Lash line: Are eyelash extensions safe?

May 31, 2018 Providence Health Team

Eyelash extensions are a popular way to get temporarily thicker lashes

You’ll want to find a licensed aesthetician who is certified in lash extensions

Keep an eye out for any signs of allergic reactions and treat your lashes carefully

It used to be that if you wanted to have the luscious eyelashes of a Kardashian, all you could do was swipe on the most thickening, volumizing, lengthening mascara you could find and hope for the best. But eyelash extensions have recently become one of the hottest beauty treatments around. You may be considering extensions to create a fluttering fringe of lashes, but is it safe? That mainly depends on the work you put into researching more about this beauty treatment.

What are eyelash extensions?

There are three kinds of extensions: silk, mink or a mink-like synthetic. They range in length and color in order to customize them and create a specific look for each person. Each extension is attached to one of your real lashes with a semi-permanent glue specially formulated for the eyelash area. Once the lashes are attached—during a process that can take around two to three hours—you must follow specific instructions to keep the extensions in good condition.  Lash extensions are in their prime for about four weeks after application, eventually shedding when your real lashes fall out during their normal growth cycle.

What are the potential risks of lash extensions?

If you are getting lash extensions, the first thing you should do is find a qualified, licensed aesthetician who is certified in the procedure. Finding a knowledgeable, experienced technician can help ensure that the extension application process is as safe as possible.

You may also want to find out what ingredients are in the lash glue, in order to prevent any allergic reactions. If formaldehyde is in the glue, you will definitely want to avoid it. Again, a certified technician can give you informative answers to these questions and know what to look for in case there is an allergic reaction. While your eyes will be closed while the lash extensions are put on, you may still have an allergic reaction or a sensitivity to the glue — if you feel uncomfortable because your eyes are burning or tearing up, that can be a sign of an adverse reaction to the glue. If you have any eye problems stemming from the lash extensions, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor, in case you need any medicated drops.

Because the extensions can be fragile, you won’t be cleaning off eye makeup by scrubbing with an oil-based remover. You’ll want to check with your aesthetician on the best products and methods you should use to clean your eyes, because you don’t want to avoid the area altogether — if there is a buildup of dirt or other debris you could be at risk for an eye infection.

Finally, you will want to treat your extensions with care, so you don’t damage your natural lashes. You will want to make sure that your aesthetician doesn’t put multiple extensions on one lash — it may make the eyelashes look thicker, but they’re more likely to fall out and could damage your real lashes. Rubbing and pulling on the lashes can also make it more likely that you’ll end up with lash loss — both your real lashes and your extensions.

If you have any questions about skin cancer prevention or want a skin check, find a physician near you. Read more of our articles on skin care.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.

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