Dandruff, which is scientifically known as Seborrhaic dermatitis or Seborrhaic eczema, is a common skin condition seen in many people. Seborrhaic dermatitis causes scaly patches and red skin, which gives rise to a messy and flaky appearance.
It commonly affects the scalp. It can also affect the body, such as eyebrows, eyelids, face, sides of your nose, ears, beard, and mustache area, and even chest. Sometimes dandruff goes away without treatment.
Dandruff is not contagious. Most of the time, repeated treatment is necessary for symptoms to subside. However, there is a high possibility of a return of symptoms.
When dandruff occurs in your eyebrows, there can be scaly patches over your eyebrows along with surrounding red skin. You may have itching. Sometimes there may be patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellowish scales. When severe, crusts can form around your eyebrows.
Eyebrow dandruff is more commonly seen in teenagers and adults than in children. It is easy to spot as whitish oily-looking flakes or scales of dead skin over your eyebrows. Since it is itchy, when you scratch, the scales can worsen.
Eyebrow dandruff, along with other areas of seborrhaic dermatitis can be quite distressing, if you worry about your appearance. However, it is not a serious skin condition. The symptoms can worsen when you are stressed. Eyebrow dandruff, as well as other types of dandruff, can cause flares in cold and dry seasons.
Sometimes dandruff, including eyebrow dandruff, can get infected. Then the symptoms will worsen. Eyebrow dandruff is not contagious, which means it does not spread from one person to another.
The cause of why people get dandruff is still unknown. However, dandruff, including eyebrow dandruff, is thought to be related to issues with your immune system, where irregular or a defective response triggers the symptoms.
The oil which is secreted on the skin can have yeast or a fungus called Malassezia. Many doctors think that this yeast can be a cause for your dandruff in your body as well as eyebrows.
Malassezia, although is a natural commensal (live as normal flora on the skin which is usually harmless) in many people, it can irritate the skin in some individuals, leading the skin cells to proliferate and grow. The extra skin cells die and fall off, which gives the appearance of flaky white spots on your eyebrows.
Dandruff can also occur when you have poor hygiene, especially when you don’t cleanse your face properly. If you do not wash your scalp and face regularly, skin cells and oils can build up, leading to dandruff.
If you have dry skin, you are more prone to develop dandruff than if you have oily skin. Dry skin tends to be scaly, which promotes dandruff.
Sometimes when you develop sensitivity or an allergic reaction to certain products used on the skin such as moisturizers, cleansers, eyeliners and eyebrow pencils, you can get contact dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis, when occurring in your eyebrows, can lead to eyebrow dandruff. If dandruff occurs due to contact dermatitis following sensitivity to a certain product, stopping the product will settle the eyebrow dandruff after some time.
Many factors can increase your risk of developing dandruff in your body as well as on your eyebrows. Some of the common risk factors are:
Eyebrow dandruff is challenging to cure. However, the good news is that it can be controlled.
While regular shampooing and daily cleansing of your eyebrows is a must to control your eyebrow dandruff, following self -care steps, and home remedies will help you to reduce the risk of developing dandruff.
These lifestyle modifications and home remedies can work for many people who have scalp as well as eyebrow dandruff. These methods may work on some but not for another.
If it works, you can continue the same method to keep your eyebrow dandruff under control. However, if these do not work, you will have to go for medicated shampoo or lotion to treat and control your eyebrow dandruff.
Since eyebrow dandruff is almost always associated with scalp dandruff, it is vital to cleanse your scalp well with a medicated shampoo. You can use the same shampoo to cleanse your eyebrows and any other area of your body where you are affected with dandruff.
If your eyebrow dandruff is mild, you may not need any specific treatment. Cleansing your face and eyebrows daily with a gentle cleanser will be adequate. If your dandruff is stubborn and does not respond to daily cleansing, you will have to go for a medicated cleanser or a lotion.
There are many over the counter (OTC) dandruff lotions and shampoos which are available in the market.
Daily cleansing prevents skin cell build-up, thus controlling mild dandruff. All OTC products which are available in the market for dandruff may not work for everyone. Sometimes you may have to try several treatments and home remedies to succeed. By trial and error, you should be able to find the best solution for you.
If you develop more itching, burning sensation, stinging, or redness to an anti-dandruff product, stop it and do not use it again. If you develop an allergic reaction like hives (urticaria), a rash, or if you find it difficult to breathe, seek medical help immediately.
Dandruff medications and shampoos can be classified according to the medications it contains.
Pyrithione Zinc – This active ingredient is found in Head and shoulders shampoo, Jason dandruff relief 2 in 1, etc.
Zinc Pyrithione is an anti-bacterial and antifungal agent. It can reduce the Malassezia fungus on your scalp and eyebrows, which can cause dandruff.
Salicylic acid – This active ingredient is found in Neutrogena T/Sal.
Salicylic acid works as a scrub and eliminates scales. But it can leave your face and scalp dry, leading to more flaking. If used on the scalp, make sure you follow the shampooing with a suitable conditioner. If used on face and eyebrows, moisturize your face to relieve dryness.
Tar based shampoos – This active ingredient is found in Neutrogena T/gel.
Coal tar helps dandruff by slowing the process of skin cell death and flaking off, thereby controlling dandruff.
Selenium sulfide – This active ingredient is found in Selsun Blue and Selson shampoo.
Selenium sulfide slows skin cells from dying as well as reduces Malassezia yeast, which is thought to cause dandruff in both scalp and eyebrows.
Coal tar and Selenium sulfide can discolor your scalp hair and eyebrows if they are initially light in color. Make sure you rinse your eyebrows and hair thoroughly if you use these products to control your dandruff.
Ketoconazole – This active ingredient is found in Nizoral.
This is a broad spectrum antifungal that kills the Malassezia yeast. It is available as OTC as well as by prescription in higher strengths. Ketoconazole shampoos and lotions can be tried when other medications fail to control your dandruff.
Here are some of the products that can be recommended to use for eyebrow dandruff.
Nizoral anti-dandruff shampoo non -prescription strength – The active ingredient here is 1% Ketoconazole, which fights dandruff outbreaks. It is safe enough to be used on color-treated or chemically processed hair. It is gentle and can be applied on scalp and eyebrows and rinsed off after a few minutes.
Head and shoulders shampoo – This contains Selenium sulfide as the active ingredient. It can be used to wash the scalp and eyebrows, which helps to relieve itching, flakes, and dryness.
There is also Head and shoulders shampoo, anti-dandruff clinical strength seborrhaic dermatitis treatment, which can be recommended for multi-symptom relief and protection from flakes, itching, and dryness.
Mizani scalp care – Pyrithione zinc anti-dandruff shampoo – Pyrithione zinc acts as an anti-bacterial and antifungal agent that fights against the fungus and controls dandruff in both eyebrows and scalp.
Solimo dandruff shampoo – This product contains Pyrithione zinc as the active ingredient which helps to prevent itching and flaking when applied to scalp and eyebrows. The almond oil, which is added, keeps the scalp and eyebrows hydrated, preventing dryness.
Biolage Scalpsync anti-dandruff shampoo – Pyrithione zinc, which is the active ingredient, helps target dandruff and control the appearance of visible flakes in both scalp and eyebrows.
You can use one of the above-mentioned shampoos or lotions over your scalp and eyebrows daily or every other day until your dandruff is controlled. Then you can reduce the frequency of treatment to two to three times a week or as needed.
Sometimes when you continue to use a medicated shampoo for a considerable time, although it helped to control your eyebrow dandruff before, it might lose its effectiveness with time. If this occurs, try altering between 2 different types of medicated dandruff shampoos and lotions.
Ex: use Nizoral shampoo for 1 month, then selenium sulfide for the next month, and again alternate between the two products.
When you use an over the counter product or a product, make sure you read and follow the instructions which are on the container. Some shampoos and lotions like Nizoral have to be left on scalp and eyebrows for a few minutes before rinsing off, whereas some products like coal tar need to be rinsed off immediately after applying.
If your eyebrow dandruff doesn’t get controlled, even after using a recommended product regularly and as instructed for several weeks, it is best to meet your doctor or a dermatologist. In this instance, you will need a prescription for a stronger preparation of a shampoo or a lotion.
Sometimes your doctor will start a short course of steroids or a steroid containing lotion to control your eyebrow dandruff.
Although complications are rare from eyebrow dandruff, it is better to control your symptoms to prevent possible complications.
It is important to know that Eyebrow dandruff is difficult to treat, and it is not curable. It can only be controlled. Therefore, when you stop the treatment even after successful control, dandruff can recur after some time. Make sure you continue to cleanse your scalp and eyebrows regularly to keep your dandruff under control while maintaining good personal hygiene and self -care.
You have to accept the fact that you are a person who is prone to get dandruff if risk factors are not managed well. As there is no cure, you can only take measures to reduce the shedding of dead cells from your scalp and eyebrows.
You can control or get rid of your dandruff by using a good medicated shampoo/ lotion or a gel or by practicing simple home remedies. However, you can only expect to control your eyebrow dandruff and keep it from coming back by these methods and not a complete cure.