You have probably heard about Latisse® eyelash lenghtener, the prescription that makes eyelashes longer, darker and thicker. It has been on the market since the FDA approved it in December 2008. How do you use it? Is it safe for your eyes? Does it really work?
What is Latisse®?
Latisse® is actually a version of a glaucoma drug in an eye drop form called bimatoprost (brand name Lumigan) that has been in use since 2001. During that period eye doctors noticed that their gloaucoma patients had a side effect of hair growth thus producing longer and more lush eye lashes.
Celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy and Mandy Moore have reportedly used Latisse®, and its advertising spokespeople have included Brooke Shields and Claire Danes. Recently, Christina Hendricks, star of Mad Men, signed on to promote the product in conjunction with a charity fundraising campaign called the Latisse®Wishes Challenge.
According to studies, Latisse® lengthens, thickens and darkens eyelashes via a process that isn’t fully understood. Like the hair on your head, eyelashes sprout, grow for a while and eventually fall out. Latisse®both extends the growth phase and increases the number of hairs that sprout. During clinical studies, full results appeared after 12 to 16 weeks of daily use.
How Does Latisse® Work?
Latisse® is applied by dabbing it on the upper lash line each night with the sterile applicators supplied. The solution spreads to your lower lash line automatically as you blink. According to the manufacturer, you should never apply it in your eye or onto your lower lid. Before you apply, your face must be clean and your makeup and contact lenses removed. Always discard each applicator after one use. Re-using applicators, even just once the next evening, can cause serious problems, such as an eye infection or allergic reaction. Apply it carefully since Latisse® may promote hair growth on other skin areas. After 2 months of nightly use, you may begin to see results. After 3 to 4 months, your doctor may recommend a treatment schedule of every 2 days or 3 times a week. If you stop using Latisse® your eyelashes will gradually return to their former state.
Study participants experienced these results after 16 weeks:
- Eyelash length increased by 25 percent.
- Thickness and fullness increased by 106 percent.
- Eyelash darkness increased by 18 percent.
Before And After Latisse
Potential Latisse® Side Effects
According to clinical studies Latisse® eyelash prescription is safe for most people. However, you may not be a candidate if you have certain eye problems (such as uveitis and conjunctivitis), risk for macular edema, severe allergies or skin infections of the upper eyelids. Pregnant women shouldn’t use Latisse® and nursing women may want to wait as well.
Because the active ingredient in Latisse® lowers intraocular pressure, if you are already using IOP-lowering medications for ocular hypertension and/or glaucoma, you must tell your eye doctor before you try Latisse® so eye pressure can be monitored closely.
Most study participants had no problems if Latisse accidentally got into their eyes. But a few did experience side effects that included dry eyes and eyelid skin darkening. The side effects that occurred in the largest percentage of participants were eye redness (3.6 percent) and itchiness (also 3.6 percent).
Allergan reports that permanent brown pigmentation of the iris is a potential side effect, but it was not reported as occurring during the studies.
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Tell your doctor if you have any of the above side effects, as well as any vision problems, eye infections or allergic reactions. Also tell your doctor if you are planning to have any eye surgeries.