Beauty trends come and go, but the pursuit of luscious lashes is one thing that will always be on trend. Throughout time various methods have been used to achieve this look, ranging from kohl to soot to crocodile poop. The early twentieth century saw the invention of what is known today as mascara, and remains the most popular choice for enhancing lashes. For those looking to achieve fluttery lashes on a more permanent basis, eyelash extensions are an increasingly popular option. Though perhaps not as risky as putting crocodile poop next to your eye, eyelash extensions are not without the potential for complications.
Eyelash extensions are either synthetic or natural fibers glued to the base of one’s own lashes. The extensions fall out with the natural eyelashes, lasting anywhere from one to two months. Eyelash extensions are applied by a technician at a salon or spa. It should be noted that the application of lash extensions is not currently regulated in Canada, and neither are the products used in their application. Therefore it is important to do a little research to select a reputable salon; a good way to check this is to look at how long they have been in business, read reviews and ask to see the technician’s certification. You want to make sure that the salon is clean, any tools being used have been properly disinfected, and that the technician is practicing proper hand washing.
Throughout the application process the technician uses tweezers and glue to attach the extensions. There is a risk of injury from the prolonged use of sharp tools close to the eye. If you do experience an injury to your eye during the application process, it is best to stop the application and seek care from your optometrist. An infection can occur from unsanitary conditions, and will likely occur after the application process has been completed. Symptoms include redness, white or yellow discharge, pain and itching. If an infection is suspected, visit your optometrist and they will be able to treat the infection. The most common complication of eyelash extensions is allergic reaction to the glue. Symptoms will likely not arise until after the application is complete. Symptoms include itching, redness and swelling, but unlike infection there is less likely to be discharge. The best way to avoid an allergic reaction is to ask to check the glue’s ingredients for allergens; the most common allergen found in the glues’ is formaldehyde. If you do experience an allergic reaction do not try to remove the lashes yourself, as this could cause permanent damage to your natural lashes. The best thing to do is contact your optometrist for treatment, and they may also advise you to return to the salon to have the extensions safely removed.
The safest option to achieve beautiful lashes is to use non-permanent methods, such as mascara or magnetic falsies. There is a prescription growth treatment available called Latisse that provides lasting lash growth, though this option may not be suitable for everyone. For those interested in Latisse, contact your optometrist to discuss suitability. However, lash extensions will likely remain a popular option, though an option best reserved for special occasions. Spacing out lash appointments will provide natural lashes a chance to recover between applications, reducing the chance of permanent lash loss. And the money saved on lash applications can be used to buy a good mascara to use between appointments (just remember to replace it every 3 months!).