What is Madarosis?
Madarosis is a medical condition in which the patient experiences loss of hair from their eyebrows or eyelashes. Madarosis can affect both sides of the face or only one side of the face. Madarosis may lead to either partial or complete loss of eyebrow or eyelash hair. So, a patient suffering from madarosis can completely lose all the hair from eyebrows and eyelashes or they only lose a few; either ways, both of these do affect a person’s appearance by causing thinning of the eyebrows and less volume of eyelashes or completely losing both.
Can Madarosis Cause Scarring?
Madarosis can be either be scarring or non-scarring. In case of scarring, there will be more damage, and the hair loss from the eyelashes or eyebrows can be permanent.
In case of non-scarring, even with the hair loss, the internal structures of hair remain intact, which means hair loss from the brows and eyelashes can be reversible.
What are the Causes of Madarosis?
Madarosis can be caused by many things and this condition can affect both women and men. Madarosis is seen more commonly in older adults. Some of the common causes of madarosis are:
Blepharitis: Blepharitis is a condition where there is inflammation of the eyelids that affects the eyelashes too. Common symptoms of blepharitis are: dry eyes, red and itchy eyelids, and formation of crust around the eyelids. There can be loss of eyelashes in blepharitis too.
Leprosy: People suffering from leprosy also commonly have madarosis. Hansen’s disease is another name for leprosy, which is a bacterial infection affecting the nerves, nose, eyes and skin.
Trichotillomania: This is a mental health disease where patients affected by trichotillomania deliberately pull their hair out. Common regions where the hair is pulled out include scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes.
Trauma: Injury or any trauma to the eyebrows and eyelashes make them fall out. Wounds or burns in the eyebrows or eye region can also result in hairs falling out.
Infections: Various infections, such as viral, fungal and bacterial infections also cause madarosis. Bacterial infections can consist of syphilis and staphylococcus. Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that can also cause madarosis. Viral infections can consist of HIV and herpes simplex. If infection is the cause of madarosis, then patient may experience other symptoms too, such as pain, swelling, itching and redness.
Medications: Certain medications can cause loss of eyelashes or eyebrows, such as: retinoids; botulinum toxin injections (Botox); anticoagulants; anticonvulsants and androgens.
Medical Treatments: There are some medical treatments, such as laser treatments, radiation and chemotherapy, which can cause falling off of eyebrows or eyelashes. These treatments affect the growth of hair by destroying the rapid growth of cells.
Nutritional Deficiencies: Any type of nutritional deficiencies definitely affects the hair, by causing hair fall or hair thinning. Deficiency of certain nutrients including biotin, iron and zinc can make one lose hair from eyebrows and eyelashes as well.
Genetic Conditions: There are some genetic conditions that can lead to madarosis and these are: ectodermal dysplasia; cryptophthalmos; ichthyosiform erythroderma and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.
Skin Cancer: Sometimes madarosis can indicate skin cancer. The loss of eyebrows and eyelashes is found more often in cancerous or malignant lesions than in noncancerous or benign lesions.
Other Diseases: A few autoimmune diseases, such as discoid lupus erythematosus and alopecia areata, affect the hair including your eyebrows and eyelashes hair. There are other medical conditions also that can cause hair from eyelashes and eyebrows to fall out and these are: atopic dermatitis; scleroderma; hyperthyroidism; hypothyroidism; rosacea and psoriasis.
What are the Symptoms of Madarosis?
Losing hair on your eyelashes and eyebrows is the most common symptom of madarosis. Other additional symptoms of madarosis include itching, redness and pain, depending on the cause of this condition.
How is Madarosis Diagnosed?
Madarosis is diagnosed by your physician after conducting a complete medical history and physical exam. Other tests that are done to find the underlying cause, of madarosis are:
- Blood tests.
- Skin scraping to look for fungal infections.
- Skin swabs to diagnose any bacterial infections
- Dermatoscopy or dermoscopy can also be done to closely examine the skin using a magnifier.
What is the Treatment of Madarosis?
Treating madarosis depends on the cause of this condition. Sometimes, this disease is also reversible.
If what is causing madarosis can’t be diagnosed or if it is not responding to treatment, then there are some things that can be done to cover hair loss, such as:
- Using different makeup techniques to create/draw eyebrows and eyelashes.
- Wearing false eyebrows and eyelashes.
- Hair transplants for eyebrows.
- Tattooing of eyebrows.
- Getting eyelash grafts.
- The use of prescribed topical solutions for hair growth.
What is the Prognosis of Madarosis?
The prognosis depends on what is causing madarosis, and one can make completely recovery too or will have to accept and live with sparse or absent eyelashes and eyebrows. If the madarosis is of the non-scarring type, then the eyebrows and eyelashes can grow back completely.