/ʌɪ laʃes/ the short curved hairs growing on the edges of the eyelids, serving to protect the eyes from dust.

Eyelashes are the hairs that grow at the edge of the eyelids. Eyelashes serve to protect the eyes from debris and sweat, and also serve to provide a warning that an object is near the eye, which your eye then closes on reflex. Long eyelashes are considered a sign of beauty in many cultures. Accordingly, some women seek to enhance their eyelash length artificially, using stick on semi-permanent or temporary eyelashes extensions and masaca. Medical advancements have made a product available through doctor’s prescription to grow thick, full, natural and long eyelashes.

Eyelash Growth Cycle

  • Introduction

    The natural eyelash growth cycle is the length of time before an eyelash falls out naturally. Hair follows a specific growth cycle with three distinct and concurrent phases: anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Each phase has specific characteristics that determine the length of the hair. All three phases occur simultaneously; one strand of hair may be in the anagen phase, while another is in the telogen phase. Once the cycle is complete, it restarts and a new strand of hair begins to form. The rate or speed of hair growth is about 1.25 centimetres or 0.5 inches per month, or about 15 centimetres or 6 inches per year.

    Eyelash growth cycle Dark Eye Circles by Dr Gerard Ee Singapore
  • Anagen phase

    The anagen phase is known as the growth phase. It begins in the papilla and can last from two to six years. The span at which the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics. The longer the hair stays in the anagen phase, the faster and longer it will grow. During this phase, the cells in the papilla divide to produce new hair fibers, and the follicle buries itself into the dermal layer of the skin to nourish the strand. About 85% of the hairs on one's head are in the anagen phase at any given time.

  • Catagen phase

    Signals sent out by the body determine when the anagen phase ends and the catagen phase begins. The catagen phase, also known as the transitional phase, allows the follicle to, in a sense, renew itself. During this time, which lasts about two weeks, the hair follicle shrinks due to disintegration and the papilla detaches and "rests," cutting the hair strand off from its nourishing blood supply. Ultimately, the follicle is 1/6 its original length, causing the hair shaft to be pushed upward. While hair is not growing during this phase, the length of the terminal fibers increases when the follicle pushes them upward.

  • Telogen phase

    During the telogen, or resting, phase the follicle remains dormant anywhere from 1–4 months. Ten to fifteen percent of the hairs on one's head are in this phase of growth at any given time. In this phase the epidermal cells lining the follicle channel continue to grow as normal and may accumulate around the base of the hair, temporarily anchoring it in place and preserving the hair for its natural purpose without taxing the body's resources needed during the growth phase.

    At some point, the follicle will begin to grow again, softening the anchor point of the shaft initially. The hair base will break free from the root and the hair will be shed. Within two weeks the new hair shaft will begin to emerge. The anagen phase begins again once the telogen phase is complete. The process results in normal hair loss known as shedding.

    The life cycle of each eye lash is about 3 to 4 weeks, and this is why you can never grow your eyelashes as long as your hair, as hair has a longer grow cycle of 3 to 5 years.

Ways to Achieve Longer Eyelashes

  • Temporary eyelash extension

    The invention and use of false eyelashes began in 1916 when director D.W. Griffith was making his film Intorelance. He wanted actress Seena Owen to have lashes “that brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life.” The first false eyelashes were made of human hair woven through fine gauze by a local wig maker and they were then attached to Owen’s eyes.

    Temporary false lashes are any lashes designed to be worn for a short period, like a day or less. They can be made with human hair, or with Synthetic materials, and are not really designed to be worn when showering, sleeping or swimming. They are typically applied with lash glue designed specifically for temporary lashes.

    Temporary eyelash extension Dark Eye Circles by Dr Gerard Ee Singapore
  • Semi-permanent eyelash extension

    Eyelash extensions are semi-permanent, synthetic lashes that are glued meticulously one by one onto the natural lash (not the skin) by using a specially formulated adhesive. The extensions will last 2-4 weeks depending on your lash cycle, how you sleep and how well you care for your extension.

    Wearing eyelash extensions cut down the amount of time you take to get ready in the morning - perfect for busy lives. They are so light to wear and so natural you will look like you were born with gorgeous lashes.

    While eyelash extension provides you with long eyelashes, it is not without its risks in such a procedure typically available in beauty salons, and the biggest risk comes in the adhesive itself.

    These adhesives typically contain formaldehyde, which has been classified as a known cancer-causing substance by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and a probable cancer-causing substance by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as research studies have suggested that people exposed to formaldehyde have an association between formaldehyde exposure and several cancers, including nasopharyngeal cancer and leukaemia.

    Some of the short term health effects of formaldehyde exposure includes watery eyes, burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat, coughing, wheezing, nausea and skin irritation.

    Even if one is not allergic to formaldehyde, eyelash extensions can cause an injection known as madarosis, and sometimes, just the irritation from the adhesive used can lead you to rub or tug on your lashes, trap dirt and bacteria, increasing the risk of infection.

    The UK’s College of Optometrists in England warned that eyelash extension procedure may even cause the permanent loss of eyelashes, as repeated use of eyelash extensions can cause traction alopecia, a condition where the hair, in this case your eyelash, to fall out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft. As a result, the hair follicle is damaged, which slows or even stop the production of hair.

    permanent eyelash extension Dark Eye Circles by Dr Gerard Ee Singapore side effects of permanent eyelash extension Dark Eye Circles by Dr Gerard Ee Singapore
  • Mascara

    Mascara is a cosmetic commonly used to enhance the eyes. It may darken, thicken, lengthen, and/or define the eyelashes. Mascara normally comes in 3 forms – liquid, cake, or cream. Modern mascara product has various formulas but most contain the same basic components of pigments, oils, waxes and preservatives. As cosmetics are loosely regulated by health authorities, consideration for the ingredients, age and usage of the mascara is advisable. Some concern for a select few individual ingredients found in mascara since they have been found to cause cancer in mice, and others are known to be highly toxic to the human body or volatile. Despite these disconcerting facts, they exist in minute quantities in mascara, and their presence has not been positively linked to negatively affect health.

    Proper use of mascara includes disposal of tube and brush after three months. Mascara should also be disposed of if found to smell different, strange, or especially pungent. It is unlikely and unusual, but mascara does have the capability to grow bacteria. Because of this and the nature of its usage, people using mascara have a slight risk of eye infection or conjunctivitis, but this is rare. It is more common to develop a stye, or commoner still, swollen eyelids. Stys and swollen eyelids are better classified as allergic reactions. The allergic reactions can be stimulated by any of the components of mascara but is usually attributed to methylparaben, aluminum powder, ceteareth-20, butylparaben, or benzyl alcohol.

    Mascara Dark Eye Circles by Dr Gerard Ee Singapore side effects of mascara usage swollen eyelids Dark Eye Circles by Dr Gerard Ee Singapore
  • Protect your eyes and eyelashes

    When you are using semi-permanent or temporary eyelashes or masacara, here are some pointers that can help you protect your eyes and eyelashes:

    1. Don’t apply glue directly to the eyelid - remember that the glue is an irritant and you should avoid getting it into your eyes at all costs. It is advisable to place the glue onto the back of your hand then dab the base of the false eyelashes into it to apply the glue.

    2. Don’t sleep in them - ensure you remove false eyelashes properly, and don’t go to sleep in them as this can result in discomfort and irritation.

    3. Don’t share false eyelashes with friends - you shouldn’t share make-up or false eyelashes with friends as this can transfer bacteria and could result in eye infections.

    4. Don’t use heated eyelash curlers with false eyelashes - false eyelashes are synthetic and are not designed to withstand high temperatures. Attempting to curl them using a heated appliance may cause them to melt onto your natural lashes.

  • Tips to Keep your Eyelashes in Good Shape

    1. Use a gentle remover and pat or dab at the lids rather than rubbing or pulling.

    2. Never tug at lashes.

    3. If you use a lash curler, make sure you're not pulling on eyelids at all.

    4. If you want to remove clumps from mascara, do it when the mascara is still wet and easy to comb through.

Latisse for Thicker, Longer & Natural Eyelashes

  • What is Latisse?

    Latisse is a doctor’s prescription only product that is clinically proven prolong certain stages of the hair growth cycle to help you achieve thicker, fuller, natural and long eyelashes. Latisse is also a version of a glaucoma drug in eye drop form called bimatoprost (brand name Lumigan, manufacturer Allergan, Inc.), in use since FDA approval in 2001.

    Latisse for Thicker, Longer & Natural Eyelashes Dark Eye Circles by Dr Gerard Ee Singapore
  • How does Latisse work?

    Latisse works in a very simple way. It extends the duration of the active growth cycle of the eyelash, during the anagen phase, that the eyelashes to grow longer and thicker.

    The 4-point Global Eyelash Assessment Scale is a standard assessment scale to grade the thickness and length of your eyelashes, so that doctors can better understand the baseline of your eyelashes thickness and length, and review the results of Latisse using the same scale upon your follow up visit with the doctor.

    Furthermore, Latisse is clinically proven in a non biased study including 278 adult patients to achieve at least a 1-grade increase in the 4-point Global Eyelash Assessment Scale from baseline to the end of the treatment period, 16 weeks, and noticeable results include thicker, darker and fuller eyelashes.

    After the 16-week treatment period, a 4-week post treatment period following during which the effects of Latisse started to return toward baseline, which means the effect on eyelash growth is expected to stop following longer term discontinuation use of Latisse.

  • How to use Latisse?

    Each Latisse kit comes with the bottle of solution (3 mL or 5 mL) and sterile applicators. Latisse should be applied once a day—at night—following these 5 steps:

    1. Make sure your face is clean, and that makeup and contacts lens are removed, before daily application.

    2. Remove a sterile applicator from its tray and, holding it horizontally, places one drop of Latisse on the area of the applicator closest to the tip, but not on the tip.

    3. Immediately draws the applicator carefully along the skin at the base of the upper eyelashes (where the eyelashes meet the skin) going from the inner part of the lash line to the outer part.

    4. Blot any excess solution beyond the eyelid with a tissue.

    5. Disposes the applicator after one use, then repeat the steps for the opposite eyelid, using a new, sterile applicator to help minimize any potential for contamination from one eyelid to another.

    Side effects of Latisse In the US pivotal clinical study for Latisse including 278 adult patients, the most common reported side effects are eye itching, eye redness, skin darkening, redness of eyelids and dry eyes, and it affects 5% of the 278 patients.

  • Is Latisse right for me?

    As Latisse is a doctor’s prescription drug only, only a qualified doctor can determine whether you are an appropriate patient. Before you are prescribed with Latisse, your doctor would have to discuss eye health with regards to any of your allergies, eye pressure problems, and current use IOP-lowering medications.

    Interested in wanting to grow your own natural looking eyelashes and that longer and thicker? Please call 65 6532 2400 to book an appointment with Dr Ee or leave a comment at the end of the article, or simply drop Dr Ee an email here.
  • Important reminders about Latisse

    Here are some Important reminders if you prescribed with Latisse by your doctor.

    1. Apply Latisse daily for 16 weeks. You should not reduce or stop application when you first notice results.

    2. If you miss a dose, there is no need to play “catch-up.” You should just apply Latisse solution the next day.

    3. Using Latisse more than once a day will not increase eyelash growth.

    4. You should not apply Latisse directly into the eye or to the lower lid.

    5. It is possible for hair growth to occur on other areas of the skin that Latisse solution frequently touches. Remember to blot excess solution with a tissue.

    6. Latisse should be applied with the supplied sterile applicators only to minimise the risks of infection.

    7. The tip of the bottle or applicator should not touch your fingers or any other unintended surface, as contamination by common bacteria is known to cause infections.

    8. If you are a contact lens wearer, you should remove contact lenses prior to application. Contact lenses may be reinserted 15 minutes after application of Latisse.

    9. If Latisse gets in the eye, you do not need to rinse their eye. It is not expected to cause harm.

    10. If you decided to stop using Latisse solution, lashes will gradually return to their previous appearance.

Do leave a comment below if you have any burning questions, or you can call 65 6532 2400 to make an appointment with Dr Ee to discuss how can achieve thicker, longer and natural looking eyelashes. Alternatively, you can click here to send an email enquiry to Dr Ee.

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