Lash extensions – how safe?

4 minute read
Many women want to have the seductive cat eyes. One of the most popular ways to get them is to have lash extensions. Seems like a simple and common procedure. After all, thousands have had it done. But is it indeed completely safe?

One may forget that lashes are not just there to accentuate your beautiful eyes but serve to protect and provide moisture to the eyes. The scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States studied the eyelash lengths of various mammals and came to an interesting conclusion. It was discovered that the eyelashes of virtually all mammals equal exactly a third of their eye width.

Protect or decorate?

This is the optimum length to guarantee good eye health. Lashes of this length were the best in controlling the air flow around the eyes and helping the eyes stay hydrated. Is this considered when applying eyelash extensions? Not really. It is a very common idea that when you have your eyelashes extended, the “the more the merrier principle” applies. But lashes that are too long are unable to actually protect the eyes.

People living in colder climates are especially vulnerable. After all, we spend most of the year in air-conditioned and heated rooms where the air is dry as it is. If we add very long lashes to the formula, we may have tired, reddish and itchy eyes looking back at us in the mirror soon.

In addition to momentary uncomfort, there is a risk of long-term problems. If dry and irritated eyes are not soothed in any way, complications may occur, such as chronic eye inflammations, damage to the cornea and even permanent decline in visual acuity.

Your own eyelashes may be permanently damaged

The main argument why women decide to get eyelash extensions is the allegedly smaller amount of time needed to look fresh in the morning. But lash extensions also need maintenance. First of all, untended extensions are not a beautiful sight. In addition to the aesthetic issue, lash extensions that are not well-maintained may damage the wearer’s natural lashes.

The scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine claim that long-term use of lash extensions may cause alopecia. Generally, alopecia is an autoimmune disease causing hair loss. But what many of us probably don’t know is that long-term mechanical stress also causes alopecia. For example, hair loss may occur in people who wear hair extensions that are fitted too tight. The same problem may trouble those wearing eyelash extensions. The more luscious the extensions on your own lashes, the more pressure they exert.

Constant friction or pulling may also damage the hair follicles severely enough to completely stop hair growth. So, make sure to take breaks in wearing artificial eyelashes and check that the tufts are applied correctly.

The glue may also be a source of problems

As we all know, lash extensions do not adhere to your own lashes by magic. A special glue is used, and some customers may be very sensitive to it. The glue comes into contact with very delicate skin, so it is only reasonable to do a test beforehand on a small patch of skin to make sure the chemicals do not overly irritate the eyelids.

Also, ask the beautician about the presence and content of formaldehyde in the lash glue. Formaldehyde is a chemical used besides beauty products also in household chemicals and the pharmaceutical industry, for example.

A glue with a high formaldehyde content may cause serious allergies, eyelid swelling and inflammation of the eye. Also, it is carcinogenic, meaning that it promotes the formation of cancer. Therefore, you should definitely verify the reliability of your beauty salon and, before having the extensions applied, talk to your beautician about your worries because no-one is safe from allergies.

For example, an unpleasant incident happened with Kristin Chenoweth, one of the most prominent Broadway stars of all time. She had been invited to David Letterman’s talk show as a guest and was planning to do something girly – as she put it – before appearing in front of the audience. Eventually, she showed up wearing gigantic sunglasses. Both the host and the audience were wondering. The woman jokingly admitted that she had eyelash extensions applied, but they turned her eyelids into something reminiscent of lips instead.

Chenoweth appeared to be allergic to formaldehyde, so she had to remove the lashes immediately after application. Luckily, nothing bad happened, but her story is a warning to us all.

The best results are guaranteed by moderation and care

The extensions will look good if your own lashes are in good condition as well. Fortunately, weak eyelashes can easily be pampered. There are many products available to do that, at a good price. For example, the castor oil available over the counter in pharmacies, but also targeted serums to boost eyelash growth, available in both pharmacies and beauty stores.

Both oils and serums extend the growth cycle of the eyelashes and strengthen the hair follicle. If the growth cycle gets longer, the eyelash will fall out significantly later and naturally and the result is a more luscious eyelash line.

If you take good care of your eyelashes, it may very well happen that you prefer not to have extensions applied anymore because the beauty given to you by nature is just enough.