I remember the excitement when the first lash enhancers appeared on the market in about 2008. Latissse was probably the most successful brand and I soon got hold of some. You need a prescription for it, which I easily acquired but at no time was I warned of any possible side effects.
Lashes can get a lot thinner as we age
After always having great eye lashes, mine were suddenly looking a bit sparse. I started using my Latisse wand and very soon saw results. My eyelashes started growing longer and longer but not really thicker. It was a bit odd and a little disappointing because it was more the fullness I was after than the length. I soon noticed quite a few people walking around with weirdly long but rather sparse lashes. I stopped using it after a few months and thank goodness I did because I later found out that there are some very concerning risks.
Lash enhancers can have some very serious side effects
It turns out that they contain prostaglandin hormone mimicking compounds that can cause deeply concerning changes to the eye and surrounding area. What is particularly disturbing is that soon there were many over the counter versions of these lash enhancers that, because they were beauty products, were not required to go through clinical trials for safety and efficacy or to list possible side effects.
These side effects include:
- change of eye colour
- dry eyes
- red rims
- skin discolouration
- eye pressure changes
That’s right, they can change the actual colour of your eyes
Gill (from Victoria Health) and Sarah Stacey (author, former health editor of the Daily Mail and beauty writer) have been campaigning for safety of lash and brow serums for a decade. And we have a lot to thank them for.
Two years ago a natural alternative was launched on Victoria Health:
Here’s what Sarah Stacey has written about Natucain:
Natucain Lash Serum and Brow Serum, have been supported by clinical cosmetic trials to prove their effectiveness. Lash Serum was shown to extend both the length of eyelashes and the thickness (ie the number of lashes) over 12 weeks. NB This is dependent on diligent twice-daily application to the upper lash line – you don’t need to do bottom lashes as the product migrates every time you blink or close your eyes.
And readers, I can tell you hand on heart they work! My once-lush lashes had been growing more and more sparse but after seven weeks of dedicated, twice daily application to the upper lash line, I have noticeably longer thicker lashes – not the Jersey cow ones of decades back but very satisfactory indeed. My thin, overplucked brows look a bit thicker too. But expect brows to take longer.
Please note that if you use silicone based skin products, it will inhibit the serum working.
So how do the products work? The Natucain patented growth enhancer, called MKMS24, is based on a complex of bamboo, lentils and thyme using plant stem cell technology. This is very different from human stem cell technology and does not carry the potential risks. The original concept came from agrichemical research but is not, Dr Seyda emphasises, based on genetic engineering.
Essentially, MKMS24 rebalances the phases of hair fall and regrowth whether the hair is on the scalp, brow or around the eyes. It shortens the telogen phase where hair is resting and then shedding, and prolongs the anagen phase where hair is growing. ‘It’s the balance that’s so important,’ explains Dr Seyda. So: less resting and shedding, more growing. You should see results within six to eight weeks on lashes (as I did), a bit longer with brows.
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