Side Effects of Eyelash Extensions

Side effects such as allergic reactions, eye infections and hair loss have been linked with eyelash extensions, a beauty enhancement method in which synthetic lashes are attached one by one to natural lashes.

Woman's Face
Woman undergoing eyelash extensions (Image: Robert Koene/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Performed in beauty salons, the procedure yields longer and more natural-looking lashes. Unlike false lashes, eyelash extensions are semipermanent, and glue or a bonding agent is used to attach the synthetic lashes to the real ones.

Side Effects: Studies and Views

Tear in woman's eye
Eye tearing (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

In 2012, researchers interviewed 120 women who underwent eyelash extensions and found that almost 98 percent of these women experienced dry eyes, itchy and swollen eyelids, tearing, burning sensation in the eye and discharge of pus.

The College of Optometrists warns that the substances used in glues can irritate and even damage the eye. Traction alopecia, which is hair loss from too much tension on the hair shaft, has also occurred.

Says Dr. Orly Avitzur, medical adviser for, eyelash extensions can cause conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the conjunctiva (inner membrane that covers the eyelid).

Advice From Eye Care Professionals

Doctor examining woman's eye
Doctor examing a woman's eyes (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

For those of you who still want to have eyelash extensions, here are a couple of tips from eye care practitioners to keep your eyes healthy in your quest for beauty.

Dr. Susan Blakeney, optometric advisor at the College of Optometrists, advises patients to find a reputable place and follow all care instructions to the letter.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Lee Shettle, an ophthalmologist in Largo, Florida, recommends that patients ask what type of glue is used to reduce the risk for allergic reactions.

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