There are various local or systemic(body-wide) causes of madarosis. Following are some of the causes of madarosis,
Many infections can cause hair loss or more specifically eyebrow loss or eyelash loss. Leprosy is a common cause of madarosis. Leprosy or Hansen’s disease is a bacterial infection that affects skin, eyes, nose, and nerves.
Lepromatous leprosy includes hair loss from all over the body. It is common in many countries, however not very common in the United States.
Syphilis, and other viral infections such as HIV and Herpes can also cause madarosis. Fungal infections caused by Microsporum, trichophyton, etc can also contribute to this condition.
Physical trauma to eyelashes or eyebrows can lead to hair loss. Trauma includes injury, burns, or wounds in or around the nearby area.
Thyroid leads to loss of hair from eyebrows. The thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone which regulates the metabolism of the body. When the body produces less thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or more amount of thyroid hormone (Hyperthyroidism) it affects the functioning of the body, including hair growth.
Various autoimmune diseases such as discoid lupus erythematosus, chronic cutaneous lupus erythematosus, Parry Romberg syndrome, and Graham-Little syndrome also lead to loss of hair.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease. It targets hair follicles, slowing or completing halting the process of hair growth. It can either produce bald spots in the scalp or it can result in loss of all hair. Along with scalp hair, it affects eyelashes and eyebrows. It leads to scarring madarosis (irreversible damage). In such conditions, surgical treatments are the only available option.
Blepharitis is an infection of the eyelids. Symptoms include inflammation, dry eyes, itchy and red eyelids, and crust around the eyelids. It is chronic and causes madarosis. It decreases the quality of life if it is not managed well.
The human body requires a proper balance of various nutrients. Some of these nutrients are essential for maintaining the length and volume of hair. Extreme malnutrition can cause severe hair loss.
Deficiencies of zinc, telogen, biotin, cysteine, Vitamin C, E, B12, D, omega 3-fatty acids and iron can also contribute to hair loss.
Trichotillomania is a mental health condition, in which the patient deliberately pulls out their hair. They commonly remove hair from eyelashes, eyebrows, and scalp.
Many drugs or medications also lead to hair loss. Chemotherapy drugs and cocaine lead to hair loss. Other drugs include,
- Antithyroid drugs
- Botulinum toxin
- MMR vaccine
Few genetic disorders that cause madarosis include Ectodermal dysplasia, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, cryptophthalmos, and ichthyosiform erythroderma.
Atopic dermatitis (Eczema)
Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. It causes redness, itchiness, and irritation. It develops in early childhood or in people who have a medical history. Since hair follicles are embedded in the skin, eczema can lead to madarosis.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease. It causes red, itchy patches on the body. It causes cells to multiply very quickly and blocks the growth of hair follicles as well.
Contact dermatitis is caused when the skin comes in contact with an allergen. Patients experience a burning sensation. The inflammation blocks hair follicles and the growth of hair.
Other dermatological conditions include frontal fibrosing alopecia, follicular mucinosis, acne rosacea, telogen effluvium, cutaneous sarcoidosis, and ulerythema ophryogenes can result in madarosis.
Madarosis is a symptom of skin cancer. Loss of eyelashes and eyebrows is common in malignant (cancerous) and benign (non-cancerous) cancers.
Few toxins also induce madarosis in a person. These toxins include arsenic, gold, bismuth, quinine, mercury, thallium, and hypervitaminosis A
Other diseases and conditions
- Gunter’s disease
Many diseases and conditions can cause madarosis as a symptom or side-effect.