A recent beauty trend is the application of eyelash extensions to gain longer and fuller eyelashes beyond what simple mascara can do. They are made from natural fibers such as mink or silk or synthetic fiber such as nylon. A technician attaches the eyelash extensions to the base of your natural lashes with an adhesive. They will fall out with your own lashes and so will usually last between 1-2 months.

The adhesives can contain minor amounts of harmful or toxic products such as formaldehyde and most are based on cyanoacrylate compounds (similar to Krazy Glue). If the adhesive contacts the eyelid skin or the surface of the eye it can cause an allergic reaction and sometimes even a chemical burn. Infections are more likely to occur from adverse reactions. Damage to your eye’s oil and water glands which can result in dry eye issues is also possible. Additionally the false eyelashes add weight to the natural lashes, and can cause temporary or permanent madarosis (loss of lashes).

There are currently no regulations in Canada regarding who can apply eyelash extensions or the adhesive products used. Consumers should take the following precautions to potentially minimize the risks associated with eyelash extensions:

  • Review the technician’s certification and prior experience.
  • Ensure the procedure is performed in a sanitary and reputable establishment.
  • Check that the technician is practicing proper hand washing and the instruments have been properly sanitized.
  • Check the ingredients in the adhesive before use.

A safer, medical option to eyelash extensions is Latisse, a prescription topical solution. Latisse is clinically proven to grow your eyelashes longer, fuller and darker in 16 weeks. Talk to your optometrist today to see if Latisse could be right for you!