If you’ve noticed your eyebrows thinning or falling out from rubbing them, you’re not alone. Many of us subconsciously rub, scratch, or pick at our eyebrows when we’re stressed or deep in thought. But this simple habit can damage hair follicles and cause excessive eyebrow hair loss over time.
In this article, we’ll explore why rubbing your eyebrows leads to shedding, the eyebrow growth cycle, and how to regrow thicker brows after overplucking or thinning. Read on to learn what causes eyebrow hair loss, ways to improve hair health, and treatments to stimulate new eyebrow hair growth.
What Is The Eyebrow Hair Growth Cycle?
Before understanding why rubbing leads to eyebrow hair loss, it’s important to learn about the eyebrow hair growth cycle.
The average growth cycle for each eyebrow hair strand lasts between 4-8 weeks. During this cycle, old hairs shed and are replaced by new ones sprouting from the follicles underneath your skin.
There are three main phases in the eyebrow hair growth cycle:
The anagen phase is the active growth period when eyebrow hairs elongate and grow longer. During this phase, brow hairs can lengthen at a rate of around 1/8 to 1/4 inch per month as the hair follicle produces new cells.
This growth phase typically lasts between 2-4 weeks for each eyebrow hair strand. The longer your eyebrow hair remains in the anagen phase, the longer it will grow.
Next comes the short catagen transition phase lasting around 2-3 weeks. During catagen, the hair follicle begins to shrink signaling the end of active eyebrow hair growth.
Eyelash and eyebrow hairs do not grow or elongate during the catagen phase. The hair strand detaches from the follicle’s blood supply as it prepares to shed.
The telogen phase is when eyebrow hairs fall out or shed. This resting period lasts around 2-4 months, during which old hairs are released so they can be replaced by new hairs already growing in the anagen phase underneath.
Around 5-15% of your eyebrow hairs are in the telogen shedding phase at any given time. You can lose up to 5 brows hairs per day naturally due to this hair growth cycle.
Why Do My Eyebrows Fall Out When I Rub Them?
Now that you understand the eyebrow hair cycle, let’s discuss why rubbing your eyebrows causes hair loss.
Frequently rubbing, pulling, picking or scratching your eyebrows can damage the hair follicles. This leads individual hairs to fall out prematurely before they are ready to complete the growth cycle.
If you consistently rub your eyebrows in the same area over time, it can disrupt the hair growth cycle and damage the follicles. This prevents new anagen hairs from sprouting normally leading to thinning eyebrows.
Here’s why frequent eyebrow rubbing causes excessive hair shedding and loss:
- The friction and force can uproot eyebrow hairs that are not ready to shed yet, pulling them out before the telogen phase.
- It can break the hair strands, causing them to fall out and not grow back properly.
- Rubbing can inflame the hair follicles around the eyebrows, preventing new hair regrowth.
- Over time, it damages the follicle so that it can no longer produce new hairs efficiently.
So in summary, rubbing your eyebrows too often essentially shocks and damages the follicles, causing premature hair loss beyond the normal shedding rate. The result is thin and patchy eyebrows over time.
What Causes Eyebrow Hairs To Fall Out?
There are a few other common causes for eyebrow hair loss and thinning brows beyond eyebrow rubbing:
- Overplucking or waxing too frequently also damages hair follicles. Plucking the same hairs repeatedly can destroy the follicle so it can’t regrow.
- Hormonal changes during menopause, pregnancy, or thyroid disorders lead to excess shedding due to fluctuations in estrogen levels.
- Medications like antidepressants, cholesterol drugs, anticoagulants can affect hair growth cycles. Ask your doctor.
- Poor nutrition and deficiencies in iron, zinc, vitamins B-6 and B-12 disrupt healthy eyebrow hair growth.
- Medical conditions like alopecia areata, hypertension, lupus cause eyebrow hair loss.
- Sun damage and pollution exposure causes hair follicle inflammation.
- Stress triggers excess shedding of eyebrow hairs.
Now let’s explore ways to nourish your existing brow hairs and improve hair health.
How Can We Improve The Health Of Our Eyebrows?
If you want to maintain thick, healthy eyebrows, focus on conditioning the hairs and improving hair growth:
- Groom regularly with tweezers for shaping. Never pluck the same hairs repeatedly.
- Apply oil like coconut, castor or vitamin E oil daily to nourish brow hairs.
- Take biotin supplements and vitamins C, E and A for thicker eyebrow growth.
- Eat more proteins like eggs, nuts, beans for fuller eyebrows.
- Drink plenty of water for hydration and hair health. Dehydration causes shedding.
- Avoid harsh dyes or bleach that damage hair follicles and cause breakage.
With some simple eyebrow care, you can maintain lush, full brows for years to come. Now let’s look at what to do when eyebrows are thinning or falling out excessively.
Why Are My Eyebrows Falling Out And Not Growing Back?
If you notice your eyebrows are thinning, shedding excessively or refusing to grow back, there may be an underlying issue.
Here are some potential reasons your eyebrows are not regrowing after plucking or thinning:
- Medical conditions like thyroid disorders, lupus, vitiligo, alopecia areata can prevent eyebrow regrowth. See a doctor.
- Medications like blood thinners, cholesterol drugs, antidepressants may disrupt hair cycles.
- Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause cause temporary shedding.
- Severe nutritional deficiencies in iron, zinc, biotin inhibit follicle growth.
- Chronic stress and high cortisol leads to excess hair loss.
- Repeated plucking/rubbing has damaged the follicles so they can no longer produce hair.
- Scalp psoriasis may cause inflammation in eyebrow hair follicles.
- Aging slows down hair growth cycles leading to thinner brows.
If your eyebrows are not growing back after plucking or seem to be thinning, it’s important to identify the underlying cause with your dermatologist. Treating any nutritional deficiencies, health conditions or hormone changes can help promote regrowth.
Now let’s look at how to stimulate new eyebrow hair regrowth after excess shedding or thinning.
How To Regrow Eyebrow Hair Loss?
If you want to regrow sparse, thinning eyebrows, here are some proven techniques:
- Use castor oil – Massage pure cold-pressed castor oil into brows nightly. It conditions follicles and can stimulate growth in sparse areas.
- Take biotin – This B-complex vitamin supports healthy hair production and growth cycles in brows. Take 2500-5000mcg daily.
- Apply essential oils – Oils like rosemary, lavender, tea tree oil can increase circulation to stimulate new brow hair growth when applied topically.
- Microblading or micropigmentation – This cosmetic tattooing creates the look of fuller brows by depositing pigment into the skin that resembles hair strokes. Results last 1-3 years.
- Reduce stress – High cortisol and stress hormones disrupt healthy hair cycles. Try yoga, meditation, massage, light therapy to increase relaxation.
- Eat hair-healthy foods – Consume more proteins, omega-3s, iron, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and B-complex for improved eyebrow growth.
- Use peptide serums – Look for growth factor peptides like copper tripeptide-1, prostaglandin analogs, or redensyl that support the anagen phase.
With patience and a proper hair care routine, you can nourish hair follicles and stimulate regrowth of lush, full eyebrows after excessive plucking or rubbing caused temporary shedding. But avoid repeatedly plucking the same hairs which can permanently damage follicles.
I hope this article explained exactly why rubbing your eyebrows often causes hair loss, as well as tips to regrow lush eyebrows after thinning. With some simple techniques, you can maintain healthy, beautiful eyebrows for years to come.
Sophia Rodriguez is the creative force behind IGXO Cosmetics, a popular beauty blog and brand. As a long-time makeup artist and beauty industry insider, Sophia realized there was a lack of authentic, relatable content for the everyday woman. This inspired her to launch IGXO Cosmetics in 2018 as a platform to share her passion for beauty.