Eyebrow Dandruff: Where It Came From & How to Deal With It!

Wait, what?!

If you’ve ever experienced scalp dandruff, you know how annoying it can be. Another place flakes can wreak havoc: your brows. Yes, eyebrow dandruff is a thing.

Seborrheic dermatitis, the clinical term for dandruff, can happen anywhere you have hair, which means more than just your head is susceptible. It can rear its flaky head at more unexpected places like your eyebrows. (Your chest, laugh lines, groin, and butt are also potential hot spots for seborrheic dermatitis, too.)

Fortunately, it’s a super treatable issue, so there’s no need to panic the next time you see a little flakiness. Here’s everything you need to know about this not-so-fun skin condition that affects even the most well-groomed arches.


how to get rid of dry skin in eyebrows

Try using an anti-dandruff shampoo on the skin and hairs of your eyebrows, being careful to avoid your eyes. Simply squeeze your shampoo into your hand, work it into a lather, and rub it into your brows leaving it for a few minutes before rinsing.

Seborrheic dermatitis

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

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.

To treat Malassezia

Treatment for Malassezia is usually anti-dandruff shampoo or topical treatments like moisturizers or anti-itch cream. If symptoms don’t abate, you might need something stronger from a dermatologist.

Dandruff shampoos can help treat your eyebrow dandruff — work it into a lather and rub it on your brows when you’re in the shower, leaving it on for a few minutes before rinsing. Shampoos containing selenium sulfide, like Selsun Blue, can help with Malassezia, and shampoos containing ketoconazole are good to keep in mind if other dandruff shampoos don’t work. While some of the ketoconazole shampoos are prescription only, there are others, like Nizoral, that are over-the-counter. Just make sure it’s not overly drying; you don’t want to dry out the skin around your eyebrows because that can lead to flakiness, which you are trying to get rid of.

Tea tree oil has antifungal properties, and its effectiveness in treating dandruff has actually been studied. One study found that individuals who used tea tree oil shampoo (5 percent strength) showed a reduction in dandruff symptoms.

You can mix 5 percent tea tree oil with lotion or aloe gel, and simply rub it into the affected area every other day or so. As you see your symptoms improve, you can use it less often. Eventually, you can use it once or twice a week to keep symptoms at bay.

Flaky Ears and Eyebrows

Frustrated by severe eczema, the fashion designer hopes that newer treatments can offer safe, sustainable relief.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Eczema Center.

To control the yeast, I recommend using Nizoral (1 percent) Shampoo (available at drugstores) as a face wash. Squeeze a small amount into a washcloth and work up a lather in the affected areas. Rinse with lukewarm water, then apply a thin layer of over-the-counter cortisone cream (such as Cortaid or Cortizone-10). Repeat once daily until the condition disappears, then once a week to prevent recurrence. For mild cases, this routine is usually enough to control the outbreak. Continual use of cortisone can lead to thinning of the skin and stretch marks, however, so if your condition doesnt respond within two weeks, I suggest you visit a dermatologist, who may recommend prescription-strength antifungal medication.

Q2. My 7-year-old has been having pain in both ears for a couple of months. She says it feels like a crawling sensation in her ear or that it feels itchy. Ive been to the doctor four times already; each time Im told nothing is wrong. She has been on an antibiotic and allergy medicine. She has an ENT, and he also says that he cant see anything wrong with her ears. He suggested that I give her Advil or Motrin for the pain. I have been doing that — but its an every-day thing: I feel its too much medicine to be giving her, so I stopped. She has tubes in both ears and is diagnosed with NF1. Im going to see another doctor about it soon but was wondering if you might be able to provide any insight.

Moisturizer is not working because you have more than just dry skin. Dry, flaky patches around the ears and eyebrows are a characteristic sign of seborrheic dermatitis. This is a harmless (but often stubborn) condition that is caused by the overgrowth of a type of yeast called Pityrosporum ovale. Although the yeast is normally found in small numbers on the skin of most healthy individuals, changes in body chemistry can cause it to multiply rapidly, irritating the skin and producing dry, flaky patches. Since the yeast feeds on sebum (your skins natural oils), seborrheic dermatitis is more common in people who have oily skin and most often occurs in areas where the greatest concentration of oil glands are located: the ears, eyebrows, sides of the nose, and/or scalp. If left untreated, these areas can become red and inflamed; in severe cases, the infection may even spread to the chin and chest.

What causes eyebrow dandruff?

While dryness and flakiness in the brow area can be caused by eczema or contact dermatitis, true dandruff is the result of three main factors: “The presence of Malassezia globose [a fungus] on the skin, a genetic predisposition to dandruff, or the presence of sebum,” explains Ilyse Lefkowicz, MD, Head & Shoulders dermatologist.

The easiest way to determine if you’re dealing with actual seborrheic dermatitis? According to Dr. Lefkowicz, you’ll typically see pink or red patches with scales that tend to be greasy instead of soft and white.

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