Superciliary Madarosis: What Causes Thinning Eyebrows?

What Is Superciliary Madarosis?

thinning eyebrows

Superciliary madarosis is the medical term for thinning eyebrows or the loss of eyebrow hair. Thinning eyebrows is a common problem and while the hair loss itself is not a serious medical concern, it can be indicative of an underlying medical problem.


  • Hypothyroidism
  • Nutrient deficiency of the following:
    • Iron
    • Vitamin D
    • Omega-3 fatty acids
    • Vitamin B12
    • Biotin
  • Aging
  • Certain medications
    • Beta blockers
    • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Over-plucking eyebrow hairs
  • Eczema
  • Alopecia areata
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Hormone disorders


There is only one known type of superciliary madarosis.

superciliary madarosis


  • Sparse eyebrows
  • Loss of eyebrow hair – partially or entirely


Superciliary madarosis can be diagnosed by your primary care physician or a dermatologist based on your medical history and a physical examination. Your doctor may order certain diagnostic testing, such as blood tests, to rule out underlying causes like autoimmune disorders.


Treating superciliary madarosis depends entirely on the underlying cause. If your thinning eyebrows are caused by medication use, changing the dosage or switching to another medication can resolve the problem. Eyebrow thinning that is caused by nutritional deficiencies can be resolved by improving your diet or taking supplements. If your hair loss is caused by damage to the follicle from things like cosmetic use or over-plucking, the superciliary madarosis may be permanent and the hair may never grow back.

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