Eyebrows 101: How To Keep Them Looking Good

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DOES OVERPLUCKING ALWAYS LEAD TO PERMANENT EYEBROW HAIR LOSS?

A: Not always. Your body perceives plucking as trauma to the hair follicle.  This leads to mild inflammation around the hair follicle. The hair will usually grow back.  However, over time, with chronic plucking and chronic trauma to those hairs; a form of traction alopecia can occur. The eyebrow loss can become permanent at that time.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER CAUSES OF HAIR LOSS WOMEN AND MEN SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT?

Trauma due to plucking or tweezing is one of the most common causes.  Aging can lead to thinner eyebrows, as our eyebrow hairs become more fine and dry. Thyroid abnormalities can affect metabolism and protein synthesis, which can cause loss of the outer aspects of the eyebrow.  There are hair disorders that can also affect the eyebrows. They include alopecia areata and frontal fibrosing alopecia. With both entities, the hair follicles are targeted by inflammation.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO DETERMINE WHAT’S CAUSING YOUR EYEBROW LOSS?

If there is no obvious cause, such as trauma due to plucking; I would recommend having an evaluation by a physician. This is important because; as mentioned above, there are systemic factors that can lead to eyebrow loss.

TELL US ABOUT THE EYEBROW TRANSPLANT PROCEDURE THAT MEAGAN GOOD DID. HOW IS SOMETHING LIKE THIS DONE?

Eyebrow transplants are very fun, rewarding procedures to replace the eyebrows that are permanently lost.  We surgically remove hair bearing skin from the back of the scalp. We then create hundreds of small holes where we intend to place the grafts on the eyebrows.  Then the grafts are meticulously placed in the holes. The eyebrows will grow like scalp hairs, so they will need to be trimmed and groomed every two weeks.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TYPICAL TRANSPLANT PROCEDURE COST?

This procedure costs several thousand dollars.

IS THERE ANY WAY TO GET EYEBROWS TO GROW BACK NATURALLY?

Serums that contain prostaglandin analogs can lengthen the growing phase of eyebrows and increase the number of hairs in that stage as well.  Numerous over the counter eyebrow products contain these type of molecules. Prostaglandin analog serums may also be obtained via prescription.

EXPLAIN WHAT FRONTAL FIBROSING ALOPECIA (FFA) IS AND WAYS TO TREAT IT.

FFA is a form of hair loss that most commonly occurs in postmenopausal women.  It causes smooth, band-like hairline recession over the frontal scalp, patchy eyebrow loss, and sometimes body hair loss.  There may be noticeable red-brown spots around the hair follicles in the affected areas. This entity may also lead to a prematurely aged appearance with a change in texture, discoloration and increased fine lines on the face.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MICROBLADING AND TATTOOING?

Microblading is a semi-permanent technique that is performed by hand to increase the definition and shape of the eyebrows.  It is usually less painful than tattooing and can look more natural. However, it will fade after 6-18 months; so it will need to be repeated and it may be more expensive.  Eyebrow tattooing is longer lasting and performed with a tattoing machine. It is best to fill in the mid portion of the brow and reinforce the existing shape. The ink may spread and become thicker over time and the process may be more painful.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO FIND A REPUTABLE PROFESSIONAL TO HELP CAMOUFLAGE EYEBROW HAIR LOSS?

Speak to your dermatologist about who they may recommend.  If you do not see a dermatologist regularly, find someone who has a lot of before and after pictures and has several years experience.

DOES WAXING EYEBROWS OR THREADING EYEBROWS CAUSE MORE HARM THAN GOOD?

Both techniques are traumatic to the hairs.  Over time, these techniques can lead to mild traction-induced eyebrow loss.  I would suggest only waxing or threading hair that you would never want to regrow, for example the synophrys or unibrow area.

WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION?  

You can click HERE for more. 

Dr. Meena Singh is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatologic surgeon. She attended Harvard Medical School, trained at the Mayo Clinic, and completed a procedural dermatology fellowship with the International Society for Hair Restoration Surgery.  Dr. Singh is the medical director of the KMC Hair Center who specializes in treating ethnic skin and hair.  Her passion is treating and restoring disfiguring scarring forms of hair loss seen exclusively in patients of African descent.  She recently co-authored, “Hair Transplantation, Aesthetic Series” complete hair transplant textbook.  

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