What Eyebrow Twitching Means and Why It Happens

That annoying flicker of your eyebrow can seem to come out of nowhere. One minute you’re going about your day, the next your eyebrow starts bouncing up and down like it has a mind of its own.

Though usually harmless, eyebrow twitching can be an embarrassing distraction. And it may have you wondering why it’s happening in the first place.

Causes of Eyebrow Twitching

Eyebrow twitching, also known as myokymia, has a variety of potential causes.

Stress and Fatigue

Stress and lack of sleep are common culprits for eyebrow twitching. When we’re stressed or overtired, it can cause involuntary muscle contractions and spasms. The delicate muscles around the eye area seem especially prone to twitching when strained.

Think about how often you raise your eyebrows when stressed or surprised. All that frequent eyebrow movement can cause the muscles to tire out and quiver.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Lacking certain vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, vitamin B12, and iron can trigger muscle spasms and nerve issues. Staying hydrated and eating a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals may help.

Interestingly, caffeine and alcohol intake can also contribute to spasms by causing chemical changes in nerves and muscles. So limiting coffee, tea, soda, and alcoholic drinks may ease eyebrow twitching.

Eye Strain

Eye strain is another common cause of eyebrow twitching. Activities that require prolonged focus like reading, computer use, and driving can cause the tiny muscles around the eyes to spasm.

Be sure to take regular breaks during visually demanding tasks. And adjust your lighting, monitor brightness, glare, and seat position to optimize your workstation if eyebrow twitching happens frequently.

Dry Eyes

Dry, irritated eyes are prone to involuntary spasms and twitching. This is because the nerves become hypersensitive when the tear film and moisture are inadequate. Using artificial tears, taking occasional breaks from contacts, and boosting humidity at home and work can help soothe dry eye problems.


Seasonal allergies, eye irritants like pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust mites can provoke eyebrow twitching. This is due to the histamine reaction and inflammation triggered by allergy antibodies. If environmental allergies seem involved, over-the-counter antihistamines and allergy treatments may help.

Minor Injury

Even a minor bump like running into a cabinet door can irritate the facial nerves and muscles, sparking spasms around the eyebrows. Usually rest, cold compresses, and OTC pain relievers resolve this cause of twitching after a few days.

Neurological Disorders

In rare cases, consistent unilateral eyebrow twitching (on just one side) that persists for weeks may indicate an underlying neurological condition. Examples include hemifacial spasm, dystonia, Tourette’s, Parkinson’s disease, and blepharospasm.

See your doctor if the twitches don’t go away and seem localized to a specific area for a full exam. Oftentimes, botox injections can calm muscle spasms related to neurological issues.

Meanings and Superstitions Around Eyebrow Twitches

For centuries, cultures around the world have attached symbolic meanings and superstitions to eyebrow twitching.

Left Eyebrow Twitching Myths

In Chinese culture, left eyebrow twitching signifies upcoming bad luck. It’s thought that you may experience frustration, misfortune, worry, or grief soon.

Some even believe the number of left eyebrow twitches has meaning. One twitch foretells bad fortune, two signal a major financial loss or accident, three warn of a relationship problem, four predict bad news is coming, and five signify losing money.

Right Eyebrow Twitching Myths

Unlike the left side, right eyebrow twitching superstitions indicate good fortune on the way. One twitch hints that you’ll soon receive positive news, two twitches mean you’ll have financial gains, three signify success in business or investments, four predict you’ll come into money, and five signal an upcoming achievement.

Upper and Lower Eyebrow Twitches

In India, superstitions around eyebrow twitches also involve the upper versus lower brow. Right upper twitches allegedly warn of troubles at home, while left upper twitches portend sorrow. Right lower twitches supposedly mean spending money is coming, and left lower twitches indicate gaining money soon.

Though fascinating, these traditional superstitions lack scientific evidence. Eyebrow twitches likely carry no supernatural meanings about one’s destiny or luck.

When to See a Doctor About Eyebrow Tics

Occasional eyebrow twitching is normal and harmless. But see your doctor promptly if you experience:

  • Frequent eyebrow twitching throughout the day
  • Consistent twitching that lasts over two weeks
  • Twitching accompanied by other facial spasms
  • Twitches only on one side of your face
  • Severe pain or soreness along with the twitch
  • Twitching combined with slurred speech, weakness, or vision issues
  • Twitches that disrupt your daily activities

This can indicate an underlying neurological condition needs treatment. Botulinum toxin injections often successfully reduce debilitating twitching and spasms.

How to Stop Eyebrow Twitching

Though eyebrow twitches normally resolve on their own, you can take proactive steps to find relief faster.

Reduce Stress

Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or massage to curb anxiety. Light exercise can lessen stress too. Delegate tasks or take breaks to avoid burnout.

Get More Sleep

Aim for 7-9 hours per night. Follow good sleep hygiene by sticking to a schedule, limiting screens before bed, and creating an optimal sleep environment.

Watch Your Diet

Eat magnesium and potassium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, leafy greens, fish, bananas, avocados, and yogurt. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and salt.

Use Warm Compresses

Applying a warm, wet washcloth over the twitching eyebrow for 5-10 minutes can relax the muscle.

Gently massaging the area around your eyebrows in small circular motions may encourage blood flow and calm spasms.

Most eyebrow twitching resolves in a few days or weeks. But see your doctor if symptoms persist without improvement. In rare cases, prescription medications or botox injections may be warranted to control bothersome facial twitches.