| Hair Care
| Lash Growth
by Anne Rose
Eyelashes are the hairs that grow along the edge of the eyelid. Like other hair on the body, eyelashes have a normal cycle of growth and shedding. In many parts of the world, long, lush eyelashes are coveted by beauty-conscious women. Because eyelashes are located at one of the focal points of the body--the eyes--issues with eyelash growth can be particularly troubling.
Eyelashes protect eyes from wind, debris and foreign objects. They are extremely sensitive and shield the eyes from objects getting to close by triggering a blink response. Eyelashes are a symbol of beauty, with length, thickness and color directed by current fashion and cultural ideals.
Eyelash health is impacted by the health of the entire body. Eyelashes fall out normally from time to time, and regrow, like all body hair. The rate of growth, as well as the density, length, color and other characteristics of eyelashes are determined in large part by heredity. Some medical conditions, such as alopecia, allergies and thyroid disease, can impact eyelash growth, often causing weak, thin or non-growing lashes. Environmental factors, including toxins, certain cosmetics and chemotherapy can cause eyelashes to fall out and not grow back. Rubbing, makeup removal and use of heavy cosmetics can damage eyelashes and impede growth. Madarosis is the loss of eyelashes. Hypotrichosis is the reduced amount of eyelashes. Sudden eyelash loss or irritation should be evaluated by a physician.
Eyelashes can be conditioned and nurtured with a number of natural and herbal remedies. Certain oils are known for their abilities to enhance lash growth and thickness. Vitamins A and B, as well as Brewer's Yeast, are known for their contributions to eye and eyelash health. A number of over the counter treatments are available to spur eyelash growth. These products are marketed as Revitalash, NeuLash and code.ai. The pricey serums are applied directly to the eyelashes and are available online and in cosmetic departments. Many mascaras and other eye cosmetics also contain eyelash conditioning ingredients.
The first drug to receive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for eyelash growth is called Latisse, manufactured by Allergan. Latisse is a weak formulation of bimatropost, the active ingredient in the glaucoma medication Lumigan. Latisse claims to produce significant eyelash growth within 16 weeks.
Cosmetics and lash-enhancing prosthetics are an alternative to growth-enhancing treatments. Mascara with fiber-enhanced formulations may add length and color to the lashes. Other makeup, like eyeshadow and eyeliner, can create the illusion of richly lashed eyes. Eyelash curlers make existing lashes look fuller. False eyelashes, made from synthetic fibers, hair or mink, can be adhered directly to the eyelid along the lash line with a cosmetic adhesive. Cosmetologists offer salon-quality eyelash extensions that are temporary, but effective in augmenting sparse natural eyelashes.
Eyelashes can become infected by a small mite that dwells in the hair follicle. These mites, Demodicids, are actually found on most people, but can become a serious infestation on people that have oily skin or use heavy cosmetics and don't wash thoroughly between applications. A single female can lay up to 25 eggs in one eyelash follicle, resulting in inflammation, infection and loss of eyelashes. Cleaning cosmetic brushes and sponges, and changing mascara applicators frequently will help preserve eyelash health.