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Is eyelash serum dangerous?

Never underestimate the importance of a product's ingredients

Is eyelash serum dangerous? Never underestimate the importance of a product's ingredients

Let's face it: we all would like longer and fuller lashes. We have all spent some minutes (ok, maybe hours) reading beauty hacks or reviews on the best products promising a wow effect gaze. Not just mascara, extensions or fake lashes, but growth serums that deceive us into achieving Bambi-like lashes with an apparently more natural approach than other solutions on the market. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2020, the eyelash serum market was valued at $752.1 million and is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2031. The popularity of this "miracle worker" began in 2008 when Latisse introduced the first FDA-approved topical treatment for treating eyelash hypotrichosis, turning this merchandise category into an essential item in our beauty routine. But do we really know how an eyelash serum works, what its formulation is, and if, in addition to giving us thicker, longer, and darker lashes, it has any side effects?

What Is an Eyelash Growth Serum?

Generally available in a liquid or gel solution formula, eyelash serums are a group of products aimed at making lashes thicker, longer, darker, and healthier, and are applied to the hair follicle base. Unlike mascara and other make-up, they work from the inside directly on the bulbs, stimulating lash growth through essential oils like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or argan oil and vitamins, such as A, B, C, and E. Many of the ingredients found in over-the-counter options are used for hair growth and hair fiber strengthening with no sufficient independent clinical and/or consumer testing to confirm their effectiveness on lashes. In any case, they do not yield immediate results, but if used consistently, after about 3-4 weeks, you should notice increased length, volume, and density.

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Eyelash Serums: The Ingredients

Just like a hair balm, over-the-counter serum ingredients tend to focus on nourishing lashes rather than direct growth. There are many types on the market, making it difficult to choose the most suitable option for our needs. How to navigate? Firstly, by carefully reading the Inci (list of ingredients) and, if in doubt, consulting a qualified medical professional, such as a general practitioner, dermatologist, or ophthalmologist. Among the beneficial active ingredients and nutrients for lash appearance, which over time strengthen them, are peptides and peptide complexes that act specifically on the cellular structure of lashes to increase volume, revitalize hair follicles, and stimulate melanin formation; B-group vitamins like biotin and panthenol, which contribute to new keratin production (lashes are composed of about 80% keratin protein); natural oils that nourish and hydrate; plant extracts and antioxidants for an additional nutrient boost and protection.

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Do Eyelash Serums Have Side Effects?

It is important to remember that although eyelash growth serums are generally considered safe when used as directed, some individuals may experience skin sensitivity, eye irritation, and allergic reactions. However, there are ingredients, mainly found in prescription products (but not only), that are potentially much more dangerous and should be avoided: prostaglandins and prostaglandin analogs (PGA).

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 What Are Prostaglandins?

Prostaglandins are a group of lipids with hormone-like actions that play a role in the body's defense, repair, and natural physiology. They are used in topical eye drops as therapy for glaucoma, as they help relieve pressure inside the eyes. It has been discovered that one of their side effects acts on the anagen phase of the lash growth cycle, making them longer, thicker, and more pigmented. This discovery led to the development of prostaglandin-based products and prostaglandin analogs for lashes. However, all that glitters is not gold.

How Are They Harmful?

There are also contraindications so bad that eyelash serums with prostaglandins have been banned in some European nations (they have been banned by the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) since 2013). A recent study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that people who used PGA-containing eyelash extenders developed a condition known as periorbitapathy, which consists of changes in the eyelids and orbital region such as thinner, wrinkled, and darker skin. Thus, side effects of prostaglandins include: irritation, itching and ocular pain, hyperpigmentation around the eyelids, and altered iris color. In some cases, it appears that prostaglandins have the ability to damage the Meibomian glands, which cause permanent dry eye, and to alter the fatty tissue of the ocular cavity so that the eyeball becomes sunken. Obviously, if any of these cases occur, you should stop treatment immediately and seek medical attention.

@irene.prosperi Risposta a @Sara Toschi è normale, visto che le nostre ciglia hanno un “ciclo vitale” che a distanza di mesi dopo aver smesso il trattamento con il siero di sweed si torni ad una situazione di partenza! Il mio consiglio l’ho dato ognuno può liberamente valutare se vale la pena o meno, io vi racconto solo le mie personali esperienze e considerazioni in totale serenità love u #sierociglia #ciglialunghe #ciglia #lashserum That Couch Potato Again - Prod. By Rose

If we are not sure, ask the doctor


Unfortunately, although most eyelash serums do not contain this particular drug, as Dr. Constantinos Petsoglou, senior lecturer in clinical ophthalmology at the University of Sydney, says, “Some products do not list all the chemicals inside and may contain these glaucoma drugs called prostaglandin analogs.” He adds, “Also, putting unknown products on the skin and on the most delicate surface of the human body carries serious risks.” So, if we are in doubt si which product to buy and want to avoid any negative effects, let's consult a certified expert.

Eyelash serum alt\ernatives to consider

While it is best to avoid prostaglandin-based eyelash serums, there are many alternatives to consider for longer, thicker lashes. We can lean toward a moisturizing serum or conditioner such as Sweed's eyelash serum that gives longer, fuller lashes in 28 days without containing any prostaglandins in the formula, but, instead, peptides, vitamins, beta-carotene, pumpkin seed, hyaluronic acid, plant keratin and vitamin B5. Additional help for healthy, beautiful lashes is the right mascara, which should be moisturizing and easy to remove. Nutrition can also help. Tabitha Fredrichs, trichologist and fine hair specialist, recommends eating foods rich in biotin and vitamin B such as egg yolk, spinach, oats, avocados, nuts, seeds and lean protein.