Eyelash extensions may cause permanent lash damage and women are being warned not to put fashion before eye health in choosing to embrace the trend.
False eyelashes are more popular than ever, but a new craze for semi-permanent eyelash extensions is also emerging, which experts say needs careful consideration by consumers.
Unlike false eyelashes, where synthetic lashes are applied to the eyelid and then removed after use, eyelash extensions are applied directly to the natural eyelash with a bonding agent and can last for over a month. These bonding agents and glues are irritants and can cause discomfort and potential eye damage in severe cases.
Traction Alopecia can be caused by repeated use of eyelash extensions. This is a condition where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft. This can damage the hair follicle which can slow down and even cease production of hair.
Eye experts emphasise that our eyelashes play a very important role in keeping our eyes healthy. They act as a natural defence against dust, dirt and sunlight and we must be careful not to interfere with this vital natural defence mechanism. They say that false eyelashes are a cheaper and safer alternative, providing that they are applied and removed properly.
If you do, however opt for eyelash extensions, the advice is not to put price over safety. Go to a reputable practice with trained staff. Follow their advice and have an allergy test prior to treatment. See an eye specialist immediately if you experience problems.
If you do, however, go for the safer alternative of false eyelashes, there are still a number of factors to consider and advice to take. Eye experts advise the following:
- Don’t apply glue directly to the eyelid – remember that the glue is an irritant and you should avoid getting it into your eyes at all costs. It is advisable to place the glue onto the back of your hand then dab the base of the false eyelashes into it to apply the glue.
- Don’t sleep in them – ensure you remove false eyelashes properly and don’t go to sleep in them as this can result in discomfort and irritation
- Don’t share false eyelashes with friends – you shouldn’t share make-up or false eyelashes with friends as this can transfer bacteria and could result in eye infections
- Don’t use heated eyelash curlers with false eyelashes - false eyelashes are synthetic and are not designed to withstand high temperatures. Attempting to curl them using a heated appliance may cause them to melt onto your natural lashes
- Store them carefully - Careless application and storage of fake lashes could carry a health risk. Dirt and bacteria can easily be transferred onto eyelids and the cornea, which can lead to eye infections and in the most serious (but rare) cases result in permanent sight loss.
- Always wash your hands before applying fake lashes and never stick them to your own lashes. Make sure you glue them to the lid following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Don’t wear more than one pair at once trying to create super volume – bacteria can gather between the strips. Avoid attaching jewels or other decorations which could scratch and seriously injure the eye if they came loose.
- Throw the lashes away at the first sign of wear and tear – again, bacteria can breed in the cracks, which can also collect dirt.