Eyebrow dandruff is a similar issue to dandruff on the scalp. It causes flaky skin to shed from the area.
Eyebrow dandruff may have a few different causes. These can include dry skin, seborrheic dermatitis, and contact dermatitis.
Working with a doctor or dermatologist can help a person get a full diagnosis for persistent symptoms and proper treatment for the underlying issue.
In this article, learn more about the symptoms, treatments, and complications associated with eyebrow dandruff.
Eyebrow dandruff appears similar to dandruff on the scalp.
Some research suggests that dandruff may affect as much as 50% of the population.
A person may have whitish, gray, or yellow flakes of skin under and around their eyebrows. The area may be flushed or inflamed, and a person may feel the need to itch or pick the area.
There are a few different causes of eyebrow dandruff. The sections below will discuss these in more detail.
Seborrheic dermatitis is the common inflammatory form of dandruff. In babies, the condition is called cradle cap. It causes greasy, irritated skin to produce these white flakes along the eyebrows and on other areas of skin.
A fungus called Malassezia may cause chronic seborrheic dermatitis. The fungus lives in the oily sebum of the skin and may multiply due to a poor immune system reaction. This can lead to chronic symptoms that require regular treatment.
Contact dermatitis is a reaction on the skin that occurs due to an allergen or irritant. The skin may react to an ingredient in products such as shampoo or conditioner, makeup, or the detergent that a person uses on a hat or headscarf.
Contact dermatitis can cause an itchy, irritating rash in the area. The skin may flake off, causing dandruff. If eyebrow dandruff appears after using a new product, stop using it and talk to a dermatologist to undergo testing for any allergens.
A person may mistake very dry skin in the area for dandruff.
People who live in harsh conditions or very low temperatures may get severely dry skin that flakes like dandruff. This may go away quickly if the person moisturizes their face regularly.
Eczema is a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation and irritated patches of skin. It is possible for the condition to cause symptoms near the eyebrows.
Psoriasis stems from an immune response that causes the skin to create new cells faster than the old cells can shed. This results in itchy scales or patches of skin.
Psoriasis may occur in many places on the body, including near the eyebrows, in some cases.
The best treatment option for eyebrow dandruff will depend on the cause, though regularly moisturizing can usually help.
The sections below will look at some treatment options in more detail.
Over-the-counter (OTC) products such as dandruff shampoos are a primary treatment for all forms of dandruff, including eyebrow dandruff.
Ingredients such as selenium sulfide and ketoconazole may help with dandruff and its underlying causes, such as excessive oil or fungal overgrowth, in some cases.
Some other potentially helpful ingredients include:
- tar soap
- salicylic acid
To use dandruff shampoo on the eyebrows, a person should lather the shampoo into the eyebrows and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing it out. Try to avoid getting the lather in the eyes.
With contact dermatitis, using an OTC anti-itch cream or antihistamine drug can help soothe the symptoms or prevent irritation and itchiness.
In some cases, it may be necessary to see a dermatologist to receive prescription-strength drug treatment.
If OTC anti-dandruff options do not result in improvement, it may be best to see a dermatologist for a stronger solution. They may recommend prescription-strength shampoo treatments containing compounds such as ketoconazole or selenium sulfide. These are similar to the OTC versions but have higher strengths.
Some home remedies may help treat mild cases of eyebrow dandruff.
However, even with natural products, skin reactions are possible. For this reason, it is important to test the product on a small area of skin before applying it to the face.
It is important to dilute the oil in a carrier. Also, take extra care when using tea tree oil anywhere near the eyes.
Anyone who is uncertain should talk to a dermatologist before using tea tree oil.
It may not be possible to prevent every case of eyebrow dandruff. However, some general tips may help prevent some causes.
- wearing protective clothing in harsh weather
- hydrating the skin using a facial moisturizer
- using sunscreen to protect the skin from the sun’s rays
- keeping track of potential allergens to stop using them
- not picking or touching the area
- tracking and avoiding potential irritants
There may be some complications associated with eyebrow dandruff, especially if a person does not seek treatment for it.
For example, seborrheic dermatitis can be a recurring, chronic issue for some people. Without treatment, the symptoms may be more difficult to control or get worse.
Also, there may be some long-term repercussions in the area, such as scarring from a severe reaction. A person may lose some hair or have thin eyebrows, depending on the underlying issue and how it affects the hair follicles.
Although the occasional case of dryness on the face is not usually a cause for concern, anyone worried about symptoms such as eyebrow dandruff should see a doctor or dermatologist.
Getting a full diagnosis may help eliminate the possibility of underlying issues and find treatment for any issues that may be causing the symptoms.
Eyebrow dandruff is a common issue, and the treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Some causes are chronic and require regular treatment.
At other times, an allergen or harsh conditions may give rise to eyebrow dandruff. In these cases, it may clear with OTC treatment and avoiding potential irritants.
It is important to talk to a dermatologist if symptoms persist. They can help diagnose the underlying issue and recommend some prescription-strength options to control or treat the symptoms.