By Dr. Eddie Valenzuela

Many men and women have had dandruff since they were adolescents. Many people just get used to having flakes on their shoulders. But when symptoms change and you start seeing scale in the folds between your nose and cheeks, the nasolabial folds, or start to see flakes in your eyebrows, you may begin to wonder what is going on here. Is this eyebrow dandruff? Is that a thing? Is eyebrow dandruff normal??

The most common cause of flaking on the eyebrows or nasolabial folds is likely seborrheic dermatitis. What is seborrheic dermatitis? Seborrheic dermatitis is a more intense version of dandruff—a mild sloughing of the topmost layer of skin, and if you are reading this you or a loved one may have it. Don’t fret, it is extremely common.

Is Eyebrow Dandruff Normal?

Of all places ,why are the eyebrows affected? The eyebrows and nasolabial folds are areas with high oil production and a yeast called Malassezia that lives on everyone’s skin eats these oils making a byproduct that irritates the skin and then makes it flake.

Other uncommon causes of flaking in the eyebrows area could be the following:

  • Eczema
  • Acne
  • Psoriasis
  • Ichthyosis
  • Drug Induced Photosensitivity

If the eyebrow flakes were caused by Eczema, you would likely have dry or itchy spots on other parts of your body. For instance, in the folds of the arms, or on the wrists—location is age dependent.  You can find more info on Eczema here (insert hyperlink).

If the cause of flakes was Acne you would likely have other red lesions (inflammatory papules)  or black heads (open comedones) on your cheeks or forehead or chin.

If the eyebrow flaking was Psoriasis you would expect a lesion with a sharply defined red based with thick white scale.  These red spots with white white scale would likely extend beyond just the immediate eyebrow area—perhaps onto the eyelid or forehead.

Ichthyosis is a condition of dry skin that is usually diffuse—meaning occurring on large parts of the body—the whole trunk, arms and legs.

Lastly, Drug Induced Photosenstivity means you are taking a medication orally or topically, and after exposure to the sun you could get red spots in the sun exposed areas. Most likely it would not just affect the eyebrows.

These are the thoughts that a physician may have, what we call a differential diagnosis, common things being common, your eyebrow flakes is likely seborrheic dermatitis, or a mild form of seborrheic dermatitis.  Happy Cappy devloped a medicated kids shampoo for seborrheic dermatitis that avoids the harmful ingredients that are common in other adult dandruff shampoos that can help with these flakes.  Happy Cappy’s medicated shampoo is parabens free, fragrance free, sulfate free and 95% natural providing a safe moisturizing shampoo for kids and adults alike.