It’s the day after getting your eyelash extensions done and you notice that your eyes are starting to itch. You’re not sure what’s going on, but you’re pretty sure it’s not allergies because you’ve never had them before.
You try to ignore the itchiness, but it’s getting worse and worse. Eventually, you can’t take it anymore and you start rubbing your eyes. Now your eyes are red and swollen and you’re pretty sure you’ve just ruined your lashes. You may be wondering, why do my eyelash extensions itch?
Eyelash extensions can cause itchy eyes due to exposure to formaldehyde fumes, allergies, poor application techniques, and inadequate aftercare. To find relief, cleanse your eyelashes and contact your lash artist to identify the cause.
As a lash tech, I’ve lashed thousands of clients in my salon and I’ve seen the good and the bad when it comes to people’s skin and lashes.
In this article, I’ll share 4 reasons why lash extensions cause itching, ways to nail down the cause, and how to prevent itching the next time you get eyelash extensions.
Listen while you read: in this video, I cover the most common explanations for itchy eyes and how to relieve itchy eyes from lash extensions.
Why Do Eyelash Extensions Itch? 4 Most Common Causes
Eyelash extensions shouldn’t cause itches for anyone. So, getting an itchy or tingling feeling around your lash extensions isn’t usual.
Did you know that natural lashes can get itchy without eyelash extensions? Makeup, shampoos, medications, contact lens solution, stye, and dry eyes are all possible causes for itchy eyelashes.1
Having said that, here are some reasons your lash extensions might cause itchiness.
- Exposure to formaldehyde fumes
- Poor application technique
- Inadequate aftercare
#1 Exposure to Formaldehyde Fumes
When getting eyelash extensions, it is important to be aware of the potential for exposure to formaldehyde fumes.
Formaldehyde is a by-product of the curing process of the lash adhesive. Although the amount of formaldehyde released during the curing process is very low, it can still cause irritation, watering eyes, and bloodshot red eyes.
So how can you minimize the risk of exposure to formaldehyde fumes?
- When getting your lash extensions done, make sure the area is well ventilated. This will help to reduce the concentration of formaldehyde fumes in the air and will make the experience more comfortable for you.
- You can also ask your lash artist to use a low-fume adhesive. These adhesives have less formaldehyde and are less likely to cause irritation.
- At the end of your appointment, make sure your lash tech cleanses your eyelashes or uses a nano mister in order to force cure the adhesive and remove any formaldehyde residue from your lashes and skin.
- During the appointment, make sure your eyes are shut at all times. For instance, an unsealed gel pad might expose your water line.
Allergies are another possible cause of itchy eyelash extensions. The most common allergies are to ingredients contained in the lash adhesive. The most likely culprits are carbon black (a common pigment in lash adhesives) and formaldehyde.
If you’re allergic to one of these ingredients, you might experience symptoms such as redness, swelling, irritation, and itching.
Contrary to a chemical burn, an allergic reaction doesn’t improve with time. If you’re experiencing symptoms for more than 24 hours without any relief, it’s time to consult a doctor.
If you think you might be allergic to lash adhesive, the best course of action is to remove the lash extensions immediately in order to avoid further irritation. Once the extensions are removed, wash your eyelids with a hypoallergenic cleanser and apply a cool compress to the area.
#3 Poor Application Technique
A less than ideal application technique can cause various types of itchiness. For instance, the lash tech should insure that the extensions are glued directly onto your natural eyelashes.
Extensions should never be glued to the skin of the eyelid!
If the extensions are glued to the skin and the natural lash, it will prevent the natural lash from growing and shedding as it would normally do. As a result, it can cause an inflammatory response which can lead to itching.
Another common mistake I see is multiple lashes can get glued to one another, causing stickies. The bad news is they can itch and pain when the natural lashes finally grow longer after a week.
#4 Inadequate Aftercare
Not following the proper aftercare instructions can lead to itchy and irritated lash extensions. Here are some things you should avoid doing:
- Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes
- Avoid using oily makeup removers or products around the eye area
- Avoid using waterproof mascara
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach or face down
- Be gentle when cleansing your lash line
Lack of care can wreak havoc with lash mites, infections, and early falling-out of lashes. Hence, you should take care of false lashes as meticulously as the lash tech took time applying them.
Learn how to take care of your eyelash extensions with 7 easy habits in this post I wrote recently.
How Long Do Eyelash Extensions Usually Itch?
How long the itchiness lasts depends on the cause. For instance, if you have an allergic reaction, the itchiness will last until you remove the lash extensions and treat the allergic reaction.
If the itchiness is caused by poor application technique, it might last for a few days or weeks until your natural lashes grow out and shed the problematic lash extensions.
In rare cases, the itchiness can be a sign of a more serious problem such as blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) or an infection. If the itchiness is accompanied by other symptoms such as discharge, redness, or swelling, you should consult a doctor immediately.
How Do I Stop My Lash Extensions From Itching?
Now you know why your false lashes itch, there are several ways to find relief.2
Let’s tackle one by one and find what fits you the best.
- Clean your eyelash extensions daily
- Express your concerns to the lash artist
- Take oral antihistamines
- Use a cold compress
- Consult a doctor
#1 Clean Your Eyelash Extensions Daily
Cleaning your lash extensions daily is a must to prevent itchiness and irritation. When you cleanse your lash line, it removes dirt, sebum, makeup, and other allergens that might have accumulated throughout the day.
#2 Express Your Concerns To The Lash Artist
Let me start by saying that itchiness from lash extensions is not normal! Therefore, don’t be shy to voice your concerns to your lash artist. A good lash tech will want to know about any discomfort you’re experiencing so they can make the necessary adjustments.
If the cause of your itchiness is an improper application, the lash tech should be able to fix it for you (or refer you to someone else!).
#3 Take Oral Antihistamines
If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to your lash adhesive, oral antihistamines can help provide relief from the itchiness and irritation.
However, it’s recommended to consult an ophthalmologist or allergist before taking any medication.
#4 Use a Cold Compress
Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce swelling and itchiness. Cold temperatures are known to numb the skin and provide relief from pain and irritations.
To make a cold compress, simply soak a clean washcloth in cold water and apply it to the area for 5-10 minutes.
#5 Remove The Lash Extensions
It only makes sense. If your itchiness has been going on for a few days, your lash tech should recommend removing the extensions so that the trigger is also removed.
If you’re ready to fix the situation on your own, you can try to remove lash extensions at home with coconut oil, castor oil, olive oil, or baby oil.
Eyelash extensions can be a great way to enhance your appearance. However, they can also cause itchiness and irritation if they’re not applied properly or if you don’t follow the proper aftercare instructions.
Keep in mind that itchiness is not expected. You shouldn’t have to tolerate any discomfort when wearing lash extensions. If you’re experiencing itchiness, talk to your lash artist immediately.
An experienced stylist will be able to determine the cause of the issue and make take the necessary steps to help you find relief.
Don’t hesitate to write to me in the comments below if you’ve any concerns.
- Corey Whelan (2018). Itchy Eyelashes: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/itchy-eyelashes (Accessed on June 29, 2022)
- American Academy of Dermatology Association (2022). How To Relieve Itchy Skin. Retrieved from https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/itchy-skin/itch-relief/relieve-itchy-skin (Accessed on June 29, 2022)
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