Beautiful Lashes

A couple of weeks ago a journalist from Flair asked me what my biggest beauty blunder had been. Well, with the blunders I have made I can fill a couple of blogs, but I will just stick with the one which is still clearly visible in my mind; my “lash extensions”. Although my eye-lashes are quite alright, I had a photo shoot once where a makeup artist had applied some false ones over the top of them. The effect was very subtle and I really liked it. When I later read somewhere that you could have this done and it lasted for a couple of weeks, taking away the need to wear eye make-up (thought it was a good idea in the summer), I immediately booked in for a treatment. Even though, in the short time that it took, I stated quite clearly that they had to look natural, I almost had heart failure when I finally looked in the mirror… Even my kids wanted their old mum back after they had recovered from laughing. I’ll spare you from the rest of the story, but no more eyelash extensions for me!

Eyelash loss
After my false eyelashes were hastily removed, my own eyelashes weren’t looking too happy. Nevertheless, even if you don’t doing anything silly your eyelashes can still fall out. One of the most common reasons for eyelash loss (also known as madarosis) is poor mascara. In particular, waterproof mascara, cleaning eyes too harshly with unsuitable products and frequent rubbing of the eyes can all cause eyelash loss. It may also be that there are demadox mites living in your eyelashes and eyebrows. This is common in people suffering with Rosacea. Other skin disorders and eye infections can also lead to eyelash loss, such as, for example, seborrhoeic eczema, psoriasis, alopecia and atopic dermatitis. If you are in the menopause your eyelashes may become thinner; the changing oestrogen levels account for thinner eyelash hairs and hair loss. Lastly, certain health conditions such as thyroid disorder and medicine are also accountable for eyelash loss, these include roaccutane for acne, pills for high cholesterol and blood pressure lowering medication. All in all, a lengthy list then!

First Aid for your lashes
If you think that your eye-lashes are getting thinner firstly check your eye make-up and eye make-up remover. Try using a water based mascara, and carefully and gently cleanse your eyes every night with an un-perfumed cleanser or oil. If it doesn’t improve then ask advice from your Doctor. It may be that you have an underlying condition which causes the eyelash loss. If you are suffering from eyelash loss and you have Rosacea, then you can try very carefully cleansing your eyelashes and eyebrows with diluted tea tree oil.

Eyelash extending cosmetics
A few years ago it was discovered that people who used eye drops, containing prostaglandin for treating eye pressure, acquired long lashes. The cosmetics industry smelled money and subsequently converted this substance into an appropriate form to add to cosmetics. Whether these eyelash lengthening products work is totally dependent on the ingredients and their concentrations used, but research has shown that if a prostaglandin substance (a so-called prostaglandin analogue) has been added then it can indeed make your lashes darker, fuller and longer. Examples of such products are Revitalash, Latisse (on Doctors prescription) Neulash and Nutraluxe MD lash. As usual in the cosmetics world, there are a lot of fakes on the market. If you don’t see Bimatoprost, Latanoprost, Travoprost, Isopropyl Cloprostenate, Dechloro Dihydroxy Difluoro Ethylcloprostenolamide, Methylamido Dihydro Noralfaprostal, 17-Phenyl Trinor Prostaglandin E2 Serinol Amide on the ingredients list the chances are you have bought ‘a pig in a poke’. A Swedish study revealed that this is the case for a large proportion of the eyelash lengtheners. Whether such products are safe is a difficult one for me to assess. Long term investigations are absent and although we have sufficient information about Bimatoprost, hardly anything is known about analogues which are used in the cosmetic products. We do know that such substances used in the eye, apart from lengthening the lashes, can cause itching, skin irritation, dry or burning eyes, reduced vision due to thickening of the retina, even dark discolouration of the iris (this effect is permanent) and pigmentation spots on the skin. If you do decide to use these products make sure that no drops go in your eyes and stop using immediately if your eyes become irritated. You should realise that the effect will cease if you stop using it. If you want to maintain this effect then you will need to keep putting your hand in your pocket as a bottle lasting 3 months costs at least 75 euros! That works out at around 300 euros per year. So just stick to that old fashioned mascara or perhaps better still; just be happy with what mother nature has given us…

Regards Jetske.

(Dr. Jetske Ultee- Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)

You can also read:
‘Help with Choosing Your Mascara’,
‘Help with Choosing Your Eye Make-Up Remover’,
The Ultimate Mascara’.