Why are they considered beautiful? One of the many proposed reasons is that we are programmed to be attracted to features which suggest fertility i.e. health and youth. Across cultures they are considered a highly attractive feature and cosmetics to enhance them have been used for millennia (think Cleopatra!). Fortunately in the 21st century it’s possible to grow your very own fabulously long, thick dark lashes.
I’m going to reveal how but first I’m going to tell you everything I know about these fascinatingly beautiful structures.
Did you know they are the first hairs our bodies produce? That’s how important they are. They appear around 10-12 weeks – after conception -not after birth!
Not just a pretty feature, our lashes fulfil an important role in the health of our eyes, separating their internal and external microclimates, acting as sensors to detect potential threats to the delicate surface of our eyes, as a barrier to foreign bodies and by reducing tear film evaporation and preventing dry eye.
We have up to 80 lashes in the lower and 160 in the upper eyelids. They are made of the protein keratin (as is all hair) and are produced by follicles in the dermis of the skin. Each lash reaches approximately 10mm in length during a 4-11 month cycle after which it will fall out to be replaced by a new eyelash growth from underneath.
Colour varies according to race and is the result of melanin the same brown pigment responsible for skin colour.
With advancing age the length, thickness and colour of our lashes sadly diminishes. Loss of lashes, known as hypotrichosis can be caused by an autoimmune medical condition known as alopecia and is also a common side effect of chemotherapy.
Many of us have tried all manner of things to enhance the appearance of our lashes. Unfortunately there are often downsides to many of the solutions on offer, for example,
Waterproof mascara contains chemical which can damage the lash cuticles with regular use
Dye used for tinting lashes can provoke contact dermatitis and allergy.
Fake lashes permanently glued on to the natural lash root often look obviously fake (and in my case, Drag Queenish) and the adhesives and removing agents used to apply synthetic lashes can result in ocular irritation and even painful corneal surface damage.
Tattooing of the eyelid margins to mimic the appearance of a thicker lash line has been associated with inflammation and damage to the eyelid Meibomian (oil) glands which may result in dry eye.
Currently here is only one approved treatment for hypotrichosis; Bimatoprost 0.03% applied along the upper eyelid lash roots. It works by prolonging the anagen (growth) phase of the lash life cycle. The good news is that Bimatoprost 0.03% can also be used for cosmetic enhancement of normal, healthy eyelashes but is available only on prescription.
I have been prescribing Bimatoprost 0.03% for many years for my patients with ocular hypertension and glaucoma for many years and witnessing the increased number, length, thickness and darkness of the lashes these patients develop within a few weeks of starting treatment. I started using it on my own lashes several years ago and have never needed to resort to wearing fake lashes since!
You can now grow the long, thick dark lashes you have always wanted!
To find out more about any of the treatments ready for the Christmas beauty countdown or to discuss professional-level skincare, please get in touch:
Contact No: 07548 964367
You can visit my Instagram page here.