Eyebrow loss: Knowing the cause allows one to plan the treatment
There are many causes of eyebrow hair loss and each has it's own treatment. Too often patients rush to treat their eyebrow loss without pausing to ask "What exactly is my diagnosis?" Here are a few common reasons for eyebrow loss and their treatment.
1. Age related eyebrow loss and overtweezing
If the eyebrow loss is due to age related changes or over plucking/tweezing the options inlcude
b. Bimatoprost (Latisse)
c. Hair transplantation
d. Tattoos, and microblading
2. Eyebrow loss from alopecia areata
If eyebrow hair loss is due to the autoimmune disease alopecia areata, a majority of patients will also have evidence of aloepcia areata at other areas (scalp, eyelashes). Treatments for eyebrow loss due to alopecia areata include:
a. steroid injections b. topical steroids c. minoxidil
e. oral immunosuppressives (Prednisone, methotrexate, tofacitinib
f. Tattoos and microblading can also be used.
3. Frontal fibrosing alopecia (FFA)
Frontal fibrosing alopecia of the eyebrows is certainly the most underdiagnosed cause of eyebrow hair loss in women who first notice eyebrow hair loss in their late 40s and early 50s. Hair transplants are ineffective in most, if not all patients with active disease. Treatment options for FFA of the eyebrow include:
a. steroid injections and topical steroids b.topical non steroids (pimecrolimus cream)
c. oral finasteride
d. oral hydroxychloroquine, oral tetracyclines
e. Tattoos and microblading can also be used.
Trichotillomania is common and 3-5 % of the world pull out their own eyebrows due to underlying psychological factors. For some, the pulling is temporary and for others is a chronic condition. Treatment of the underlying psychological factors (stress, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder) can lead to improvement. Hair transplants are not an options if the patient is actively pulling his or her eyebrows
5. Other causes
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.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Vancouver office at 604.283.9299