Thin eyebrows: causes and how to thicken eyebrows

You may have naturally thin eyebrows, but it may also be that your eyebrows become thinner over time, for example due to eyebrow hair loss. Many factors can cause eyebrow hair loss, leaving you with thin eyebrows, including hormonal imbalances, diet (a vitamin and mineral deficiency), and some skin conditions. Determining the cause of eyebrow hair loss and thin eyebrows can help you find the best treatment. Eyebrow hair loss can be cosmetically disturbing and affect the quality of life. It can affect both men and women. You may notice unilateral or bilateral thinning of your eyebrows. Other symptoms may include itching, dry skin, and hair loss or thinning of hair on other parts of the body. Usually, thinning of the eyebrows does not indicate anything serious.

  • Eyebrows
  • Function
  • Thinning eyebrows
  • Causes of thin eyebrows
  • Normal aging processes
  • Diseases and external factors
  • Hormonal causes of thinning eyebrows
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Transition
  • After a pregnancy
  • Birth control pill
  • Symptoms of thinning eyebrows
  • Expiration and duration
  • Examination and diagnosis
  • Treatment of thin eyebrows
  • Treat underlying cause
  • Power supply
  • Oil
  • Make eyebrows thicker
  • Bimatoprost 0.03%
  • Corticosteroids
  • Minoxidil
  • Hair transplant or microblading


Eyebrows have multiple functions / Source: StockSnap, Pixabay



The eyebrows are a hair-covered, protruding area above the eyes. It concerns a bone edge above the eye. The eyebrow has an aesthetic – a protective function; it should prevent sweat, dirt and other small objects from entering the eye. The eyebrows also play an important function in body language.

Thinning eyebrows

Eyebrows becoming thinner means that an above-average amount of hair is lost on the eyebrows, causing them to become increasingly thinner, which is also visible. Thinning eyebrows can at some point lead to complete hair loss of the eyebrows. Loss of eyebrows can be genetically determined. But it can also occur in different life situations and different diseases and disorders. The frequency of eyebrow loss is not clear in 2020. It is therefore unclear whether eyebrow loss occurs rarely or often. In medical terms, the loss of eyebrows and eyelashes is called madarosis.

There are several causes of thinning eyebrows / Source: Raafat1977, Pixabay

Causes of thin eyebrows

There are several possible causes for thinning eyebrows.

Normal aging processes

As you get older, the hair can become thinner, not only on your head but also on the eyebrows, eyelashes and other hairy parts of the body. Over time, some hair follicles stop producing hair and the hair shaft (part of the hair that protrudes from the skin) becomes finer. The hair also starts to lose its color and turns white.

Diseases and external factors

Eyebrow loss and thinning eyebrows can have different causes. Most causes are usually hereditary or hormonal. Possible causes of thinning eyebrows are:

  • hormonal changes, for example. during pregnancy or menopause
  • thyroid disorders
  • metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus
  • skin diseases and allergies
  • alopecia areata, a hair condition that causes you to suddenly become partially bald
  • fungal infections
  • poisoning
  • vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • (chronic) stress or psychological tension
  • psychological disorder: in exceptional cases, compulsive pulling out of eyebrow hair (trichotillomania)
  • unwanted side effects of medication or chemotherapy
  • contact allergy to certain cosmetics, shampoos or creams


Hormonal causes of thinning eyebrows

Thyroid disorders

Roughly half of all women with a thyroid condition experience hair loss, including eyebrow loss and thinning eyebrows. Both an underactive thyroid gland and an overactive thyroid gland can cause this malfunction. With an overactive thyroid gland, also known as hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis, hair growth is accelerated by increased thyroid hormones. Due to this faster growth, they also fall out faster. With an underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism, the growth of eyebrow hair is hampered by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. This can also lead to hair loss. Sometimes drug treatment of a thyroid condition can also lead to hair loss near the eyebrows.
With Hashimoto’s disease you can also suffer from hair loss, including the eyebrows. In this disease, the body’s own immune system targets thyroid cells, causing these cells to destroy and the thyroid gland to gradually slow down and produce less and less thyroid hormone. Typically, there is initially an overactive thyroid gland and eventually an underactive thyroid gland and therefore a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Since the thyroid hormones also regulate hair growth, this can affect the eyebrows.


Hormonal changes take place during menopause. Estrogen levels decrease. Estrogen is a female hormone and is produced in the ovaries during the maturation of an egg. Because this also plays a certain role in hair growth, decreasing estrogen levels can cause eyebrow loss and thinning eyebrows. During menopause, the concentration of the female sex hormone progesterone also decreases, which can also promote eyebrow hair loss. Since hormone levels change permanently, thoughtful hormone therapy may be advisable if necessary. This treatment can take place with certain hormone preparations or with the help of hormone implants or so-called phytohormones, i.e. herbal hormone preparations.

After a pregnancy

Getting thin eyebrows after pregnancy sometimes occurs. The so-called steroid hormone progesterone promotes hair growth, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Shortly before menstruation and during pregnancy, this hormone can be found in increased concentrations in the female body. Estrogen concentration also increases, which also contributes to improved hair growth. A drop in these two hormones after childbirth can cause eyebrow hair loss.

Birth control pill / Source: BruceBlaus, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-4.0)

Birth control pill

But stopping the birth control pill can also significantly change hormonal conditions and cause short-term eyebrow loss and thinning eyebrows. The hormone estrogen affects hair growth in the female body. Sudden changes and fluctuations in estrogen levels in a woman can lead to acute eyebrow loss.

Symptoms of thinning eyebrows

Not only can hair fall out in the eyebrows, but other body hair can also fall out at the same time. If the eyelashes fall out, this is called madarosis. This is loss of hair, especially the eyelashes and eyebrows. Depending on the underlying cause, other complaints may also occur. The skin may be warmer/colder, drier/wetter than normal. Excessive sweating may occur. It can also cause redness and itching. Seborrheic dermatitis can also develop in the eyebrow hair. In that case, the skin becomes red and yellowish, greasy flakes develop. If eyebrow loss continues and your eyebrows become thinner, it can also lead to shame, sadness and even depression.

Expiration and duration

Depending on the cause, the duration of thin eyebrows can be very different, sometimes it is temporary and sometimes it is permanent. Eyebrow hair loss caused by stress or intolerance and allergies usually lasts temporarily, provided you remove or avoid the cause. The same applies to thinning eyebrows after pregnancy. This problem will resolve itself as soon as your hormonal balance is restored. Things are different during menopause, because the hormone levels change permanently during this period. If there is a thyroid condition, it can lead to permanent eyebrow loss and thin eyebrows if not treated. With adequate treatment, eyebrow hair loss lasts until a balanced metabolism is achieved.

Blood test / Source: Alexander Raths/

Examination and diagnosis

You are usually the first to notice that your eyebrow hairs are falling out and becoming thinner. When you go to the doctor, he will first ask questions about your health and the complaints you are experiencing. He looks at the eyebrows, the surrounding skin, but also at the hair on the head and your nails. Often the pattern of eyebrow loss already shows possible causes. In addition, the doctor can test whether the eyebrow hairs can be easily pulled out with the fingers. This may provide clues to the possible cause. The doctor can also perform a blood test and hair analysis and, if necessary, a scalp biopsy if the GP or dermatologist wants to be more certain about the diagnosis he has made with the naked eye. A blood test can provide information about the levels of various vitamins and nutrients, the presence of certain so-called autoimmune antibodies and general inflammatory values. Metabolic diseases or functional disorders of the thyroid gland can thus be ruled out.

Treatment of thin eyebrows

Treat underlying cause

The treatment for eyebrow loss and thin eyebrows depends on the cause. If you are unable to determine and remove the cause yourself, a doctor’s visit is recommended. Depending on the cause, (drug) treatment aimed at the underlying cause may be useful. If the cause is not known, it is not advisable to buy expensive products that promise relief but ultimately have no effect.

Power supply

In case of a nutritional deficiency, it is important to examine your own diet and adjust it if necessary. The doctor can recommend (temporary) supplementation. A balanced and healthy diet with sufficient vitamins and minerals can correct eyebrows due to a nutritional deficiency.


Cosmetics and shampoos that can irritate the eyebrows should be identified and avoided. If you have very dry skin (which causes you to constantly scratch and pick your eyebrows), a little sesame oil or almond oil can in some cases support the skin and thus eyebrow growth.

Make eyebrows thicker

Bimatoprost 0.03%

One-time use of bimatoprost may produce promising results in some people. Doctors prescribe this drug to patients with glaucoma (increased eye pressure). Bimatoprost is a synthetic counterfeit hormone, a so-called prostaglandin. However, in 2020, more harmless variants of prostaglandin-containing products have also come onto the market.


Applying corticosteroid creams or ointments as prescribed and when indicated by a doctor can slow hair loss. People can also receive corticosteroid injections to stimulate hair growth. Doctors often give these injections to treat alopecia areata.


Minoxidil reduces hair loss and sometimes also promotes hair growth. People often use minoxidil and corticosteroids together to treat alopecia areata.

Hair transplant or microblading

Another option to treat thin eyebrows is eyebrow transplantation or microblading, a semi-permanent make-up technique that allows you to create beautiful eyebrows. This does not allow the hair to grow back, but it can give the eyebrows a fuller appearance.

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