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False Eyelashes— Worth the Risk?

Long, voluminous lashes became popular over a hundred years ago, thanks to film director D.W. Griffith, and have remained largely in style ever since. While today’s false lashes are not nearly as dangerous as their historical counterparts, they are not entirely without hazard.

Whether you are a false lash addict, an occasional user, or considering dabbling for the first time, here are some risk-factors you may want to consider.

1. Allergic Reactions. False lashes are often made out of synthetic fibers and require glue to apply— both of which can be irritating to sensitive skin. An allergic reaction to either component can cause itching, burning, swelling or pain around the eye and eyelid. If the reaction is minor, taking Benadryl or an over the counter NSAID pain reliever such as ibuprofen can help, but if the reaction is severe or lasts more than 24 hours, you should see a doctor. False lashes should be removed immediately at the first sign of irritation.

2. Natural Lash Damage. False lashes are applied on top of your natural lashes using an adhesive. If applied or removed incorrectly, they can pull out your natural lashes at the root, or cause breakage. Many types of long-lasting lash glue are intended to keep lashes in place for several days and increase the likelihood of your natural lashes falling out, or being pulled out upon removal of the false lashes. While the lash loss is not usually permanent, it can take up to 6-8 weeks for lashes to re-grow.

3. Eye Infections. Lash extensions and false lashes provide more surface area for bacteria to harbor in and can increase the risk of infections like conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye). False lashes frequently cause minor irritations that lead to wearers rubbing or touching their eyes more, providing more opportunities for bacteria to transfer from the hands to the eyes.

Our suggestion? Avoid false lashes and lash extensions, especially if you’ve experienced any kind of irritation with them in the past. We recommend switching to mascara and following best practices for application.

1. Wash your hand thoroughly before applying.

2. Replace mascara every three months.

3. Never share eye makeup products.

4. Look for natural and organic mascaras that are lower in harmful chemicals.

If you’re set on false lashes make sure to clean your eyelids before and after application, limit the amount of glue used, avoid lashes with sparkles or embellishments, remove lashes gently, and avoid glue with formaldehyde. If you use false lashes and think you may be experiencing an issue caused by them, please reach out to our office for advice or to schedule an appointment.

Irritation resulting from the use of false eyelashes can be painful, frustrating, and persistent— lasting for weeks after they have been removed. Are thicker, darker lashes truly worth the risk?

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