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Keep your eyelashes looking great

Eyelash loss - how to stop it and how to heal the damage

Author: Charlotte Kuchinsky October 20 2011

beautiful eyelashes

Many women covet long and thick eyelashes. Unfortunately, eyelashes don't always cooperate with the program; over time they may thin out, become sparse, or shorten in length. That will send most women scrambling for a quick solution.

What causes eyelash loss?

While aging is the most common cause for eyelash loss, also known as mandarosis, it isn't the only one. Other reasons are allergic reaction, mite infestation and medical-related problems.

Eye trauma can result in lash loss, from something as simple as too much rubbing of the eyes. It can also result from pulling lashes out of the eyelid, which is a condition known as trichotrillomania.

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Allergies to makeup can result in eyelash loss, particularly to makeup that is used around the eyes such as mascara, eye shadow or even eyebrow products. Certain kinds of makeup cleansers or even skin creams can also result in the problem. Makeup that is too old or cross-contaminated can do the same.

Certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism can result in lash loss. However, this condition will generally cause hair all over the body to thin or fall out, not just eyelashes.

D. follicular is another major cause; it is a tiny mite that gets into the hair follicle to cause inflammation and swelling, which in turn results in mandarosis.

Blepharitis causes the problem as well. It can usually be spotted right away because of scaly eyelids and unnatural itching. Sometimes, however, it only presents redness, swelling and light sensitivity, making it more difficult to detect the condition without a physician's help.

Alopecia areata is another medical cause for lash loss. However, like hypothyroidism, it will also cause loss of hair on other parts of the body, not just lashes or brows. This condition usually comes about in individuals who have an autoimmune deficiency whereby antibodies actually attack the host body.

What works for lash loss?

Obviously, if mandarosis is caused by eye trauma, removal of the trauma may result in new lash growth. The exception to the rule may be trichotrillomania; if a woman continues plucking out her lashes there may come a time when they just stop growing back no matter what she does.

Allergies can usually be diagnosed and treated. The bad news is that is could take time to track the problem back to the specific allergy. In the meantime, the chance of experiencing additional lash loss is high. On the other hand, if the problem is created by contaminated makeup, replacing the products with fresh choices on a regular basis (every three to six months overall) will likely result in a successful solution. This is particularly true of mascara, which should be replaced at least every two or three months to be on the safe side. This will also help avoid even worse problems like bacterial infections of the eye or skin.

When it comes to hypothyroidism, a physician can treat the problem with medication. In most instances, hair will then begin growing. However, it might not be as thick or long as it was before.

D. follicular is treatable as well. The solution is to find a way to kill off the mites that cause the underlying problem.

Blepharitis requires medical attention, which may include antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antioxidants, scrubs and more. Sometimes even massaging of the lid area is required. Like blepharitis, alopecia has no cure but it can be treated with medications and specialized hair-growth products. The latter should only be done under a physician's care.

All of the above problems may take time to treat. In the meantime, it could mean that women would be asked to refrain from using makeup until the problem has been eradicated.

Can you fake lash growth?

There are several things women can do to help jump-start new growth once the underlying problem has been handled.

Lash transplants are possible, but they aren't cheap; the surgery ranges between $2,000 and $3,000 per eye. Lash extension cost much less and are equally effective for just around $100.

When it comes to lash enhancing drugs, Latisse is the front runner, working for a lot of women, but not everyone. There are also some problems attached to the drug - in rare cases it can cause elevated intraocular pressure. Women who already experience this problem should not use Latisse. The drug can also cause unusual dark spots on the lid, which may or may not be reversible. Finally, it can also increase the brown pigmentation of the eye, which is usually not reversible.

There are some over-the-counter products that claim lash growth but with varying degrees of success. Once such product is Idol Lash. It claims that it can also work on eyebrows, 'guaranteeing' longer lashes or thicker brows in just a few weeks. The cost is steep at $150.

Some people swear by certain types of home remedies. One includes applying petroleum jelly to the lashes overnight. However, anyone trying this may want to first make sure they don't have an allergy to petroleum. An alternative option is to use olive oil instead, applying it to the lashes with a cotton swab. Both are washed off in the morning.

Fake lashes, either in complete or individual lashes, are a viable option for women who can master applying them with ease. The option is relatively inexpensive and there are dozens of products to choose from at as low as $1.99.

Mascara is the most common solution and there are hundreds of products to choose from. Some of them even contain fibers that adhere to the lashes to give them a longer, thicker appearance. The problem with those are they can pull away and get into the eye, causing other problems. They are also more expensive, often two or three times the cost of regular mascara. However, Maybelline's Falsie Mascara is very reasonable at only $9.99.

There is mascara on the market for almost any lash need, lengthening and thickening or both as well as adding color and depth or accenting eye color. They range anywhere from $1.99 up to $50-plus. A favorite among many women is L'Oreal's Voluminous Mascara. It's a steal at around $8.

The simple act of curling eyelashes will also make them appear longer. Anyone can do that right at home for well under $5 for an eyelash curler.

Finally, applying eyeliner very close to the lash line will also give off the appearance of longer, lusher lashes.

So with these multiple options, don't despair if you're losing lashes, there's likely a road back to the eyelashes you want!

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