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Authors: Dr Stephen Thomas, Medical Registrar, Gold Coast, and Honorary Dermatology Registrar and Research Fellow, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia; Dr Priyam Sobarun, Dermatology Registrar, Queensland Institute of Dermatology, Brisbane, Australia. DermNet NZ Editor in Chief: Hon A/Prof Amanda Oakley, Dermatologist, Hamilton, New Zealand. December 2016.

Table of contents

What is madarosis?

Madarosis refers to loss of the eyelashes or eyebrows. It can be:

  • Unilateral or bilateral
  • Incomplete or complete
  • Non-scarring or scarring.

In non-scarring madarosis, follicular structures are retained and it is potentially reversible. Scarring madarosis is due to deeper inflammation and fibrosis, and it is more likely to result in permanent lash and hair loss.

Loss of the eyelashes alone is also known as milphosis.

Who gets madarosis?

Madarosis can be found in both sexes and in any age group but, depending on the underlying cause, it is more common in older people. 

What causes madarosis?

Madarosis is caused by any process that damages the hair bulb or hair shaft, leading to either temporary or permanent hair loss

Common causes of madarosis include:


Uncommon causes of madarosis include:


See more images of madarosis.

How is madarosis diagnosed?

Madarosis can be clinically diagnosed based on an adequate history and examination. Useful tests may include:

What is the treatment for madarosis?

The specific treatment recommended for madarosis depends on its underlying cause (eg, antibiotics are recommended for madarosis caused by bacterial infection). Non-specific measures that can be used in madarosis  include:



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