When scrolling through social media or flipping through magazines, it’s impossible not to notice that every detail is flawless. From long, flowing locks to luscious, lengthy lashes, you have to wonder whether everything you’re seeing is real.
If you’ve ever worn mascara, false lashes, or lash extensions, you know how easy it is to fake it when it comes to long, thick eyelashes. But is it possible to grow your own lashes longer? The Internet would have you believe it is.
Unfortunately, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet and some tips for growing your lashes are little more than commercial advertising schemes. Here’s what dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotniki has to say about growing thick, healthy lashes.
What Causes Poor Lash Growth?
If your lashes are sparse, short, or almost entirely absent, there are a few possibilities. First and foremost, you should know your lashes go through a continuous growth cycle that lasts about three months. At the end of the growth period, the eyelash is shed and a new one grows in its place.
Hypotrichosis is a condition in which natural hair growth simply doesn’t occur. It differs from conditions like alopecia in that hypotrichosis refers to areas of the body that never experience hair growth while alopecia refers to areas of hair loss.
Eyelash hypotrichosis is a condition in which a person has a lower-than-average number of lashes or lashes that are under the average length and/or thickness.
The primary cause of hypotrichosis is genetics, though additional factors such as aging, eye surgery or trauma, and certain medical treatments like chemotherapy may play a role as well. Women going through menopause may also experience a change in eyelash growth due to changing estrogen levels.
However, cases like this are typically attributed to androgenic hair loss rather than hypotrichosis.
Dos and Don’ts for Healthy Eyelashes
If you long for luscious lashes, you may have done a little research online. The Internet is full of tips and tricks to grow longer lashes, but few of them are backed by scientific evidence. According to dermatologist Dr. Sandy Skotniki, here are some of the best things you can do for your lashes:
• Keep your lashes moisturized. Castor oil is a good option that won’t irritate your skin and it could help your lashes appear fuller by improving hydration.
• Use an eyelash comb. Though it is unlikely to improve growth, using an eyelash comb could impart a little extra curl and help separate the lashes prior to mascara application.
• Remove makeup gently. When removing eye makeup, avoid pulling or picking at your lashes – dab them with a cotton pad soaked in makeup remover.
When it comes to growing your lashes, it’s just as important to do the right thing as it is to avoid doing the wrong thing. According to Dr. Skotniki, improper use of makeup and beauty tools can damage the lashes and lead to loss. Here are some of the habits to avoid for healthy lashes:
• Never sleep in eye makeup. Mascara can build up on the eyelashes if not removed overnight which can lead to eyelash loss.
• Keep your beauty tools clean. Using an eyelash curler can leave mascara behind on the tool which may lead your lashes to stick the next time you use it.
• Avoid using eyelash extensions. Though occasional use may not be a problem, you could have an allergic reaction to the glue and regular use could lead to a loss of natural lashes.
• Don’t wear waterproof mascara. Waterproof mascara can be more difficult to remove which may lead to trauma and loss of natural lashes.
You’ve probably come across supplements for hair growth, but do they really work? Dr. Skotniki suggests a healthy diet can certainly support hair growth, but the scientific evidence supporting specific supplements like biotin and selenium for hair growth is scant.
Certain nutrients like vitamin D can be beneficial for people dealing with hair shedding on the scalp, but the research for eyelashes is unclear.
While there may be no magic formula for long lashes, following a balanced diet of lean protein, whole grains, fresh fruits, and veggies supports overall health and wellness which could boost hair growth.
What About Eyelash Growth Serums?
When it comes to getting long and healthy lashes, there are two steps. First, you want to protect the natural lashes you have by keeping them nourished and moisturized. Avoid leaving your makeup on overnight and be gentle when applying and removing eye makeup. Second, you can try lash serums that contain growth ingredients like bimatoprost.
In a 2014 study involving Japanese participants with chemotherapy-induced eyelash hypotrichosis, bimatoprost was associated with significant improvements in eyelash length, thickness, and darkness. A 2016 study showed more prominent lash growth in over 70% of participants after 4 months of use.
Latisse (bimatoprost) is an FDA-approved topical solution that can help improve eyelash growth. When used daily, this serum can help you grow longer, thicker, and darker eyelashes. The active ingredient in this serum is designed to treat hypotrichosis and it works by keeping the eyelashes in the growth cycle for longer before they are shed.
Wrapping It Up
There’s no magical solution to growing luscious lashes overnight. That being said, there are things you can do to make your natural lashes appear thicker and fuller – you can even use a growth serum to improve lash growth over time.
Before you try an over-the-counter lash serum or any natural remedies you find online, be sure to do your research. If you choose to try bimatoprost, keep in mind as well that it may take several weeks before you see any noticeable improvement and final results may not be visible until 4 months.
The key takeaway here is that it IS possible to grow longer lashes, but it takes time. Follow Dr. Skotniki’s advice to keep your natural lashes strong and healthy while you speak to your own doctor about a lash growth serum, if you think it’s the best option for you.