Eyebrow Dandruff

Dandruff, on any part of the body, can be very embarrassing as it could be a telltale sign of poor hygiene. Medically known as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff that haunts the eyebrows is the exact one that affects the scalp, breastbones, sides of the nose, and back of the ears. In fact, dandruff affects any area of the body that has high oil concentration. The true cause of dandruff is not yet known, but individuals who are prone to oily skin have a higher likelihood of suffering from it.

Possible triggers of eyebrow dandruff

Dry skin

You might spot a few small flakes in your eyebrows if the skin on your face becomes too dry. Most people experience dry skin, especially during winter months when the relative humidity is low. Prolonged use of toners, harsh soap, drying acne medications, and astringents can also contribute to dry skin. You can resolve this type of mild eyebrow flaking by switching to less harsh facial products.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

Eyebrow dandruff can also be caused by Seborrheic dermatitis or seborrhea. This is a skin condition that is similar to eczema or allergic reactions. It causes scaling and inflammation in spots with high concentrations of oil glands. Common spots include eyebrows, ears, scalp, and the skin folds around the nose.


This is a chronic skin disease in which the immune system triggers a high rate of skin turnover. There are different types of psoriasis, each with different characteristics. Psoriasis skin lesions usually affect the elbows, eyebrows, and scalp.

Atopic Dermatitis (AD)

Commonly known as eczema, Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disorder. This condition tends to be genetic and is characterized by itchy, dry, and scaly patches on the skin. It commonly affects the hands, arms, neck, and face, and can also extend into the eyebrows. You can use moisturizers to control eczema flare-ups. However, be sure to consult your healthcare provider if your eyebrow dandruff is due to AD.

Contact dermatitis

With the bold brow takeover, most people are resorting to applying cosmetics on their eyebrows. If you are the type that applies cosmetics on your eyebrow, and develops eyebrow dandruff as a result, then chances are the chemicals in either the makeup or the makeup removers are responsible for contact dermatitis. The rashes associated with contact dermatitis resemble those of eczema, and would typically affect the eyebrow area if related to the cosmetics you are applying on your brows.

Lifestyle and home remedies for eyebrow dandruff

You can control eyebrow dandruff by adopting lifestyle changes and home remedies. The best approach for managing this condition depends entirely on your skin type, the severity of dandruff, and whether your symptoms extend to other areas of your body. But even when your eyebrow dandruff clears up, it is likely to recur at some point, especially if it is triggered by genetic factors.

Some of the over-the counter medications that you can use to treat eyebrow dandruff include:

  • Selenium sulfide
  • Pyrithione zinc
  • Tar
  • Ketoconazole
  • Salicylic acid

Point to note: The skin around the eyes is quite sensitive. As such it is important that you consult your dermatologist before treating eyebrow dandruff with any over-the-counter medication. Even so, be sure to use the medication as directed by your dermatologist.

Common eyebrow dandruff FAQs

What is the outlook for eyebrow dandruff?

Eyebrow dandruff, like scalp dandruff, is quite common. It is a chronic condition that does not pose a serious health risk. And there are many home remedies that you can try, and if one fails, try another if you do not see improvement in a couple of weeks. Talk to your doctor or dermatologist if the condition persists.

What are the symptoms of eyebrow dandruff?

Eyebrow dandruff symptoms are similar to the general dandruff symptoms. These include:

  • Yellow or white flaky pieces of skin
  • Red irritated patches on the skin
  • Itching
  • Scaly appearance around the eyebrows

What factors exacerbate eyebrow dandruff?

Alongside seasonal changes, stress and anxiety can also increase eyebrow dandruff. Additionally, a type of fungus that feeds on the oil secreted through the skin can also cause eyebrow dandruff. Other medical conditions that can trigger or exacerbate dandruff development include Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, and certain neurological disorders.

What treatment options are available for eyebrow dandruff?

Eyebrow dandruff treatment varies depending on the cause. Generally, what works for one patient might never work for another, so do not be disappointed if one treatment method fails to work for you. That said, there is a range of at-home remedies that you can consider. Here are some of them.

Treating seborrheic dermatitis

Seborrheic dermatitis is often worsened by stress or weather extremes. You can use a topical antifungal or medicated dandruff shampoo to treat this condition. Talk to your dermatologist about prescription topical treatments if home remedies fail to work.

Treating Malassezia

Anti-dandruff shampoo or topical treatments like anti-itch creams and moisturizers can be used to treat Malassezia. If symptoms do not vanish, you might need a stronger prescription from your dermatologist.

Medicated shampoos can help manage eyebrow dandruff. Work the shampoo into a lather and rub it on your brows while in the shower. Leave for a few minutes before rinsing.

Tea tree oil has antifungal properties which make it effective for treating dandruff. Just mix 5 percent of tea tree oil with aloe gel or lotion and rub into the affected area daily until you notice an improvement in the symptoms.

Treating contact dermatitis

If your eyebrow dandruff is caused by contact dermatitis, then consider avoiding products that caused the irritation in the first place. In the meantime, keep the skin around your eyebrows moisturized to reduce flakiness and irritation. You can use anti-itch cream or take antihistamines to reduce the itch. Be sure to call your doctor if:

  • You develop painful rashes
  • The symptoms affect your daily routine
  • The symptoms fail to resolve after 3 weeks of treatment
  • You notice pus oozing from irritated areas of the skin
  • Have fever
  • Irritated areas look infected

Other eyebrow dandruff management tips

  • Always scrub your skin, using your fingers or skin scrubber, every time you are in the shower to remove dead or dry skin.
  • Apply vitamin E enriched moisturizer onto your skin before going to bed
  • Avoid regular waxing of your eyebrows. Instead, gently tweeze your eyebrows
  • Personal hygiene plays a vital role in keeping dandruff at bay

Eyebrow dandruff: Final word

Eyebrow dandruff is caused by the same skin conditions that cause scalp dandruff, and the two tend to occur together. However, eyebrow dandruff can be quite irritating because the flakes tend to be very visible. Common causes of eyebrow dandruff include eczema, dry skin, psoriasis, and contact and seborrheic dermatitis. Mild eyebrow dandruff can be managed with simple home-remedies like cleaning your face with medicated shampoo and applying a moisturizer onto your skin. However, stubborn eyebrow dandruff may require medical treatment. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist if you have unexplained and persistent eyebrow dandruff. Given the sensitive nature of the skin around the eyes, never apply over-the-counter medications to your eyebrows without express approval from your dermatologist.