Well Being

Eyelash Extensions: Don’t Do It

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Eyelash extensions—don’t do it! Yes, you may wind up doe-eyed and Deschanel-esque, but you may also wind up “turning into Quasimoto,” as Cosmo put it. While lash extensions—synthetic fibers glued one by one to natural eyelashes—haven’t yet been known to cause hunchbacks, they can lead to allergic reactions, eye discharge, eye swelling and eyelash alopecia. Alas!

I’ll admit: I’m frequently tempted by the eyelash extension deals that regularly find their way into my inbox (why, Living Social, why?). This “don’t do it” directive is a note to self as much as a note to y’all. Because according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, lash extensions and their (often formaldehyde-based) glue can cause cornea infections, swelling of the cornea or eyelids and even “permanent or temporary loss” of all eyelashes.

And at the same time as they bolster the look and length of your lashes, they’re secretly subverting your lovely lash efforts by causing eyelash hair loss, according to Consumer Reports. In a report earlier this month, the watchdog group explained:

Women are also learning that eyelash extensions can cause hair loss resulting in eyelashes so thin that women feel they have no choice but to continue the cycle. Indeed, the College of Optometrists in England has warned that “repeated use of eyelash extensions can cause traction alopecia, a condition where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft. As a result, this can damage the hair follicle, which can slow down and even cease production of hair.”

“Eyelash vanity” is reaching epic proportions, Consumer Reports warns. Beware “eyelash bling” also, as well as termporary fake eyelashes.

Pulling (temporary) false eyelashes off can also remove natural lashes if those hairs get in the way, the traction alopecia similar to that caused by extensions. False lashes can also trap dirt and bacteria, creating irritation and infection, and a reaction to the glue can cause allergic swelling of the eyelids.