If you already use or are planning to use eyelash growth serum to boost the health and fullness of your lashes, you’re probably concerned over possible side effects big and small.
Let’s find out if eyelash growth serum can affect vision, what its other potential side effects are, what causes these side effects, and how to best avoid them.
Why Use Eyelash Growth Serum
Are you wondering why people who use eyelash growth serum risk side effects and ask themselves questions like “can eyelash growth serum affect vision?” The answer is pretty simple. Longer lashes!
Eyelash growth serum can do wonders for your lashes, from hydration to growth stimulation. These lash growth serums, when used properly, can eliminate the need for eyelash extensions, limit the use of mascara, and make your natural eye color pop by bringing attention to your eyes.
Where Did Lash Serum Come From?
Lash serum began under a totally different umbrella than cosmetic enhancement. Instead, it was developed from a product called bimatoprost (brand name Lumigan) that was used to treat glaucoma.
During treatment, patients noticed that the serum improved the overall look and health of their eyelashes, thanks to the active ingredient, prostaglandin analogue.
Latisse was the first to pioneer the further development of eyelash growth serums using that specific ingredient, and theirs remains the only prescription strength serum on the market. The Latisse serum is also the only one approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
How Does Lash Growth Serum Work?
Most over-the-counter eyelash growth serums work by keeping your eyelash hair follicles in the growth stage for longer than is natural. This keeps your eyelashes growing long past what your natural growth cycle can accomplish, so you end up with longer, fuller, more beautiful lashes naturally.
When you stop taking lash serum, your lashes will revert back to their original growth cycle. Many of the components in lash serums help hydrate and strengthen lashes, which reduces breakage.
This is one of the main things that creates a full lash line. Some ingredients will also help nourish and protect the hair follicles, which helps hair growth right from the very beginning.
What Ingredients are in Eyelash Growth Serum?
Eyelash growth serums can contain a number of ingredients. Some formulations may use only one group of ingredients, such as essential oils, but most serums will take ingredients from a variety of sources including peptides, oils, chemical compounds such as preservatives, and more.
Prostaglandin analog ingredients are one of the most effective groups of ingredients for lash serums. The one used in Latisse is isopropyl cloprostenate.
This ingredient is responsible for the deposition of melanin in the lashes, producing a darker lash. This ingredient is also the one responsible for side effects such as eyelid darkening and hyperpigmentation of the iris. Its other main effect is to increase the length of the anagen/growth phase of each lash and reduce the rest phase.
Amino acids and peptides of various forms will almost always be included in eyelash growth serums. Amino acids help strengthen the hair follicle itself, and peptides nourish and strengthen the lashes produced by those follicles. OTC (over-the-counter) brands rely heavily on these ingredients for their effects.
Hydrating agents such as ceramides and panthenol help improve the look of lashes and prevent breakage. Some acids such as hyaluronic acid can also contribute to the hydration of your lashes. This does a lot to create a fuller lash line, since you don’t have broken eyelashes all over the place creating a sparse look.
What Are the Most Common Side Effects of Eyelash Growth Serums?
There are many potential side effects of using an eyelash growth serum, either due to improper use, the effects of the serum, or unavoidable allergen sensitivity to ingredients in the serum. The FDA recommends stopping use of the serum if you experience any of these reactions. Here are some of the most common side effects to watch out for when using lash growth serum:
Hair Growing Outside the Lash Line
Since many eyelash serum formulations contain prostaglandin analogues, there is the potential for hair growth in areas aside from the lash line. While not all synthetic prostaglandin analogues will be pharmaceutical grade like the one in Latisse, they can still produce the same side effects. If you aren’t incredibly careful about where you apply the serum, it is possible that you’ll see some hair growing in strange places. It isn’t exceptionally common, but it is something to watch for.
Dryness of the eyes is one of the most commonly reported side effects of using eyelash growth serum from any of the major brands including Latisse, Grandelash, RevitaLash, and others. Most beauty products that are used for skincare around the eyes has the potential to dry out your eyes. This is pretty uncomfortable, so it is recommended that you keep eye drops on hand to help alleviate this symptom.
While allergic reactions are not incredibly common, they do happen. Every lash serum on the market will be made with a different ingredient list, and there is always the possibility that one of multiple ingredients will be an allergen for you. If you are prone to sensitivities, we recommend finding a simpler, more organic formulation to help lower the risk of an adverse reaction.
When any foreign matter touches the ocular surface, your eye becomes irritated. Since you are applying a liquid serum to your lash line at least once a day, it is not unlikely that some serum may end up in your eye. This can easily cause irritation, and this is why it is one of the more common side effects that people report when they start using a new lash serum.
Darkening of the Iris and Eyelids
Of course, darker eyelashes are one of the goals of using a lash serum. However, a serum’s ability to add pigmentation to your lashes can also affect other areas in this region.
Darkening of the eyelid skin or iris is the least common side effect when using a lash serum. These effects are almost always seen with the prescription strength serum. Hyperpigmentation of the eyelid itself is not permanent, and will fade after you discontinue use of the serum, but unfortunately, darkening of the iris will be a permanent effect.
Can Eyelash Growth Serum Affect Vision?
Some eyelash growth serums, such as Latisse, have been known to cause blurry vision. Some ingredients in lash serums have the potential to cause irritation and swelling in and around the eye.
This can affect vision, but it is important to know that these effects are only temporary. If you are concerned, you can consult your eye doctor, but the effects on your vision will fade over time as the swelling goes down and the eye goes back to normal.
Best Way to Use Eyelash Growth Serum to Avoid Side Effects
There are a few tips you can follow to help reduce your risk of experiencing side effects. First of all, you should never, ever, ever apply lash serum while wearing contact lenses.
The contact can absorb the serum, and this will cause major irritation. If you are a frequent contact wearer, don’t put them in until at least 15 minutes has passed since serum application.
Another tip to avoid side effects is to take your time with application. Moving slowly will reduce the chance of applying serum in unwanted areas. It will also allow you to notice and dripping or excess serum accumulating in one location.
Piece of advice number three is to dab this excess serum off your eye as quickly as possible, to avoid dripping.
Removing any makeup and thoroughly cleaning the area around the eye is another great way to avoid irritation and other side effects.
Make sure your application brush doesn’t touch any surface other than the serum and your lash line, as this can introduce contaminants that also produce unwanted reactions.
Lastly, you should only apply lash serum to the upper eyelid. As you blink, the serum will naturally be distributed to the lower lash line. Following this step will help lower the risk of introducing serum to the surface of the eye.
What to Do if You Have a Reaction to Eyelash Growth Serum
If you experience a side effect after your first application of eyelash growth serum, it is recommended that you try it for one more application. Sometimes, your skin needs to get used to a new substance.
However, if you continue experiencing symptoms with another application, it is more than likely that the formulation is not compatible with your skin, and you should discontinue use immediately.
If you are concerned about any symptoms, you can consult an optometry/ophthalmology professional (ophthalmologist) or a dermatologist.