Have you ever observed dry, flaky skin on your eyebrows and thought that your skin lacks hydration? Well you may be missing something, and this could be eyebrow dandruff. Yes you heard it right, your brows can be affected by dandruff too, just like your hair and scalp.
If you feel stressed out by this persistent condition, we are here to help. This article will guide you through the causes of eyebrow dandruff, how to treat it and tips to prevent it altogether.
What The Expert Says
“Just like the dandruff on your scalp, eyebrow dandruff can be stubborn too and may not be easy to get rid of. It is important to know the exact reason behind your condition to manage it effectively.”
-Dr. Kaustav Guha, Director, R&D division, SkinKraft laboratories
What Causes Dandruff On Eyebrows?
The exact cause of eyebrow dandruff is not yet known. However, a few common reasons for the dry, flaky skin on and around your eyebrows are given below.
1. Seborrheic Dermatitis
This is a non-infectious skin condition that can be caused by a yeast called Malassezzia which is a resident flora of our skin. However, in people with excessively oily skin, this yeast can overgrow and lead to this skin condition.
Dr. Kaustav Guha, Director, R&D division, SkinKraft laboratories, informs that, “Seborrheic dermatitis is characterised by greasy patches of skin covered with white or yellowish crust or flakes, accompanied by redness and itching. Apart from your scalp, it can also affect your eyebrows, eyelids, area around the ear and nose, armpits or groin.”
This form of dermatitis is a chronic condition in adults and can show episodes of flare-ups and remission. Seborrheic dermatitis in infants is also known as cradle cap that usually subsides between 6 months to 1 year of age.
Also known as atopic dermatitis, this inflammatory skin condition is more common in children than adults. Dr. Guha mentions that, “The barrier function of your skin is disrupted if you have eczema, which leads to loss of hydration from the surface of your skin. Along with red, itchy rashes, eczema can also cause dry flakes or crusts which sometimes ooze fluids.”
Apart from your limbs and neck region, eczema also affects the region around your eyes and may be responsible for the dry, flaky skin on your brows. This condition is usually hereditary and is often accompanied by asthma and allergies (atopic march).
According to Dr. Guha, “Psoriasis is caused by the malfunctioning of your immune system leading to inflammation. The hyperactivity of the immune system leads to an excessive overproduction of skin cells which form plaques or scales on the surface of your skin.” Psoriasis can affect almost any part of your body, and may be the reason behind the dry flakes of skin near your eyebrows.
4. Contact Dermatitis
As the name suggests, this condition occurs when your skin comes in contact with allergens or irritants such as harsh chemicals. Contact dermatitis is characterised by rashes, inflammation, itchiness or, dry and cracked skin.
The symptoms usually subside by themselves upon withdrawal of the irritant or allergen, but in case of more severe irritation you may need to use medications. Mostly, the itching due to contact dermatitis leads to the dry skin flakes on your eyebrows.
How Do You Get Rid Of Dandruff On Your Eyebrows?
Here are a few treatment options that can help you stay free of eyebrow dandruff for a long time.
1. Antifungal Cleansers
The most common cause of eyebrow dandruff is a fungal agent (yeast) as discussed before. Washing your brows with an antifungal shampoo containing selenium sulfide or ketoconazole can help reduce the yeast overgrowth, thus eliminating the dandruff.
You can use an anti-dandruff shampoo that’s available over the counter. However, these are usually milder than prescription formulations. Do take care that your skin doesn’t get too dry as this will defeat the whole purpose of getting rid of the dry, flaky skin from your eyebrow.
2. Treat The Underlying Skin Conditions
- If you have contact dermatitis, you need to identify and avoid the substances that trigger flare-ups. In case of severe discomfort, you can apply corticosteroids or take antihistamine medications as per the directions of your doctor.
- Since conditions like eczema or psoriasis tend to be chronic in nature, your healthcare provider is the best person to suggest how to manage your condition and avoid flare-ups.
3. Home Remedies
Here are a few natural remedies you can try at home to keep eyebrow dandruff in check.
A. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is rich in terpineol which is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory as well as antiparasitic agent.
- Heat a tablespoon of tea tree oil just warm enough to touch.
- Gently massage it on your brows and let it sit for 10 - 15 minutes.
- Wash off with lukewarm water.
- Apply daily till the dandruff disappears.
B. Neem oil
Neem oil is anti-inflammatory apart from having antifungal properties. Rubbing a little neem oil on your brows daily will not only get rid of the dandruff but may prevent it from coming back as well.
C. Almond oil
The oil from sweet almond is an excellent moisturising agent rich in good fatty acids, vitamins and zinc.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of almond oil for a minute or two.
- Rub it between your fingers to cool it down a bit and massage gently on your brows.
- For best results leave it on overnight. Wash off with a mild cleanser on the morning after.
- Daily usage of this oil will not only eliminate dry, flaky skin but also give you more fuller brows in the long run.
D. Aloe vera gel
This wonder ingredient not only hydrates your skin but also soothes itching and inflammation. It is best if you can use the gel directly from the fresh leaves. If fresh leaves are not available, you can also use the packaged versions of the gel available in the market.
Rub aloe vera gel on your brows and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. You can then wash it off with cold water. Use this regularly to prevent your brows from getting flaky in the future.
E. Fenugreek seeds
These seeds not only have antifungal properties but are also rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Fenugreek will reduce the yeast growth as well as gently exfoliate your brow skin.
- Soak a tablespoon of fenugreek seeds overnight and crush them into a paste the next morning.
- Gently rub this paste on your brows and let it sit for a couple of minutes till it is a little dry.
- Finally scrub it off gently and wash with cold water.
General Tips To Prevent Eyebrow Dandruff
- Protect the skin around your brows from dehydration, especially in the dry, winter months. Regularly use a good moisturizer that suits your skin, to keep your facial skin hydrated.
- Resist the urge to itch the affected area as this will not only worsen the dandruff, it can also lead to an infection.
- Although gentle exfoliation helps remove the dead, dry skin from your brows, you should take care not to overdo it. Excessive scrubbing can cause inflammation and worsen your eyebrow dandruff.
- You need to take note if a particular cleanser or skin care product is making your eyebrow dandruff worse and avoid it if possible. Harsh soaps, perfumes, certain chemicals like sls, and parabens are common skin irritants.
- Stress can affect your immune system and trigger flare-ups if you have eczema or psoriasis. Avoid stress to get healthy skin among other things.
Also your skin is as unique as you are as a person. The first step to taking good care is knowing the current condition of your skin which is dependent on more than one factor. You can take SkinKraft’s AI enabled quiz to know your skin better and order products that meet your specific skin care concerns.
Does Eyebrow Dandruff Cause Hair Loss?
The conditions leading to eyebrow dandruff may also lead to loss of hair from your brow. Seborrheic dermatitis by itself may not cause any hair loss. However, if you scratch the affected areas repeatedly, you may damage the hair follicles which will lead to hair loss.
Hair follicles are little sac-like structures present beneath your skin from which hair grows out. Additionally, inflammation of the skin, as in case of eczema or psoriasis may also adversely affect your hair.
What Are The Complications Associated With Eyebrow Dandruff?
Eyebrow dandruff may be accompanied by rashes, irritation, inflammation or even infections in severe cases. This condition is mostly chronic but can be managed easily if proper care is taken before things get serious.
In some cases there may be oozing of fluids. Also, persistent itching can cause scarring of the affected area.
When To Consult A Doctor About Eyebrow Dandruff?
You should see a doctor immediately if one or many of the following happens.
- Eyebrow dandruff refuses to disappear even after prolonged usage of anti-dandruff products.
- Your itching has intensified or become unbearable.
- The affected area looks red or swollen.
- You have fever, rashes all over your body, etc.
Eyebrow dandruff is quite a common condition affecting people across all age groups. Although eyebrow dandruff cannot be cured completely, it can be managed easily with proper diagnosis and treatment. It is therefore important to consult your dermatologist to know the exact cause behind your condition and decide a treatment option that suits you the best.
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