Having thick, long lashes is every woman’s dream, but how far will you go for a fuller look? Recent trends in eyelash plumping have now bypassed the trusty mascara wand, going to more extreme measures to get that dramatic, sexy look. A new fad of eyelash extensions has swept through salons and spas, costing women both tons of money and for some, their natural lashes. As many reports have proved that lash extensions pose potential health risks, more and more horror stories have emerged as an increased number of women are trying to look like Beyoncé. So what exactly is happening, and what should you look out for when considering the false lash trend?
Why it’s risky
Putting any foreign object anywhere near your eye poses a threat, but eyelash extensions are particularly hazardous because they have been known to cause a variety of different types of irritation. ‘The glue, for some people, can cause allergic reactions,’ said Dr. Robert Dorin from True and Dorin Medical Group in New York City. ‘And for some reason bacteria wants to stick with it, and it could cause fungal or viral infections as well.’
Even though the glue is deemed biologically acceptable, some glues contain formaldehyde which can cause the allergic reaction. Also, dirt and bacteria can get trapped within the extensions, as Dorin said, and it is very likely that the extensions can cause eye infections.
The biggest risk, though, is the vicious cycle extensions start when they begin to damage your natural lashes. ‘The weight of using eyelash extensions on a regular basis can put stress on the hair follicle and eventually make it fall out and not grow back,’ Dorin said. ‘The incentive to use it is to make your lashes fuller, and it can actually do the reverse and make them thinner.’
The evidence seems to be pretty compelling that lash extensions are more trouble than they’re worth.
In a recent study in support of this claim, Japanese researchers examined a smaller pool of participants to see what kinds of ocular diseases eyelash extensions were causing. Out of 107 women ages 21 to 52, 64 had experienced allergic reactions because of the glue, while 42 experienced conjunctival erosion because of infection. The rest were found to have other types of allergic reactions associated with the lashes, as well as different forms of infections to different parts of the eye.
It would seem that the best thing to do is stick to the mascara tube. It may not give you the to-die-for Kim Kardashian look, but in the case of your health, less is more.