Dandruff in the Eyebrows: Why Does It Occur and How to Eliminate It

Dandruff in the eyebrows is a common cosmetic problem for many people. It typically has to do with dry skin or fungal infections. Learn more here!
Dandruff in the Eyebrows: Why Does It Occur and How to Eliminate It

Last update: 30 August, 2021

Dandruff is a common condition that affects people of all ages. It’s usually evident in the scalp. However, are you interested in why dandruff in the eyebrows appears and how to get rid of it?

Dandruff refers to the shedding of dead skin cells in the form of flakes. Studies estimate that it occurs in more than 50% of the population at least once in life. This condition usually causes aesthetic discomfort and embarrassment to the sufferer.

Peeling of the skin is a natural process that can be enhanced by other factors. In some patients, it’s the result of fat accumulation or fungal invasion. Fortunately, prompt treatment offers excellent results.

Dandruff in the eyebrows appears as small white particles or flakes similar to dandruff on the scalp. Similarly, it’s common to see the following symptoms in affected patients:

  • Gray or yellow flakes at the level of the eyebrows that flake off easily
  • Small scabs or excoriations
  • Irritated, reddened, or inflamed skin
  • And burning or itching in the area

At the same time, it’s feasible to find a cracked and whitish skin, as well as rounded and reddish patches in other parts of the body. However, all symptoms may vary, depending on the underlying cause of eyebrow dandruff.

Possible causes of eyebrow dandruff

Overall, there are several illnesses to which excessive flaking of the skin in the form of dandruff can be attributed. These usually affect the skin surface, altering its function.

In most patients, seborrheic dermatitis is the main cause of dandruff in the eyebrows and other areas of the body. However, contact dermatitis, dry skin, psoriasis, are also possible causes that doctors need to consider at the time of diagnosis.

Seborrheic dermatitis

First, seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin condition that involves papulosquamous lesions in areas rich in sebaceous glands. Research suggests that it’s common on the scalp, central region of the face, eyebrows, torso, armpits, and groin area.

In fact, there are multiple factors related to the development of this pathology. However, experts believe subcutaneous infection by the fungus Malassezia to be the main cause. This is a common yeast found in the skin flora that can multiply in the face of a deficient immune response.

When this fungus invades the skin, it leads to the increased formation of fatty substances. Then, it stimulates the proliferation of the cutaneous stratum corneum. In turn, this promotes the appearance of dandruff in the eyebrows and scalp, as well as oily skin.

A man with seborrheic dermatitis on the nape of his neck.
Seborrheic dermatitis is common on the scalp, but its appearance in the eyebrows isn’t uncommon.

Contact dermatitis

Next, contact dermatitis is an inflammatory process of the skin that originates from exposure to an exogenous irritant agent. This results in a hypersensitivity response or skin allergy, involving rash and itching. In some patients, it may promote the shedding of skin cells.

Some studies suggest that the face, hands, wrists, and arms are the main sites of occurrence. The skin may react to ingredients in household cleaning, hygiene, personal care products, and even makeup and jewelry. Therefore, if you notice dandruff on your eyebrows after using a new product, you should stop using it.

Dry skin

Generally, people who stay in very low temperatures or don’t moisturize inadequately may have dry skin. This situation often leads to dandruff. However, you can easily and quickly reverse dry skin by moisturizing and hydrating the skin and consuming plenty of water.


Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory skin disorder characterized by red, scaly, and itchy lesions. This disease is caused by an abnormal response of the immune system on the cells of the skin epithelium. Cell turnover and growth are stimulated without the old cells having been shed. Then, this gives rise to the typical plaque.

In some patients with psoriasis, small scaly lesions appear on the scalp and around the eyebrows. It affects not only the skin and esthetics but also the person’s psychological state.


Next, eczema encompasses a group of skin conditions that cause itching, scaling, and redness. It’s common in infants and young children. Typically, it’s associated with other conditions, such as asthma and urticaria.

In some cases, skin lesions may appear on the face and cause dandruff in the eyebrows. Prompt medical evaluation is vital.

Treatments available for dandruff in the eyebrows

In most cases, you can treat the flaking typical of dandruff and the associated itching with the use of anti-dandruff shampoos. These help to remove excess dead cells and oil. However, inflammatory and desquamative diseases require medical supervision by a dermatologist.

Over-the-counter treatments

Overall, there’s a wide variety of shampoos on the market for the control and prevention of dandruff. Generally, people must try several options until they find one that works for them.

In addition, they require long-term use to obtain good results. Shampoos that are useful in managing dandruff in the eyebrows and scalp contain the following substances:

  • Zinc pyrithione
  • Coal tar
  • Ketoconazole
  • Salicylic acid
  • Selenium sulfide
  • Sulfacetamide

When applying to the eyebrows, it’s best to leave it on for a few minutes before removing it. Likewise, you should follow the instructions and avoid direct contact with the eyes. In patients with allergic dermatitis, oral antihistamines and over-the-counter creams can be used for irritation and itching.

Medical treatment

In patients with underlying pathologies causing eyebrow dandruff, such as seborrheic dermatitis, a specialist’s approach is vital. The specialist can recommend topical and systemic antifungal therapies for the treatment of this condition. In these cases, they commonly prescribe the oral medications ketoconazole and fluconazole.

Overall, it’s best to seek medical help as soon as possible if an allergic reaction with rash and hives occurs. This is because respiratory conditions may complicate hypersensitivity conditions.

A woman with long hair scratching her scalp.
The same shampoos used for dandruff on the scalp can be used on the eyebrows, taking care to protect the eyes.

Home remedies for dandruff in the eyebrows

As for home remedies, it’s possible to prepare and apply certain treatments to alleviate the symptoms of mild eyebrow dandruff. However, certain natural substances may cause allergic reactions. Therefore, you should be sure to test the remedy on a small area of the hand before using it on the face.

Aloe vera can be very useful for hydration and skin moisturizing in patients with dry skin. Similarly, some natural oils, such as almond, avocado, jojoba, and coconut oil provide benefits.

Furthermore, studies suggest that tea tree oil has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that are useful in the management of dandruff and other conditions. However, remember it’s key to dilute the natural oil and apply it in small amounts. Leave it on for a few minutes.

Preventing dandruff in the eyebrows

Fortunately, it’s possible to reduce the risk of developing dandruff in the eyebrows. In fact, you can even prevent its appearance by making some lifestyle changes.

For example, some recommendations that can be followed to achieve this goal are the following:

  • Maintain a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and zinc.
  • Moisturize the skin periodically with a facial moisturizer.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Recognize possible allergens.
  • Use over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos.
  • Finally, learn to manage stress efficiently.

Overall, dandruff in the eyebrows is a common condition that appears at any time of life. Fortunately, it’s usually relieved by using anti-dandruff shampoos and moisturizers.

However, if it persists over time or strange symptoms are added, it’s advisable to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The health professional is the only one qualified to assess the condition and offer the best approach.

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