Whether it’s as a result of years of overplucking, hormonal changes or age, thinning eyebrows is an extremely common – and annoying – beauty concern.
This was less of a problem when the fashion was to wear single pencil lines, and when thin eyebrows were en vogue. Today, the bigger and fluffier the better, and the eyebrow trend for 2020 is going to see brows become even fluffier, even more au naturel and less groomed than it was in 2019. Not ideal if you’re following the trends and your eyebrows are letting you down.
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Even if eyebrow trends don’t interest you, thinning eyebrows can prematurely age a person’s face so if that’s more of a factor, then it can also be upsetting.
Much like the hair on your head, or other parts of your body, it becomes thinner and loses pigment as we get older. But it’s not just ageing that causes thinning eyebrows – stress, pregnancy, diet, eczema and psoriasis, overplucking and allergies are just some of the causes and without knowing which it is, it can be hard to know what to do about it.
The best place to start is to try to rule out some of the causes and speak to your doctor if you’re concerned. Below we’ve listed some causes and, more importantly, what it is about these causes that specifically stops your eyebrows growing as strong. Knowing the science behind the cause can, sometimes, help tackle it head-on.
This is a major, and common, cause of thinning eyebrows and unfortunately, there is little you can do to avoid it. As we get older, the levels of oestrogen in women, and testosterone in men, decrease. Oestrogen is the name of a group of sex hormones that give us what we consider to be feminine characteristics.
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It’s what makes us less likely to grow facial hair, encourages the hair on our head to grow and helps keep your skin smooth and wrinkle-free. As we age, typically in our 40s, levels of oestrogen drop which explains why our skin starts to sag, why many women get wiry hairs on their face and why we lose hair on it stops growing on our head and eyebrows.
Experiencing times of increased stress and anxiety, particularly excessive stress has been found to cause physiological changes. Not only does it reduce oxygen to your hair follicles, which prevents hair growth, but the release of the stress hormone cortisol inhibits the growth hormone and causes other hormones to fluctuate, leading to hair loss. This creates a double-whammy when it comes to thinning eyebrows. Laughing helps reduce the cortisol hormone, as does exercise.
It’s no wonder that over Christmas especially, when many of us overindulge, we enter January with brittle nails, lifeless hair and sallow skin. Our body’s growth hormones and cells rely on nutrients and vitamins found predominantly in fruits, vegetables and oily fish (among others) and a deficiency in any of these can lead to thinning eyebrows.
Vitamin A and zinc play a significant role in cellular growth, as do Biotin (Vitamin B-7), Vitamin C, iron, Vitamins E, B-12, and D, and Omega-3 fatty acids to a lesser extent, so if you’ve been hitting it hard recently, it may be worth taking a look at what you’re putting in your body.
It’s also why there are many, many vitamins formulated specifically to target hair, skin and nails and as we age, these can really help supplement your diet. The website Myvitamins is a great resource for such supplements, as well as many others, and it sells a specially formulated supplement called (imaginatively!) Myvitamins Hair, Skin & Nails which does what it says on the tin.
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And then there’s an entirely avoidable cause that for many of us older women have become victim to due to the aforementioned 1980s and 90s trend for pencil-thin brows. Overplucking your eyebrows can cause very minor trauma to the hair follicle and the delicate skin around your eyes and this can cause lasting damage. If you’re in this camp, it doesn’t mean it’s too late and there are things you can do to lessen the damage.
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Libby graduated from Bournemouth University with a degree in Multimedia Journalism. She’s worked as a researcher and writer for Heart Radio as well as a features writer for a Somerset newspaper. She’s since taken time out to travel, manage a hotel restaurant, do a lot of dog walking, and now works in London’s West End