pharma, which is the FDA world. Then, you have the naturals, the formulas, and the actual supplements industry. The supplement industry is really not properly regulated in this country. More surprisingly, starting a supplement company is very easy. That's why you see all of these supplements popping up, and the FDA doesn't even have the capacity to monitor them all and make sure people are able to substantiate proper claims. As a supplement manufacturer, all you have to do is create your products in a FDA approved facility, and there thousands of them in the United States. That means anyone can put a formula together and get away with claims until they get challenged by consumers or competitors. When you step into these factories, you see it's messy. You're not talking about state-of-the-art factories where people are doing the work. It's really scary.
A little farther up the follicle is the mysterious feature called the bulge. That's where follicle stem cells live. When they get the right set of chemical signals, these self-renewing cells divide. They don't divide like normal cells, in which both halves become new cells that keep splitting and developing. Only one half of the follicle stem cell does that. The other half becomes a new stem cell, and stays put for future regeneration.
Despite the name androgenetic alopecia, the exact role of hormones is uncertain. It is well known that androgens affect the growth of the scalp and body hair and even Hippocrates observed 2,400 years ago that eunuchs did not experience baldness (Yip et al., 2011). However, hyperandrogenism cannot be the only pathophysiologic mechanism for FPHL because the majority of women with FPHL neither have abnormal androgen levels nor do they demonstrate signs or symptoms of androgen excess (Atanaskova Mesinkovska and Bergfeld, 2013, Schmidt and Shinkai, 2015, Yip et al., 2011). Furthermore, cases have been reported in which FPHL developed in patients with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome or hypopituitarism with no detectable androgen levels (Cousen and Messenger, 2010, Orme et al., 1999).
Telogen effluvium, a type of scalp hair loss characterized by hair shedding, may affect the eyebrows as well. It can be caused by any emotional or physiological stress, for example acute or chronic illnesses, hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and medications that alter the normal hair cycle and cause the hair the enter the telogen phase prematurely.
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Hansen's disease, also known as leprosy, is an infection of the skin and nerves caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae. The disease often affects the skin of the eyebrow region, leading to loss of sensation and permanent loss of the eyebrow hairs. There are numerous other rare and uncommon causes of eyebrow hair loss, including vitamin A toxicity, nutritional disorders and other dermatological disorders. If you experience loss of eyebrow hair, see your doctor to evaluate the cause and to discuss a treatment plan.
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.
Lichen planopilaris and frontal fibrosing alopecia inflammatory conditions, in which the inflammation destroys the hair follicle, can cause a scar or permanent hair loss (usually present as red patches with redness and scale around each hair follicle). In the very advanced stages, they may appear as smooth, bald patches where the hair follicles have been destroyed. Androgenetic hair loss is another non-scarring type. The most common type of hair loss, it is due to the complex interplay of genes, hormones, and age.