Eyelash Loss – The Cause and The Treatment

The medical term for loss of eyelashes is madarosis. Normally, eyelashes fall out quite frequently. They do grow back, but their growth phase is short while their resting phase is annoyingly long.

Lash hairs also tend to dry out fairly readily, leading to breakage. While lash brittleness and maximum length is definitely controlled by genetic factors, sometimes poor hygiene and makeup habits worsen the problems; making lashes look sparse or even creating bald patches on the eyelid.

Mascara cannot cover up completely hairless areas, and false lashes are cumbersome and often difficult to apply correctly. A new spate of products claims to help lashes stay in their growth phase for longer periods and make them at least appear more lush. Of course, any lash-improving product’s effectiveness depends on the exact nature of the underlying problem.

Eyelash Loss Caused by Medical Disorders

Sometimes excessive loss of eyelashes is caused by an incipient or advanced medical condition, such as an abnormality in the thyroid or pituitary glands. Allergies to ingredients in cosmetics, hay fever, or non-cosmetic-connected sensitivities to dust, pillow down, or medications may all be the culprit.

A certain mite known as Demodex folliculocum destroys surface cells on the eyelids or in the lash follicles; this process can thin out the lashes considerably. Eye infections or styes can also lead to unsightly bald areas on the eyelids.

If cosmetic remedies prove ineffective, a visit to an oculoplastic surgeon or dermatologist is strongly advised.

Loss of Eyelashes Caused by Mascara Use or Removal

Loading the lashes with thick, heavy layers of mascara is not a good idea. Mascaras are primarily composed of waxes and pigments. Even in the absence of cosmetic allergies, overuse of mascara weighs down and breaks fragile lash hairs. Two thin coats should be more than sufficient.

Use of an eyelash primer such as  Smashbox’s Layer Lash Primer will make lashes look thicker and longer than will mascara alone; look for primers that contain lash conditioning ingredients like keratin, panthenol, collagen, jojoba oil, lecithin, and peptides. Ingredient studies back in the 1980s indicated that panthenol has the best chance of actually entering hair follicles and strengthening hair from within, but these results are now considered questionable. Panthenol is sometimes listed on packaging as Pro-Vitamin B with the subscript 5.

Note that Maybelline Pro Mascara come with their own primers, which contain several conditioning ingredients (including panthenol). Laura Mercier’s Full Blown Volume Mascara contains both olive oil and panthenol to help condition eyelashes.

Choose non-waterproof mascara formulas whenever possible; removal of water-resistant mascaras often requires harsh eye makeup removers, not to mention much tugging and pulling at delicate lashes. Most importantly, never leave mascara on overnight; removing it before bed will give lashes some much-needed breathing room.

Final Tips to Keep Eyelashes from Falling Out

Lastly, makeup artists and beauty experts often recommend the use of eyelash dyes for clients with light hair and eyelash curlers to enhance intensity of mascara application.

Disregarding for the moment their other possible safety hazards, eyelash dyes can seriously dry out the lashes. Even those dyes marketed as safe or all-natural or administered at spas or salons should be avoided.

Curlers may pull out lashes or weaken them so that they break off in the middle of the hair shaft. Try a curling mascara instead; the final effect is not nearly as dramatic, but it is much healthier for the lashes.

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