Thick lashes by prescription

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: May 15th, 2009
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Cosmetic companies claim their mascara will dramatically lengthen, darken and thicken eyelashes. Now a drug company is offering the same results from a medication.

The product is called Latisse and it has the same active ingredient as Lumigan [LUME-again], which is typically used to treat glaucoma. In December, experts from the U-S Food and Drug Administration unanimously ruled the eyelash-enhancing drug’s benefits outweighed its risks.

Doctors were using Lumigan to treat eye conditions associated with glaucoma when researchers noticed it seemed to stimulate eyelash growth. Lumigan is an eyedrop, while Latisse gets dabbed along the lash line on the upper eyelids.

The manufacturer, Allergan, the same company that developed Botox anti-wrinkle injections, says its product should create longer, fuller and darker eyelashes in as little as eight weeks.

The compound is the latest in a growing trend to develop “beauty drugs.” For example, researchers for the L’Oreal cosmetic company in France are working on a drug that could change the user’s hair from curly to straight, or vice versa.

The new eyelash-lengthener won’t be available over-the-counter.

And before you rush out for a prescription, there are some potential side effects. Latisse may cause darkening of the eyelid skin. It may also permanently increase brown pigmentation in the colored part of the eye.

In clinical trials, users reported some eye redness, itchy eyes and skin hyperpigmentation.

As always, a doctor’s advice is vital before proceeding with treatment. But it appears seekers of lush lashes have a new option to consider.