You’ve always wanted long, natural fluttery lashes – and lash serums seem like the perfect way to achieve them! They’re easy to use, they’re not too expensive, and you can use them yourself at home – what’s not to love?
But you might have heard that lash serums can actually be bad for your lashes and even dangerous for your eyes. So, what’s the truth?
The truth is, lash serums can damage your lashes and your eyes. Lash serums often use Compounds known as prostaglandin analogs to lengthen and darken your lashes. While prostaglandin analogs can enhance your lashes, they can also cause hyperpigmentation, as well as irritation, and even fat loss.
When it comes to using lash serums, it’s important to be aware of the potential side effects. So, are lash serums really that bad?
Let’s take a look.
Why Lash Serums Are Bad For your Eyes
While lash serums might appear to offer an easy route to long, fluttery lashes, they don’t come without risks. Here are 3 ways eyelash serums can damage your eyes:
If your lash serum uses chemicals known as prostaglandin analogs, you might notice some skin darkening around the eye area. This is known as hyperpigmentation and can occur if the lash serum formula touches certain parts of the eyelid.
But wait – what are prostaglandin analogs?
Good question! Prostaglandin analogs are chemicals that prolong the anagen phase in the lashes. The anagen phase is the growth period during a lash’s lifecycle, where the lashes grow and are more receptive to growth serums.
Fun fact: Prostaglandin analogs were typically used to treat glaucoma, and it was simply by coincidence that medical professionals discovered one surprising side-effect of the chemicals: long and luscious lashes!
#2 Orbital Fat Loss
Another side effect you might notice when using lash serums is fat loss around the eyes. This is probably one of the most serious side effects of an eyelash growth serum, as it isn’t reversible.
So, how can a lash serum cause fat loss?
Put simply, fat loss around the eyes (known as orbital fat loss) can occur when the prostaglandin analogs come into contact with the delicate eye area. These compounds can cause a shrinking of fat around the eyes, leading to an overall more sunken appearance.
Finally, one of the most common side effects of a growth serum is irritation. Redness, itchiness, watery eyes, and bloodshot eyes can be pretty commonplace.
In fact, one study showed that amongst those who discontinued using their over-the-counter lash serum, 40% cited “side effects” as their reason for stopping.1
Irritation can include anything from redness to sensitive eyes, but some users can even experience blurred vision. This occurs when certain prostaglandin analogs come into contact with the eyes and reduce intraocular pressure, which can cause vision problems.
I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you, but if you ever experience any of the above side effects when using lash serum, you should discontinue use right away.
What You Can Use As An Alternative To Lash Serum
So, if these side effects don’t sound particularly fun, what can you do to achieve longer, thicker and healthier lashes?
Long lashes don’t have to come with a long list of unpleasant side effects. Here are a few of my recommended natural alternatives to lash serum:
Coconut oil seems to be good for everything! It’s a natural moisturizer, shaving cream and yes, you can even apply coconut oil to your lashes. Studies have proven that coconut oil helps prevent hair damage,2 which means it can help nourish your eyelashes, too.
Apply some coconut oil to your lashes a few times a week to help keep them healthy and prevent breakage. While coconut oil won’t necessarily make your lashes grow, they’ll be more hydrated and nourished, and will appear thicker as a result.
Castor oil is another natural remedy that many claim can help the lashes appear longer and thicker. While there are currently no official studies that support this claim, castor oil is made up of ricinoleic acid, a compound that has been proven in studies to help prevent hair loss.3
More importantly, castor oil is safe to apply to the lashes, so there’s no harm in trying it out to see if you notice any difference in length or thickness. Just make sure to buy 100% pure castor oil, without any additional ingredients added to the formula.
Will lash serum change my eye color?
Certain prostaglandin analogs can make brown and hazel eyes appear more pigmented in color. However, there’s no evidence to suggest that lash serum can turn blue or green eyes darker.
Will lash serum make my eyelashes fall out?
Lash serums won’t make your eyelashes fall out. Your eyelashes fall out and grow every 60-90 days, so it’s impossible for a lash serum to cause your eyelashes to fall out all at once.
What lash serums contain prostaglandin analogs?
Aside from Latisse (which contains bimatoprost and requires a prescription) the following over-the-counter lash serums contain some variations of prostaglandin analogs: Xlash Eyelash Enhancer, Fields Lash Boost, RevitaLash, NeuveauBrow, Nutraluxe MD Lash, Neulash, Peter Thomas Roth Lashes, GRANDELash, Rodan, and M2 Lashes Eyelash Serum. Feel free to comment below if I’ve missed one. You can find why more information about these brands’ ingredients here.
The Bottom Line
While lash serums can offer certain benefits when it comes to lash growth and thickness, there’s still a chance that you’ll end up with irritated eyes, blurred vision, or hyperpigmentation – especially if you’re using a lash serum that contains prostaglandin analogs.
If you experience any of these side effects, discontinue use immediately.
Fortunately, there are a few natural alternatives that can help you achieve your lash goals, without any of the bad sides. Coconut oil and castor oil are two such alternatives that can help keep your lashes healthy and prevent breakage, while also potentially promoting growth.
Stay beautiful 🙂
- Luis A. Garza,1, Yaping Liu. (2012) Prostaglandin D2 Inhibits Hair Growth and Is Elevated in Bald Scalp of Men with Androgenetic Alopecia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3319975/ (Accessed on July 6th, 2022)
- Aarti S. Rele, R.B. Mohile. (2003) Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12715094/ (Accessed on July 6th, 2022).
- Talitha Bennett. (2020) Side effects key reason for discontinuation of eyelash growth serum. Retrieved from https://www.healio.com/news/optometry/20200721/side-effects-key-reason-for-discontinuation-of-eyelash-growth-serum (Accessed on July 6th, 2022).