Eyebrow Hair Loss is Itchy and Getting Worse'

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Name: Vik

Question: I am writing on behalf of my girlfriend. Over the last 2-3 weeks she has noticed loss of eyebrow hair and has also felt itchiness. Whilst she has been to a GP and has been prescribed with an anti-fungal cream to use, this has worsened the redness and itchiness and the hair loss continues. She has been asked to try hydrocortisone next but is worried about the rate of hair loss and I am writing to find out if there are any suggestions and if it would be worth having her arrange a consultation to discuss this further as she is getting quite concerned at how quickly the rate of hair loss is increasing.

Answer: Hi, Vik. We specialise in hair loss that affects the scalp only so unfortunately will not be able to prescribe any treatment for the face.

An example of seborrhoeic dermatitis in the eyebrow
An example of seborrhoeic dermatitis in the eyebrow (red patches which are often accompanied by flaking skin in and around the brow)

However, I do recommend your girlfriend sees a dermatologist who can examine her eyebrows thoroughly. If her GP suspects there is a fungal infection, there are tests that can be arranged to confirm this diagnosis.

Itchy and flaky eyebrows may also present with seborrhoeic dermatitis which is a type of eczema that often affects the areas rich in sebum.

This dermatological condition does not cause hair loss, however, excessive scratching of the area may cause hair breakage or temporary hairloss.

Anti-fungal products often help with seborrhoeic dermatitis, so this may be one of the reasons your GP prescribed such a cream. On the other hand, if the cream made the condition worse, it is important your partner reports this to her GP so that other treatment options can be explored.

Loss of eyebrow hair can happen for various other reasons and it is important for the area to be examined thoroughly so your partner can receive the correct treatment.

For example, Alopecia Areata (AA) can affect any hairs on the body, including the eyebrows, although it is more common on the scalp. It is an autoimmune disorder which tends to present as sudden-onset patchy hair loss.

Possible triggers may include stress, recent infections, dietary deficiencies, other autoimmune problems and, sometimes, a genetic predisposition.

Alopecia Areata should not irritate the skin, though occasionally excessive hair shedding may feel tingling or itchy. The prognosis of AA is very unpredictable but in most cases the hair grows back.

Example of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
An Example of Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia

Some types of cicatricial alopecia, also known as 'scarring alopecia', such as Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA), can also affect the eyebrows. This is also an autoimmune condition, but it is poorly understood and the triggers are as yet unknown.

This hair loss condition causes inflammation in the hair follicles which persists for a while before destroying the follicles, leaving permanent band of baldness, where the skin is often smooth and paler, around the frontal hairline area.

FFA is a rare form of hairloss and looks very different to Alopecia Areata and hair breakage, so an experienced dermatologist should be able to confirm the diagnosis following examination.

It is difficult to advise you on treatments or diagnosis without examining the affected area. However, as Belgravia does not offer any hair loss solutions for the face or body, I advise your girlfriend to consult with her GP and/or dermatologist.

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