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Why Don't Some People Have Eyelashes?

By Sarah Densmore ; Updated July 27, 2017

There are many reasons why some people don’t have eyelashes. Certain people are born without the ability to grow eyelashes. Others undergo cancer treatments that cause lashes to temporarily fall out. Still other folks suffer from diseases that cause them to lose their eyelashes.

Alopecia Universalis

People with alopecia universalis are born with empty hair follicles. They can’t grow hair on any part of their bodies. The condition is caused by an inherited, mutated gene.

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is a condition usually characterized by hair loss on the scalp, but people who suffer from it can also lose their eyebrows and eyelashes. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease of unknown cause.


Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids that cause a person’s eyelashes to fall out. According to the Mayo Clinic, blepharitis can be unsightly and difficult to treat, but it will not endanger eyesight.


Lupus, a serious autoimmune disease, can cause sufferers to lose their eyelashes. Hair loss usually occurs during flare-up periods.

Cancer Treatments

Some chemotherapy drugs can cause widespread hair loss, including eyelashes. However, radiation treatments will cause hair loss only near the site of the radiation treatment.

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