Winter is here, and its effect on beauty routines is staggering, with a particularly unexpected effect on many people’s eyebrows.
Part of this can be explained by how winter affects the skin, which can sometimes create skin inflammation and the loss of brow hairs, but another part of it is explained by the stress that is often endemic to the winter period.
As people prepare for the end of the year, the holiday season and all of the responsibilities that can entail, it can create a build-up of stress in the body, which can have a significant effect on how eyebrows grow.
The reason for this comes down to the growth cycle of all hair on the body, which goes through three main stages:
Anagen, the growth phase,
Catagen, the transition phase where hair stops growing,
Telogen, the phase when hair falls out gradually.
This cycle is often unnoticed because hair, including brow hair, tends to go through the different phases at different times, so a brow hair that is lost is offset by another one growing.
However, stress can disrupt this growth cycle due to the effects of the stress hormone cortisol, which governs the sympathetic nervous system and causes “fight or flight” reactions during extremely stressful conditions.
In short bursts, this is not necessarily a problem, but chronic stress, as can happen during particularly busy periods, leads to high levels of cortisol remaining for a longer period of time, which can directly impact hair follicles, the production of hair growth hormones and trigger certain conditions that impact hair loss.
Often this results in a condition similar to telogen effluvium, where stress to the body leads to the typical hair growth cycle being disturbed, and more hairs entering the telogen phase than usual.
This can lead to patchy brows that can be temporary or permanent depending on the severity of the case.
However, microblading and other semi-permanent makeup solutions are available and many people have found a boost in confidence if they have been affected by eyebrow hair loss.