Longer, thicker, fuller eyelashes are on trend right now. But what you may not know, is that some over the counter eyelash enhancers may contain the same chemicals found in prescription drugs.
And it's legal.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, anything labeled "cosmetic" that does not make any health claims, is not subject to regulations.
Tanyelle Duchesne of Chicopee uses eyelash enhancers. For her, the investment is paying off.
“Everybody always asks about my lashes,” Duchesne said. “I think that a thicker, darker lash is associated with a younger appearance.”
Leah Kenney, is a physician assistant at Spa on the Green in Longmeadow.
“I can't tell you how many people are doing lips and lashes, still.,” Kenney explained. “2017 we thought was the year of the lip and the lash. 2018 is shaping up to be exactly the same.”
Kenney told Western Mass News, one of the most sought after products here is Latisse a prescription only eyelash enhancer approved by the FDA.
“The FDA approval came out for a medication that was commonly used for glaucoma in 2008, for a new indication, something called hypotrichosis, which is inability to grow eyelash. You might see this in a patient that's had chemo.”
The active ingredient in some eyelash enhancers like Latisse is something called Bimatoprost. It’s used as eye drops by glaucoma patients, studies show Bimataprost can cause changes in iris pigmentation, or eye color, although rare.
“Latisse is FDA approved for medical indication,” Kenney added.
But at a price tag of about $200 for one bottle, many people wanting those longer, thicker lashes are turning to less expensive, over-the-counter versions.
Two of the most popular over the counter lash enhancers are: Neulash and Revitalash. The list of ingredients in Neulash include a synthetic form of that glaucoma drug Bimataprost. The FDA said it can have the same side effects as the original and use should be supervised by a licensed practitioner.
Revitalash said it no longer includes any of the chemicals used in glaucoma treatment. It does, however, contain chlorphenesin, which can cause swelling and redness around the eyes. These products however, are listed as cosmetic and don't require FDA approval.
“What that means for the average patient is not necessarily that it doesn't work,” Kenney explained, “but we don't know the risk of some the side effects like irritation, pigment change, redness, itching, we don't know what we'll see with the over the counter products.”
Tanyelle tried the over the counter lash enhancers first.
“It’s just a little wand that you swipe across the top of the eye like eyeliner and within about 3 to 4 months you're supposed to see some growth,” she said.
For Tanyelle, Latisse had the best overall impact. She did not experience side effects with either product.
On the Latisse website, possible side effects listed include darkening of the eyelid skin and increased brown iris pigmentation of the colored part of the eye, likely to be permanent.
Doctors we spoke with said it's best to check with your own physician before using any over-the-counter eyelash enhancer.
Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.