What It Really Means When Your Eyebrows Start Thinning

Eyebrows distinctly frame our eyes and face, and because of this the way they are shaped can completely transform our appearance. But did you know that eyebrows are more than a key feature in the way we look and express ourselves? The main function of eyebrows is to keep sweat, rain, debris, and even sunlight from entering the eyes and causing damage (via Healthline).

Many of us give our eyebrows a lot of attention, when it comes to our beauty regimen. We pluck, thread, or wax the eyebrows, or schedule a brow microblading appointment to get the perfect shape to enhance our looks or follow ever-evolving beauty trends. If we notice that our eyebrows are thinning, we might not give it much thought. After all, it's easy enough to use an eyebrow pencil or gel to get a desired look. But take note: Thinning eyebrows could be more than just a cosmetic nuisance. Eyebrow thinning could be the first sign of something more serious taking place in your body.

You might have an autoimmune condition

If the outer third of your eyebrows has disappeared without you cutting them, be aware that this could be a sign of a health condition. For one, you might be experiencing hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid is not producing the hormones needed for the body to function (via Medicine Net). There are a number of symptoms that people with hypothyroidism experience, so thinning eyebrows could be easily overlooked.

According to the British Thyroid Foundation, eyebrow hair loss for people who have autoimmune hypothyroidism is caused by the autoimmune condition alopecia areata. In most cases, your eyebrows can regrow after treatment, but due to the length of the eyebrow hair cycle, it may take months to see progress. Hyperthyroidism also can cause eyebrow hair loss. In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone which can cause the hair growth process to be altered (via British Thyroid Foundation).

A skin condition could be the culprit

It shouldn't be surprising that another reason behind thinning eyebrows could be a skin condition, since your eyebrows grow from the hair follicles in your skin. According to Healthline, conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis can cause hair thinning in the eyebrows.

The thick, scaly patches that form on the skin of people with psoriasis can cause the hair follicles of the eyebrows to be blocked and stop hair growth. Eczema, also known as ectopic dermatitis, can cause hair thinning in the eyebrows due to the skin becoming inflamed, irritated, and in some cases infected. Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition where the oil glands in the skin produce too much oil. This leads to thick dandruff flakes that can cause thinning of the brows. Skin conditions caused by fungal infections, like ringworm (tinea capitis), form patches that ooze and cause leave bald patches in the eyebrows.

It's only a matter of time

Finally, thinning eyebrows might be nothing more than a sign of aging. We all know that with age, our bodies may change in ways that we may not expect. You may notice that your skin may not be as firm as it used to be, or the hair on your head is thinning or turning gray. "As we age, it's completely normal for our hair, including eyebrows and lashes, to thin," Audrianna Mora, the Global Education Manager of RevitaLash Cosmetics told Martha Stewart Living.

According to Medline Plus, as we age, the rate of hair growth slows and the overall thickness of our hair decreases. Not only does hair grow more slowly when we get older, it has a shortened life cycle, which means that hair falls out more quickly. Unfortunately, that hair is replaced with finer hair (via Cleveland Clinic). Moreover, with menopause, hormonal changes can cause hair follicles to completely stop growing new hair, thereby causing permanent hair thinning.