Ask An Expert: Why Do I Sneeze When I Tweeze?

Have you ever had the urge to sneeze while tweezing your eyebrows? If your answer is yes, don't worry, there's nothing wrong with you. It turns out that this is a common reaction when people shape their brows via tweezers. So what gives? We asked our experts to find out.

“The reason that many people sneeze when they tweeze their eyebrows is that the eyebrows and the nose are both innervated by the trigeminal nerve,” says New York dermatologist Eric Schweiger, MD. “When the trigeminal nerve is stimulated by eyebrow tweezing, this causes excitement of the nerve in the nasal area as well...which can lead to a sneeze.”

Montclair, NJ, dermatologist Jeanine B. Downie, MD, agrees, adding, “It is a reflex. It has to do with the way we humans are wired and it is odd to say the least.”

What's more, when we tweeze our eyebrows, the “tickled” nerve that causes us to sneeze also causes us to tear up, says New York, NY, dermatologist Gervaise Gerstner, MD. “[Tweezing] triggers a facial movement either from the the pain of plucking or just the irritating sensation on the face triggers a sneeze-a chain reaction.”