What Do Doctors Say About Eyelash Growth and Enhancement Techniques?

Many of us want luscious lashes but, for many women, however, they are nothing more than a dream. Eyelash hypotrichosis is a condition characterized by having lashes lower than the average length and thickness or having fewer than the average number of lashes. Commonly attributed to genetic causes, physical trauma, aging, or certain medical treatments, eyelash hypotrichosis is a clinical condition for which many treatments exist.

Dr. Sandy Skotnicki, founder of Toronto’s Bay Dermatology Centre, understands eyelash hypotrichosis through the lens of a scientific professional and has evaluated all of the top treatments on the market. Here’s what she has to say about eyelash growth and enhancement techniques. 

Evaluating Popular Methods for Growing Lashes

The Internet provides easy access to a wealth of information, but that information is only as reliable as its source. Countless home remedies for lash growth are no more than a click away, but few of them are clinically tested or scientifically proven. In fact, some of them may do more harm than good.

Here are some of the most popular methods for growing lashes found on the Internet: 

  • Vaseline – This treatment reportedly moisturizes the base and root of the lashes to reduce lash loss, keeping the lashes in place so they may grow longer. 
  • Coconut Oil – Rich in nourishing fatty acids and proteins, coconut oil can offer natural hydration benefits which may encourage lash growth. 
  • Castor Oil – Applied to the lashes, castor oil can provide intense moisture and may reduce breakage which, in turn, could lead to healthier growth. 
  • Trimming Lashes – The same way regular hair trims stimulate follicular growth, trimming the lashes may make them grow faster and stronger.

What Does Dr. Skotnicki Say? 

There is no scientific evidence to support the use of Vaseline or coconut oil to improve eyelash growth or prevent eyelash loss. Castor oil is the only herbal treatment shown, in limited research, to improve hair loss when used consistently. Data does not support trimming the lashes to boost strength or length. 

Medical Treatments for Eyelash Growth

While over-the-counter remedies like Vaseline and coconut oil have little foundation in scientific evidence, medical treatments for eyelash hypotrichosis do exist. The primary medical treatment for eyelash hypotrichosis is Bimatoprost, sold under the brand name Latisse. 

Applied to the upper eyelid each evening, Latisse has been shown to make lashes longer, thicker, and darker after 4 weeks of continued use. This treatment alters the cyclical growth pattern of the eyelashes, increasing the proportion of hair follicles in the growth phase. Though many users noticed an improvement in the appearance of their lashes, 4% experienced redness or an itching sensation in the eyes. Other common side effects include skin darkening, eye irritation, and dry eyes. 

What Does Dr. Skotnicki Say? 

The drug Bimatoprost (brand name Latisse) has been clinically proven to thicken and lengthen fine hairs like eyelashes when used regularly. The drug can extend the growth cycle of the lash prior to shedding.

Non-Medical Options for Longer Lashes

Medical options like Latisse yield results in as little as 4 weeks but, for many women, that’s simply too long to wait. If you’re looking for more immediate results, the two most popular non-medical options are eyelash extensions and lash-boosting mascara. 

Eyelash extensions consist of artificial lashes being applied individually on top of your natural lashes as an alternative to strip lashes. They are applied using adhesive and may last six to eight weeks until they fall out naturally. A full set, typically 70 to 80 lashes per eye, costs between $100 and $400 with fill-ins ranging from $50 to $165. Improper application comes with a risk of traction alopecia or lash loss.

Like traditional mascara, lash-boosting mascara gives natural lashes the appearance of being plumper, fuller, and longer. However, it also contains ingredients like arginine, acid proteins, and pro vitamin B5 which supposedly boost lash growth as well. 

What Does Dr. Skotnicki Say?

Both eyelash extensions and lash-boosting mascara enhance the appearance of natural lashes but do not appear to affect their growth. Unfortunately, eyelash extensions can damage the natural lash and some women develop an allergy to the adhesive used to apply them. There is no scientific evidence to suggest lash-boosting mascara improves lash growth. 

When it comes to long, full, and healthy lashes, there are no shortcuts. Makeup and cosmetic procedures can improve the appearance of natural lashes but changes to the length, thickness, and number of lashes takes time – even with approved medical treatments like Latisse. The best thing you can do is follow a healthy diet, make smart makeup choices, and consult a doctor before trying any home remedies or prescription treatments. 

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