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  • Writer's pictureMaria Cholakova

Lash Serum in the Eye: Risks and Irritation

Eyelash growth serums are popularly known for enhancing the length and volume of lashes. They are now a staple in modern beauty routines. But what most people don't know is these serums can pose certain risks, if they come into contact with the eyes. This article explores the potential dangers, ingredients to watch out for, and what to do if you get lash serum in the eye.


Lash Serum Risks and Benefits


Let's start by going over what are the risks of using eyelash serums.


While lash serums offer the benefit of longer, fuller lashes, they come with potential side effects. Balancing these factors and making better choices allows you to enjoy the benefits and minimize the dangers.


Are Eyelash Serums Safe?


Eyelash serums are generally safe when used as directed. Always follow the instructions on the label and on the manufacturer's website. They are still chemically formulated and are not supposed to get into the eye at all. On a larger scale, lash serum safety also lies in the ingredients and individual reactions to them.


Safe Lash Serum Ingredients


Lash serums contain ingredients promoting hair growth and strengthening existing lashes.


Key components of eyelash growth products include:


  • Peptides

  • Biotin

  • Natural Extracts

  • Oils

These ingredients are generally safe to use around the eyes and on the lashes. But they are NOT meant to get into your eye.

Peptides, Biotin, Natural Extracts and Oils


Peptides aid in lash strength and growth and biotin supports keratin production. As for natural ingredients like green tea and pumpkin seed extract, they nourish the eyelashes.


Castor oil the most popular add-on in many lash serums, as it is believed to promote hair growth, nourish and moisturize the lashes.


Oils are a bit more complicated when we talk about lash safety. That's because if oils get in the eye they can highly irritate it or create a film, temporarily blurring vision until washed out.


Here's what makes these ingredients safe is. They will cause mild irritation in contact with the eye surface, but are not likely to cause severe or long-term eye problems. Unlike other lash serum ingredients you should avoid.


Lash Serum Ingredients to Avoid


To minimize eye health dangers, be aware of potentially harmful ingredients:


  • Parabens

  • Phthalates

  • Prostaglandin analogues

  • Fragrances


Parabens


Parabens are lash serum ingredients used as preservatives. Sensitive individuals may have a reaction and experience skin and eye irritation.


As endocrine disruptors, parabens can also interfere with hormone function. So prolonged exposure may lead to broader health concerns than eye health.


Phthalates


Phthalates are lash serum ingredients to avoid because they can trigger allergies.


Like parabens, phthalates are also endocrine disruptors. Which means they can interfere with hormonal balance and pose long-term health problems with hormones and reproduction.


Prostaglandin Analogues


These compounds are often present in lash growth cosmetics.


Here are the common examples of prostaglandin analogues in lash serums:


  • Bimatoprost

  • Isopropyl Cloprostenate

  • Dechloro Dihydroxy Difluoro Ethylcloprostenolamide (DDDE)

Bimatoprost is the most well-known prostaglandin analogue in lash serums, initially used to treat glaucoma.

Side effects can be quite severe. They include darkening of eyelid skin, iris color changes, iris cysts, redness and irritation, dryness and Itching. Misuse or overuse can affect intraocular pressure, posing dangers for individuals susceptible to glaucoma.


Many lash products with prostaglandin analogues are not approved for people under 18, or require prescription.


Fragrances


Fragrances in lash cosmetics are added for scent. They are not as dangerous as the other red-flag ingredients on our list but may cause unpleasant allergic responses.


long eyelashes

What Happens if You Get Lash Serum in Your Eye?


Accidentally getting lash growth serum in the eye causes immediate discomfort and potential longer-term effects.


Short-term Side Effects of Lash Serum in the Eye


Common symptoms and side effects include:


  • Eye irritation from lash serums with stinging and burning

  • Redness and itching from getting a foreign substance in the eye

  • Increased tearing as the eye attempts to flush out the irritant

  • Temporary blurry vision may occur as the oils in the serum interacts with the tear film


While most lash serum reactions are temporary, continuous exposure ups the risk of damaging the eyes.


If you have ongoing discomfort, redness, or severe reactions, consult a medical professional.


Risks of Continuous Exposure to Eyelash Serum in Eye


Continuous exposure to lash serums, especially those containing prostaglandin analogues, can cause or aggravate several eye conditions. These complications are rare, but still, a possibility.


1. Increased Intraocular Pressure (IOP)


Prostaglandin analogues are present in glaucoma medications to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP). Sometimes their improper use in lash serums cause fluctuations in IOP. That's potentially causing damage to the optic nerve over time. This risk is most concerning for individuals with predisposition to glaucoma.


2. Ocular Surface Disease


Chronic exposure to irritants in lash serums may disrupt the tear film and lead to ocular surface disease. Symptoms are chronic dry eye, corneal inflammation with pain, redness, and blurry vision, and conjunctival inflammation.


3. Allergic Reactions


Prolonged use of lash serums with allergens (parabens, phthalates, or fragrances) may trigger contact dermatitis with redness, swelling and itching; as well as severe allergic reactions.


4. Hyperpigmentation


Long-term use of prostaglandin analogues products can cause hyperpigmentation of the eyelid skin. This condition, though cosmetic, can be distressing for users. It may even be irreversible even after discontinuing the serum.


5. Potential Vision Changes


While rare, there is a risk of eyesight deterioration due to chronic inflammation from daily exposure of the eye surface to lash serums. This can manifest as blurry vision and potential loss of peripheral vision.


Can You Go Blind from Getting Lash Growth Serum in Your Eye?


Blindness from lash serum exposure is highly unlikely. However, complications may arise from recurrent exposure or allergic reactions. Protecting your eyes and using products responsibly are key to preventing such outcomes.



What to Do if You Get Lash Serum in the Eye?


If irritation or discomfort occurs after getting lash serum in the eye:


  1. Rinse immediately

  2. Avoid rubbing

  3. Seek medical advice with persistent symptoms


Use lukewarm water to flush out the eye. Rinse well and don't wait. Rubbing can exacerbate the irritation, so even if your eye feels itchy, please don't rub it. The stinginess would calm down eventually.


In most cases, after rinsing out the eyelash product, the irritation goes away in a few minutes. Yet, persistent symptoms warrant professional evaluation.


How to Safely Apply Eyelash Serum?


The right application is on the top of the lashes, along the lash line (where the hair grows from), with a small tip brush/applicator.

Check out these extra tips for safe application of lash serum:


  • Do a patch test before using a new lash product

  • Use a clean applicator to avoid introducing bacteria into the eye

  • Apply a small amount to prevent excess product seeping into the eye

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overuse

  • If you wear contacts, remove them before using lash serum

In summary...


While eyelash growth serums promise longer, fuller lashes, people should understand their effect on eye health. By knowing safe and harmful ingredients, and practicing safe application, you can reap the benefits and protect your eyes.


Consult a doctor if you have recurring problems after getting lash serum in the eye. Beauty should never come at the cost of your well-being. Stay informed, stay safe, and enjoy your beautiful lashes responsibly.


Resources:


Checked by Atanas Bogoev, MD.

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