Eyebrow Loss During Menopause: Causes & Solutions

Last updated 12.05.2023 | by Dr. Karen Pike | 8 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


Did you know that menopause is associated with eyebrow loss?

Not everyone experiences eyebrow loss during menopause, but many women do. And although it’s a perfectly normal response to hormonal changes happening inside the body, it can take you by surprise.

So, it’s important to understand why your eyebrows can become sparser during this period of your life. After all, knowledge is power, and once you understand the reasons behind this type of hair loss, you can start to combat the issue.

I remember when I first began noticing bald patches in my once thick and full brows. For me, the issue began during perimenopause (the build up to menopause) and it continued for several years. But thankfully, I found some solutions, and now my eyebrows are back to their former glory.

Are you also struggling with eyebrow loss during menopause? Are you keen to find out why your brows are thinning? Keep reading, because in this post, I’ll be sharing the reasons why so many women suffer from this problem, and what we can do to fix it.

Why Does Eyebrow Loss Happen During Menopause?

Like all symptoms of menopause, thinning eyebrows are due to hormonal changes. During perimenopause (the build-up to menopause), our estrogen production steadily begins to decline.

Estrogen is known for its crucial role in our reproductive systems. But it also influences a wide variety of other bodily functions and processes, including hair growth.

Less estrogen means less active hair follicles. As a result, hair can begin to grow much slower than it once did.

All hair on our body follows a 4 phase life cycle[1].

  • The anagen phase: This is also known as the growing phase.
  • The catagen phase: This is the phase when nutrient intake to the root stops, and the root begins to shrink.
  • The telogen phase: This is the resting phase before the hair ultimately falls out to make room for a new stem.
  • The exogen phase: This is the shedding phase, a continuation of the telogen phase, where old hairs fall away.

Before menopause, the majority of the hair on our eyebrows is in the growing phase, with only a small percentage of those hairs in the telogen and exogen phases at any one time.

However, a drop in estrogen during menopause can lead to a slower and shorter growth phase, and the hair falls out before there is a new strand ready to replace it. As a result, hair becomes thinner and patchier, and bald spots can occur.

Of course, this problem isn’t just limited to our eyebrows. It can also happen in our heads, too. In fact, thinning head hair is one of the more commonly reported side effects of menopause. Almost 40% of women notice some degree of thinning during and after this transitional time, and unfortunately for me, up until recently, I was one of them[2].

I not only had patchy eyebrows; I was also losing an alarming amount of hair. While I didn’t have bald patches on my head, the overall thickness of my hair was noticeably declining, and my hairbrush was collecting double the number of strands than it used to.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to halt the hair loss process, and a little later in this post, I’ll share how I did it, so that you can too.

Other Potential Causes of Eyebrow Loss

Other Potential Causes of Eyebrow Loss

If you’ve noticed your eyebrows are getting thinner during and after menopause, the most likely culprit is your hormones. However, there are a few other potential factors that could be to blame, including:

What Can You Do About Eyebrow Loss During Menopause?

What Can You Do About Eyebrow Loss During Menopause

While eyebrow loss doesn’t cause any negative health consequences, it can affect your self-confidence. It certainly did mine; after all, eyebrows frame the face, and without them, we look a little different.

I remember looking in the mirror and longing for my old brows back. And so, I decided to take a multi-pronged approach to regaining my eyebrows, and, in turn, my confidence. And as it turns out, these changes didn’t just restore my brows, they also improved the thickness of the hair on my head too!

Here’s what worked for me:

1. Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods

You are what you eat, and good hair growth depends upon good nutrition. So, I made sure to clean up my diet and introduce the right vitamins and minerals.

Eating a balanced diet low in sugar and free from processed foods can help to reduce the symptoms of menopause, including hair and eyebrow loss.

Certain nutrients can also help to support hair growth, such as protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

Adequate sleep is essential for our overall health and well-being. Sleep is when our whole body can rest, replenish, and regenerate itself, and this includes the hair follicles on our brows.

But sleep isn’t always easy to obtain during menopause. I was finding it particularly hard to get the recommended 7-9 hours of slumber each night when I was suffering from night sweats and insomnia[3].

However, as I found out, there is hope.

If your sleep is suffering, you can find help through our detailed guide to menopause and insomnia here.

3. Stress Less

Stress is one of the leading causes of hair loss. When we’re stressed, our body produces excess amounts of cortisol. Too much cortisol can lead to a whole host of conditions and diseases, and it’s also a major driver of hair loss.

So, take small steps to reduce your stress levels each day. My favorite way to unwind is through mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation. I also make sure to take regular exercise, spend time in nature, and limit screen time as much as possible.

4. Avoid Damage

I used to catch myself rubbing my eyes when I was tired or when I first woke up in the morning.

But too much vigorous rubbing causes breakage of our brows, and it can even pull out individual hairs from the roots before their natural growth cycle has come to an end.

So, I ditched this bad habit. Now, I’m as gentle as possible with my eyebrows and avoid touching or rubbing them unnecessarily.

It’s also important to avoid overplucking your brows, as this can damage the hair follicle and lead to weaker, thinner strands of hair.

5. Try Castor Oil

Castor oil is made from the beans of a castor tree. It’s long been used as a home remedy for various ailments and conditions, and anecdotal evidence suggests that it can also help boost your brows.

While there haven’t been any scientific studies to confirm castor oil’s effectiveness as a hair growth aid, many menopausal women, including me swear by it.

The best way to apply castor oil is at night before you go to sleep. But beware, it’s extremely thick and sticky, so it’s best to use an old pillowcase to avoid any mess.

6. Visit a Salon

If holding on to your natural eyebrows isn’t working, there are various enhancements available at beauty salons that can bring your brows back to life.

Eyebrow tinting is the most popular and least invasive method. This quick and easy treatment involves applying a permanent dye to existing eyebrow hairs to darken them and allow them to stand out more.

If eyebrow loss is only minimal, this technique can be extremely effective. However, it only lasts as long as your hair cycle. I find that I need to touch mine up every 6-8 weeks.

Another option is microblading. This is a more long-term solution that involves tattooing extremely fine hair-like strokes to replicate the look of real eyebrows.

Done well by an experienced practitioner, microblading can fill any bald patches and create the illusion of full, natural-looking brows. The finished result will last for around 1-3 years, depending on the individual. After this time, you’ll need a touch-up to keep them looking fresh.

Talk to your doctor

Medications such as topical bimatoprost (Latisse) and minoxidil may also be effective treatments.

Conclusion

Eyebrow loss isn’t the most commonly reported side effect of menopause, but it does affect a significant amount of women. And while it doesn’t usually require medical interventions, it can still have an impact on our self-esteem and change the way we see ourselves.

It certainly did for me, but thankfully, I made some lifestyle changes, and now, my brows are much fuller and thicker than they were before.

By eating and sleeping well, and avoiding stress and damage, I’ve managed to boost my hair growth and keep my eyebrows looking healthy. And now, you can do the same.

However, if the methods above aren’t enough to fix the issue, a good beauty salon can help to create the illusion of thicker eyebrows through treatments like tinting and microblading.

For more information about generalized hair loss during menopause, be sure to read our in-depth guide here.

Author

  • Dr. Karen Pike

    Dr. Pike is a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. She received her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and played collegiate soccer. She attended Georgetown University for medical school and performed her residency in emergency medicine at Stanford University. She was part of the first-ever, women-majority emergency medicine program in United States. Dr. Pike is also the primary medical consultant for “Grey’s Anatomy,” a role she has held since the pilot episode when she partnered with Shonda Rhimes as the show’s original medical consultant. At her hospital, she was the second woman Chief of Staff. Today serves as the Director of the Emergency Department. Whether in leadership or direct patient care, her dedication to excellence in communication, quality, and collaboration is unwavering.