When Thinning Eyebrows are a Sign of Trouble

You’re putting on your makeup, and you notice that the outer edge of your eyebrows is thinner than usual. Your first instinct is probably to pull out an eyebrow pencil, and fill in the sparse area.

But if you notice that your eyebrows have thinned, and in particular, if the outer edge of the eyebrows have thinned — or even disappeared — that’s a sign that it’s time to have your thyroid checked.

This loss of hair in the outer edge of the brows is one of the very unique signs that point specifically to an underactive thyroid – known as hypothyroidism.

But any old thyroid check will not do. It’s not enough to just have the standard Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test. At minimum, you will want bloodwork to check TSH, Free Thyroxine (Free T4), Free Triiodothyronine (Free T3), Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO), and Ferritin levels.

Results need to be interpreted by an integrative physician or practitioner who is knowledgeable about hormone balance. If you are clinically or even subclinically hypothyroid — or you have evidence of Hashimoto’s disease, which often picked up by elevated TPO antibodies — you may have this eyebrow thinning or eyebrow loss as a symptom.

Once you are properly diagnosed, treated, and optimized, it’s likely that your eyebrows will slowly grow back in. (But be patient — it can take months to see results!)

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38 Responses to When Thinning Eyebrows are a Sign of Trouble

  1. C says:

    I diagnosed my own Hashimotos when my eyebrows went missing. All I have left are a few straggly hairs and they haven’t grown back at all even after being on Levothyroxine for over 6 years. Lost a lot of body hair as well as thinning scalp hair. I’m not bald thank goodness, but I haven’t seen any significant improvement since my diagnosis. What am I doing wrong?

    • Michele says:

      I have been on levothyroxine for 13 years with continued symptoms. I was recently put on an additional medication, cytomel, or liothyronine, and I noticed an improvement immediately!.

      • Kori says:

        Hey Michele!

        I got diagnosed with hypothyroidism when I was 8 years old and started synthroid. (I’m 27 now) and for the past 7 years’ish I’ve been on levothyroxine. I was wondering what symptoms you were having that had you go back to the doctor for additional medication and what kinds of improvements you have seen. My mg has not changed in 19 years (knock on wood) but I’ve been noticing my eyebrows slowly disappearing and I’m always SO tired and my memory is just awful (more so with names, movies etc- nothing that effects my life too much.) any advice would help!!!

        Thanks,
        Kori Edwards

  2. Kelly says:

    Have you tried taking a supplement for hypothyroidism? I have been taking thyrocsin and have eyebrows again, that you can actually see! They were always there but so thin and blonde, it was like I didn’t have any. I have been supplementing for about 6 months now, went dairy and gluten free, lost about 50 pounds, and may have to learn how to pluck eyebrows! It never was an issue in my life previous, and I will be 39 in 2 weeks :)

  3. S says:

    I started losing my eyebrows approximately 10 years before my diagnosis. I even lost a large part of my eyelashes. My TSH, T3, and T4 tests were always in normal range and I didn’t know to press my doctors harder for answers. Doctors even told me that it must just be stress, and stressed I was, so I believed it. That was also the time I started gaining weight (30 pounds in one month) and experiencing chronic joint pain. It was my first year of college, I was a newly wed, and I was struggling with it all. I finally started to lose weight when I finally convinced my doctor to increase my dose of armor thyroid to 90mg. I’m feeling much more functional… less pain, clearer thinking, and less stomach issues. I’ve been on medication for about 5 years and no improvements whatsoever until my dose increase about 6 months ago. My labs tests have always been and to this day remain in the so-called “normal” range so I’ve had difficulty getting a diagnosis and getting increases in my dose. The only indication that I had thyroid disease outside of my symptoms, was the presence of nodules in my thyroid visible by ultrasound. After 10 years of missing my eyebrows, I doubt I will ever see them return. They tried to come back a couple of times the first few years but eventually quit. I have a little patch on each side that I color in and draw on from there. My guess is that I will always be stuck with the crayola cartoon eyebrows :(

  4. Beth says:

    Anyone have any idea how long it takes to develop hypothyroidism? It can take so long to get diagnosed yet seems so prevalent, I was wondering why it’s becoming so common but takes years for Doctors to consider checking it! My gall bladder quit somewhere around 2008. Been Asthmatic since I was four. IBS went IBD in 2009 when after years of troubles UC (Ulcerative Colitis was discovered (pneumonia, iron Deficient Anemia ensued) with continued hair loss ! BAM, a third immune disorder! Weight problems run in Mothers family so that started in my thirties, no surprise. Why can’t I get my PCP to be proactive and take additional T3,T4,TSO with TSH levels? Found at 5.58 in Spring and down to 1.5 by Summer but I still feel crummy most of the time even with changing eating habits, I’ve only lost 20lbs this year. Going GF (Gluten Free), virtually DF (Dairy Free) with Gluten and Lactose Intolerance. Been allergic to milk and grasses my whole life, maybe that was a clue, hmmm.

  5. Tyler says:

    C, it could be that Levothyroxine (inactive thyroid hormone t4) isn’t working well for you. Sometimes people are not good at converting inactive thyroid (t4) to active thyroid (t3). You could possibly identify this in a set of thyroid labs which would be everything described above and also Rt3 (reverse t3). If you are taking t4 and it is not converting to t3, you may be building up Rt3 and this could be causing problems. Some people do much better on either a desiccated thyroid glandular (t4 and t3 in proper ratio) or cytomel which is pure t3.

    Labs also sometimes do not tell the correct story and going by symptoms and tailoring your dosage is recommended. Temperature and pulse can be used to gauge thyroid activity as well. I feel that everyone struggling with thyroid issues should read Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness by Broda Barnes.

  6. Margaret says:

    I naturally have very, very light eyebrows. So, the loss wasn’t really noticeable for years.

    Mine have ever grown back, and I have been medicated for over five years.

  7. Bet says:

    I was just noticing my eyebrows are disappearing again. They were almost gone in 2009, eyelashes too. I have no hair left on my arms and legs (not a bad thing). Thing is, I am on synthroid, and just had my does upped to 100 from 88 after my TSH was very high. So what do I do now? I’m already gluten/grain free, so it’s not that.

    • Kimberly says:

      I think we ALL SHOULD BE ON T3 ONLY…CYTOMEL!
      SYNTHROID (T4) IS SIMPLY MAKING PEOPLE WORSE WHO ARE UNABLE TO MAKE T3 FROM T4!!!!
      Our bodies are supposed to make T3 (the metabolism hormone) from T4 (which is Synthroid)..and most of our bodies are simply unable to do this, so we all get SICKER! MORE ACHES AND PAIN, NO HAIR GROWTH, MORE FATIGUE AND GENERALLY FEELING TERRIBLE!
      READ BOOKS ON THIS…MANY ARE OUT THERE ON HOW TO CURE HYPOTHYROIDISM WITH T3 ONLY MEDS!!

      • Deb says:

        Thank You for this valuable info! I also believe everyone should read Dr. David Brownstein’s book on Overcoming Thyroid Disorders.

  8. barbara marden says:

    so much more info than I’ve been able to access before – I also had thinning eyebrows and thinning eyelashes -the eyelash loss has been diagnosed as due to a form of staph present on my lids -just started using polysporin to handle that and its too soon to tell if that will work

  9. C says:

    I’ve been using Latisse on my eyelids now for over a year and it is working pretty well. At least I have fuller and longer eyelashes. They are not lush like the ads but they are sufficient to make a big difference. I do have to keep up the treatment or else they go back to the way they were. My brows are still not filling in at all but I’ve gotten pretty adept at penciling them in. I use the superfine liner for brows from Clinque and sketch them in. I use my glasses as a frame to see if the brows match in shape. Otherwise I could draw one in higher or lower than the other. If you don’t wear glasses you can buy a cheap pair of reading glasses and take out the lenses. I tried a powder and stencils but they didn’t work for me. The stencils didn’t fit my face right and the powder wasn’t enough to fill in. If I had SOME eyebrows, the powder could have worked I think. But having next to no brows, the soft pencil did the trick.

    • Cindy says:

      I went ahead and had permanant makeup for my eyebrows. Couldn’t be happier, and the cost was worth it to not fuss every day.

  10. Patricia says:

    my eyebrows are almost gone, my eyelashes are thinning, my hair is thin, my first thyroid test was borderline, second fine, joint pain, weight gain, confused

    • Deb says:

      Please check out Dr. David Brownstein’s book Overcoming Thyroid Disorders. He points out that many thyroid tests are inaccurate. His book is also offered online for free.

  11. Debie Dillon says:

    My eyebrows are also missing on the outer edges. I have had two thyroid surgeries to remove goiters. My thyroid blood levels always come back in the normal range. I can’t figure out why my first surgeon says I would be on meds for the thyroid the rest of my life. When my second surgery occurred I was told my levels were in the normal range. Now I am not on any meds for my thyroid per my second surgeon. I have all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism. To say the least I am frustrated.

    • Leigh aguirre says:

      Wow you sound just like me. I am pushing for hashimotos testing. Had goiter when 19 had partial thyroid removed. Kept having thyroid blood tests after comes back normal. Then after children born when around 28 29 years old hair thinned out felt like crap lost libido had thyroid panel done said normal, then had thyroid sonogram found 2 nodules. But still no thyroid meds given. The nodules haven’t been looked at on 6 years. Felt like giving up . I am now 40 pounds heavier in last 4 years, feel like crap. Almost afraid to have blood work. For them to tell me nothing’s wrong. Also lost outer eyebrow shed hair like cat.

  12. Frank says:

    My eyebrows have thinned at the outer edges. My blood test showed hypothyroidism. I may be starting medication soon for it. I wonder how rare this condition is for a man as I see all other responses from women? I seem tired during the day even when I get enough sleep during the night. As I feel depressed and wonder if taking the medication will improve that. My mother did have hypothyroidism, so I assume it is genetic. I am the only one of four siblings that have hypothyroidism so far. My two sisters do not have it.

    • PF22 says:

      Hi, Frank. I hope you are feeling better now, or that you will soon.

      Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US. Have you been checked for this? I understand that it (and other autoimmune diseases) can run in families. I know a family in which it affected two men but apparently not their sister.

      “Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is 5 to 10 times more common in women than in men and most often starts in adulthood.”

      http://www.medicinenet.com/hashimotos_thyroiditis/article.htm

  13. mansi says:

    since my childhood i had shapely and aveage amount of hair in eyebrow line….. but as i started growing and put on weight i noticed my eyebrow hair getting thinner on the outer edge both side.. i got concerned but did not take it so seriously to check for thyroid problems or any other cause. but now i am 35 anmd weigh 90 kgs…. thats a matter to reallly worry for. I also suffer from PCOS… My gut feling says that may be the weight and PCOD are both playing the culprit for my eyebrow thinning….could someone please help me out with this
    Thanks and regards

  14. Elisabeth Hatt says:

    I have been on lethyrozine for about 15 years my eyebrows have never grown back.My daughter has just been diagnosed with pernicious anaemia are hypothyroidism & pernicious anaemia connected?.I am due to have a blood test done next month for my hypothyroidism (my annual check) should I ask my GP to check for pernicious anaemia as well.I have no IGA in my blood either

  15. Kate says:

    I have all symptoms but tsh etc test fine except for antibody…which shows Hashimoto (starting 4 years ago). Endo will not prescribe any meds. Eyebrows thinning, hair loss, weight gain, thinning skin, and so tired. Lots of nodules and goiter in neck. Not sure what doc is waiting for? My general doc is of the same opinion as Endo. I may find a more holistic doc to see if armor thyroid might help.

    • T. Love says:

      We have to be our own advocates. I suggest you go to another endocrinologist for a second opinion. Look for forums about thyroid disease to see if there are any endocrinologists that are recommended in your area.
      I was misdiagnosed for two years before I got a second opinion after the recommendation of my gynecologist

  16. Kimi says:

    Many years ago I took my daughter in to a specialist to have her tonsils removed, the doctor came in the room and right over to me and started examining me instead of her. He says I have a thyroid face and it needs to be corrected. For the last 15 years each new doctor I get ask to have my thyroid checked. I have completed a thyroid check list and I have so many (almost all) of the symptoms of Hypothyroidism. Each checked my T cells but went no further since my levels are always within normal range. I am at a lose, my husband noticed the other night that I only have half a left eyebrow…What can I do? Is there anything else it could be aside from Hypothyroidism?

  17. Rell says:

    I have been taken Thyroid Assist, a natural remedy. I started taking it because of fatigue, vertigo, dry skin, facial swelling, etc. never knew that my eyebrows were thin because of hypothyroidism until I saw growth. This is my 10th day using the remedy.

    • Julie says:

      Rell – I’ll be very interested to hear your reports on the treatment of Thyroid Assist. Reading many of the symptoms of others who’ve written here, I feel the same as many…..and so, am looking for natural things we can do to make improvements.

      Thank you,
      Julie

  18. Martha says:

    I notices the same symptoms several years ago and thought at first I was approaching menopause. A friend encouraged me to see a chiropractor/kinesiologist. I did and was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was given several food grade supplements – idoine, adrenal and hormone – and the majority of the symptoms went away! My eyebrows are as full as they were in my youth, however they are fuller and I feel 100% better!

    • Kate says:

      Hello Martha,
      I am very interested in what your treatment was. How long did it take for yiu to feel better?

    • Gillian says:

      I have no outer eyebrows and thinning hair on head. I am very slim 7st which I have been all my life so am not typical for thyroid problems but recently have found I am low in iron and also recently had rapid heartbeat which is connected to low iron I have read. I eat healthily and take supplements etc and have done for years and do not feel unduly tired. So why the thinning eyebrows.

  19. Martha says:

    I hit send too soon: Corrections: *noticed “my eyebrows are NOT as full as they were…

  20. Martha says:

    I have also seen significant improvement since taking a Biotin supplement.

  21. Meejay says:

    I’ve been on diotroxin for a year now and I have felt a lot better since….don’t really have any pains….but am struggling to lose the weight I gained…..is there any help…….

  22. Beth O says:

    ok,. here is my question, my internist has increased my Synthroid but I am still having symptoms and now my eyebrows are disappearing… what dr should I get a referral to to look at this more? Most Endocrinologists here look at Pancreatic function/diabetes and infertility… HELP!

  23. Kim says:

    I am in distress!! I have been having hair loss for about a year. My hairdresser keeps saying she doesn’t understand. She is using the safest hair products and it is breaking off unnaturally. Three weeks ago I woke up and was getting ready for work and my left eyebrow was suddenly missing a large amount of hair and uneven with my other one. I couldn’t understand what was going on and thought maybe I had somehow miss plucked. (But I hadn’t plucked in a couple of weeks). I kept waiting for it to grow back but it hasn’t. Last night my kids commented and made fun of my bald spot. It broke my heart. I am too young to have a “bald spot”!! I have been suffering with joing pain for about 9 months. I have been excercising and lost 80 pounds in a year. I kept accounting it to that but it is getting worse. I can hardly walk some days. I have not been exercising lately and I am hungry all the time. I have not gained any weight but my joint pain has not changed. My Mom has never been diagnosed with anything but she has lost her hair and eyebrow’s. I am not close with her so I do not want to bring it up. I have the hair lose, the massive joint pain, can’t sleep, have a raspy voice with a lot of swollen glands, a lot of unexplained other attacks on my body and severe mood swings. Does this sound like I have hypothyroidism?

    • N. P. says:

      hi,
      I can relate to your distress. I am not a medical professional but having been diagnosed and treated for an autoimmune condition I would encourage you to find the best endocrinologist you can locate, teaching hospitals are a good choice since they are usually current with the research. Good luck, things will get better:-)

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