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Are these beauty trends safe for the eye?

Beauty Trends are in the eye of the beholder

Or should we say, on the eye of the beholder! (particularly the eyelashes) There are many different procedures that are meant to enhance your natural eyelashes and it’s important to consider their safety.

False Eyelashes

There are different types of false eyelashes available that you can apply yourself at home. Some come in strips, some are individual. Some are synthetic and some are real hair. Most varieties are applied by using some sort of glue. It is always important to read the ingredients of the products you use because some glues contain harsh ingredients such as formaldehyde. We have seen cases of allergic and inflammatory reactions in our office with patients that wear this type of false eyelash. A new trend is to apply the eyelashes with a magnetic eyeliner. This tends to be a better choice for most people but it is possible for those with metallic allergies to have reactions to the eyeliner.

If you do choose to use false eyelashes it is best to choose eyelashes of a natural length. A good rule of thumb is about 1/3 of the eye width. This helps facilitate proper aerodynamic flow and avoids funneling air and debris to the ocular surface.  It is also best to use partial strips instead of ones that extend along the full lash line. You should always also do a “patch test” with the glue or eyeliner by applying a small amount to the inside of your wrist to test for any possible allergic reaction before you apply it to your eyelids.

Eyelash Extensions

These are false eyelashes that are applied individually by a trained esthetician. Since they are applied using glue, it is possible to have allergic and inflammatory reactions to the glue. The greater risk with this type of false eyelash is that many wearers are afraid to remove mascara or clean around the eyes for fear of losing eyelashes; therefore, hygiene can be a problem. Lack of proper care can lead to infection, particularly with demodex mites (yes, that is lice for your eyelids! Ewww). It is important to still removed makeup at the end of the day and use good lid hygiene practices. Spray-on hypochlorous acid is one cleaning option for eyelash extensions that will not hurt the glue used to attach them.

Eyelash Perms

Just as it sounds, this is a trend where you perm the eyelashes to have more curl. It’s also sometimes called a “lash lift”. Risks to consider with this procedure can come from the solution used to curl the eyelashes. They usually are highly toxic to the ocular surface (such as hydrogen peroxide and thioglycolic acid) and can potentially cause damage to the cornea if they come into contact with the cornea.

Growth Serum for Eyelashes

Just as it sounds, these are serums applied to the lash line to cause the eyelashes to grow longer and fuller. Latisse was the first FDA serum available in 2008. Since then, different types of over-the-counter serums have come to the market. Many of them contain a synthetic prostaglandin active ingredient. Be aware that these types of medications can increase inflammation and cause side effects over time such a skin darkening and “sunken eye” appearance. Therefore, it is preferable to use a growth serum that do not contain prostaglandins.


Don’t be afraid to ask your eye doctor! If you think you might be having an ocular complication from an eyelash procedure or treatment, call Vision Source Mandan right away at 701-663-0313.


Top image by Hope Aye on Pexels (location) used under Creative Commons Zero (CCO) License. Image has been cropped and modified from original. Image rights state commercial use and modifications allowed when image was obtained on 12/17/2019.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.