The amount of effort we put into fixing our eyebrows to perfection is unbelievable, from plucking to tinting them or tattooing over them. The thing that can make our pursuit of perfection more painful is sparse hairs in eyebrows which are commonly associated with age or occur because of underlying health disorders.
If you suffer from sparse eyebrows, you might have recently come across the latest social media trend that Minoxidil is the solution for the growth of eyebrows. Does Minoxidil work for hair regrowth of men’s or women’s eyebrows? This article will help you gain some scientific insight into what Minoxidil is, how it works, and if there’s any evidence to support the social media claims for the eyebrow growth solution.
What is Minoxidil?
Minoxidil, also sold under the name Rogaine, is the most popular treatment to regrow scalp hair in men who suffer from hair loss. Available as Minoxidil tablets for oral consumption, or in the form of a solution for topical application. The drug belongs to the class of vasodilators and works by increasing the flow of blood to hair follicles, thus enhancing the supply of essential nutrients to the hair follicles. Strong and healthy hair follicles result in improved hair growth.
Does Rogaine Work on Eyebrows?
Rogaine is not intended for use on any other place than the scalp. Its use for the treatment of eyebrow hypotrichosis is currently under investigation by many researchers. Considering the number of positive outcomes from the ones already completed, minoxidil shows promising results. A recent study shows that people using the 2% minoxidil lotion showed effective results after 16 weeks of treatment. The researchers credited minoxidil as a safe treatment option for eyebrows.
Another study published examined the effectiveness of 3 percent minoxidil for eyebrows and compared it to a hair loss treatment called bimatoprost (Latisse) with a concentration of 0.03 percent. Both products resulted in nearly equal hair regeneration for about 50 percent of the participants after 16 weeks. This clinical study suggests that Rogaine can modestly enhance eyebrow growth and is comparable to Latisse.
Is Minoxidil Safe for Eyebrows?
Well, that’s another serious question to ponder upon. Minoxidil has not been approved for use on eyebrow growth by the regulatory body. The area under the eyebrows and around the eyes is highly sensitive as the skin is thinner. Applying a chemical that is not meant to be used in that area poses a risk. You should be aware of the responsibilities that come with deciding to use it on your sparse eyebrows.
How to Use it Properly?
Minoxidil is available in two concentrations – 2% and 5%. Usually, dermatologists recommend starting with 2% minoxidil. If you are not achieving the desired results with Rogaine, your dermatologist can assist you in deciding whether to increase the strength.
To obtain the best outcomes, it is necessary to apply Rogaine daily. Stopping the treatment or applying it sporadically might actually disrupt the process and result in hair loss without regrowth. Use a small cosmetic stick or cotton swab to apply Rogaine carefully, and wash your hands thoroughly once you are done.
Using minoxidil intermittently or discontinuing the use interferes with the process and leads to hair loss without any growth in its place.
The use of Minoxidil is also not a permanent solution for sparse growth, it needs to be applied consistently. You will start observing the hair loss again once you stop using it.
Side Effects of Minoxidil for Eyebrow Alopecia
The most common side effect of minoxidil, when used on the scalp, is skin irritation. The same side effect is likely to be observed when used on the eyebrows as the skin is more sensitive in that region. Even though one study shows that minimal side effects were observed when 2% minoxidil was used on eyebrows, other side effects that can occur are:
Accidentally applying Rogaine to other areas of your face may result in hair growth in unintended areas. To minimize this risk, use a cotton swab for a more precise application around the eyebrows. It is crucial to avoid getting the product in your eyes, and if it does occur, flush your eyes immediately. If you experience persistent pain or swelling, seek medical attention at an emergency or urgent care center.
Consult your dermatologist in case you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as it may be harmful. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema or rosacea, you should take precautions while using Rogaine.
Other Remedies for Eyebrow Growth
Minoxidil may work for the regeneration of the hair follicles in eyebrows but poses risks and commitments that may not be easy to follow through. There are many remedies that you can try which pose little to no side effects.
- Massage with Oil: There are so many healthy, nutritious oils available in the market for you to try, such as castor oil, coconut oil, tea tree oil, jasmine oil, etc. Castor oil is the most common oil linked to the treatment of hair loss conditions and is touted to be beneficial for hair regrowth.
- A Brow Serum: Brow serums available in the market contain peptides that help in providing nutrients to the hair follicles, thus improving the growth of hair.
- PRP: PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma, which is a treatment that involves using a patient’s blood plasma that is rich in platelets to promote healing and tissue regeneration. PRP has been used to treat various conditions, including sports injuries, osteoarthritis, and hair loss.
- Saw Palmetto: Oral consumption of either direct berries or their extracts in any form may help in the treatment of hair loss.
- Proper Grooming: Do not overpluck your eyebrows, and brush your eyebrows with an eyebrow brush.
- Use Make-Up: To draw on the eyebrows to give them a fuller look may be the simplest solution you can find.
- Microblading: It provides more of a permanent solution if you want to avoid the use of makeup every day.
- Consume Vitamin-Rich Diet: Having a balanced diet can work wonders for your skin and hair. Add more vitamins, such as vitamins A, C, D, folic acid, omega-3, and biotin, to your diet.
- Topical Finasteride: Although finasteride helps prevent hair loss by blocking the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in men, a topical version of minoxidil fortified with finasteride can improve hair density. It has also been known to aid female pattern hair loss.
Even though a lot of social media buzz says that minoxidil may be the next big treatment option available for eyebrow alopecia, there is no sufficient evidence to back up this claim. Studies carried out to analyze its role in eyebrows growth infer that it may moderately help with the condition. If you choose to follow through with the process, it is a serious undertaking. You have to apply it diligently and cannot use it intermittently as it can lead to loss of hair rather than growth.
Moreover, the list of side effects that are associated with the use of minoxidil cannot be ignored. Plus, you won’t be able to judge the ‘minoxidil before and after eyebrows’ for over a year, yes, it takes a long time to see adequate results from the treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which minoxidil can be used by women on their eyebrows?
Ans. Start with 2% minoxidil after consulting your doctor. The recommended concentration of minoxidil will depend on the sparseness of hair in your brows.
Q: How long does it take for minoxidil to work on eyebrows?
Ans. There is not enough data to provide a solid timeline for the process. However, once you start applying the minoxidil, for the first two months, you will notice more hair loss as the hair goes through the regeneration process. A study shows positive results after 16 weeks of regular application. However, it may take up to a year to see the full result, as is the case for scalp hair regrowth.
Q: How much minoxidil to apply to the eyebrows?
Ans. It is recommended to use a small amount with the help of a Q-tip to prevent any spread to the surrounding areas.
Q: How long does it take for biotin and minoxidil to work on eyebrows?
Ans. With not enough data to support the claim that biotin and minoxidil help in the regrowth of eyebrows, it’s difficult to predict when you will see the outcome. However, based on how they work on scalp hair, it’s safe to say that it may take more than 12 weeks to confirm the effects.
Q: How to apply minoxidil to eyebrows?
- Before applying a minoxidil solution, wash your eyebrows properly with mild soap and water. Ensure that your skin is completely dry, and then apply the minoxidil solution with the help of a suitable applicator.
- Be careful with application to avoid getting the medication in your eyes, and apply the solution across, above, and below your eyebrows.
- After application, clean your hands properly.
- You need to give 2-4 hours to dry minoxidil before touching the area or applying cosmetics.
Q: How often can I use minoxidil on my eyebrows?
- Start with applying it once a day. In case you don’t observe any change, you can use it twice a day – morning and evening.
- Do not forget to consult your doctor before using or making any changes regarding this potent solution.
- Lee, S., Tanglertsampan, C., Tanchotikul, M. and Worapunpong, N. (2014), Minoxidil 2% lotion for eyebrow enhancement: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, spilt-face comparative study. J Dermatol, 41: 149-152. https://doi.org/10.1111/1346-8138.12275
- SUWANCHATCHAI, W., TANGLERTSAMPAN, C., PENGSALAE, N. and MAKORNWATTANA, M. (2012), Efficacy and safety of bimatoprost 0.03% versus minoxidil 3% in enhancement of eyebrows: A randomized, double-blind, split-face comparative study. The Journal of Dermatology, 39: 865-866. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1346-8138.2012.01579.x
- Chandrashekar, B. S.; Nandhini, T.; Vasanth, Vani; Sriram, Rashmi; Navale, Shreya. Topical minoxidil fortified with finasteride: An account of maintenance of hair density after replacing oral finasteride. Indian Dermatology Online Journal 6(1):p 17-20, Jan–Feb 2015. | DOI: 10.4103/2229-5178.148925 https://journals.lww.com/idoj/Fulltext/2015/06010/Topical_minoxidil_fortified_with_finasteride__An.5.aspx
- Thinning hair and hair loss: Could it be female pattern hair loss? (n.d.).
- Minoxidil vs Latisse for the eyebrows: How do they compare? (2017).