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What Are the Causes of Thinning Lashes?

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
What Are the Causes of Thinning Lashes?
Rough care or trauma can cause thinning lashes.

The lush lashes from cosmetic advertisements can be painful reminders of your thinning eyelash condition. A variety of factors can affect your eyelashes, and when they spontaneously begin to thin or fall out, it may be time to visit your doctor for an explanation. At times, it's the normal cycle of eyelashes, but it could also be the sign of a serious medical condition.

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Care or Trauma

When you don't take care of your eyelashes properly, you may experience a thinning of your lashes. Neglecting to remove makeup products each day or scrubbing and rubbing your lashes will cause the delicate hairs to fall out. Instead, remove makeup gently by using an eye makeup remover pad or dousing a cotton ball in mineral oil, which will dissolve the makeup so you needn't scrub it away.

Medical Condition

Certain medical conditions can cause eyelash thinning and should be talked about with your doctor. If you see sudden eyelash thinning, it could be the result of conditions and diseases like leprosy, HIV/AIDS or hyperthyroidsim, notes a 2006 study performed by the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and published in a 2006 issue of "Survey of Ophthalmology."

Drug Interaction

Certain drugs can cause hair loss in patients. Chances are that if your doctor has prepared you for hair loss when prescribing a new medication, that hair loss extends to lashes as well. Chemotherapy patients are often prepared for hair loss during treatment, but may not realize that eyelashes can become thin and nonexistent during treatment, notes Lashes typically grow back after treatment or the medication is stopped.


As you age and your hair follicles age as well, you may notice a thinning of your lashes. Even if you boasted a thick fringe in your younger years, as your natural hair begins to thin and the hair follicles essentially die as you age, your eyelashes may follow suit. Typically the thinning associated with age is minor, and can be disguised with false lashes and cosmetics.

Normal Cycle

Just like the hair on your head, it's normal for you to lose eyelashes over time. Don't panic because you see an eyelash come off on your fingertips when you rub your eyes. Eyelashes are replaced by new growth, notes Oregon State University Student Health Services. Of you have concerns about the rate that your eyelashes are falling out, you should make an appointment with your doctor to explore the causes and find out whether your eyelash loss is normal or not.

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