By Debbie Miller (Owner Newport Permanent Make Up)
Let's talk about:
EYELASH GROWTH SERUMS
This is a comment from a patient on RealSelf Cosmetic Surgery Website talking about using Latisse prescription Eyelash Growth Serum :
"Legally blind because this was used in my eyelashes for 3 years. I have corneal dystrophy in both eyes and legally blind. Do not buy this product. Many doctors will not even sell it. This drug was first used treating glaucoma but druggists suddenly realized it made eyelashes longer. I am now a victim with damaged eyes."
Now this is obviously a very extreme case where a patient suffered from the worst possible side effects. Most commonly the side effects of Latisse are darkening or redness of the eyelid along the lash margin, irritation and itching and visible red capillaries in the upper eyelid. Not horrible, but not optimal. The reason I am discussing Latisse use is in relation to permanent eyeliner. When a permanent eyeliner procedure is performed, a cluster of tiny needles is used to implant pigment directly into the lash line, and then thicken up from there depending upon client preference. If the client has been using Latisse within 60 days of the eyeliner procedure, severe bleeding can occur- which is traumatic to the skin ( trauma can cause scar tissue) and will usually prevent the pigment from implanting properly into the eyelid skin, making the procedure a waste of time and money. If the client has been using Latisse for a long time, or within 2-4 weeks prior to the procedure, it is possible to see the lid skin literally split or separate upon contact with the permanent makeup needles.
So what is Latisse exactly? The drug Bimatoprost was used for many years as an eye-drop medication to treat glaucoma. The side effect of this medication was extreme eyelash growth - ophthalmologists would often have to trim the lashes of patients being treated with this drug. Finally at some point, it was determined that a lot of money could be made by using it as a lash growth treatment, and was patented as a topical application for lash growth by the pharmaceutical giant Allergan. Then the marketing came along to promote this drug to cosmetic and plastic surgeons, dermatologists and any other medical specialty that might have the patients that would buy it.
There are some other side effects that have gotten negative press - such as the drug having the possibility of darkening the iris (the colored part) of the eye- this has actually never been documented with the topical application , only the in-eye drop medication. It does, however, cause darkening and redness in the eyelid and can cause extreme inflammation of the skin with lots of capillaries close to the surface. Since the eyelids are the thinnest skin on the entire body, this can be a problem, especially in fair skinned patients.
After years of being in the dark, finally an ophthalmic surgeon spoke at a Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals convention, and explained all of this information and gave new insight to the permanent makeup industry. We now know and understand the mechanics of the process, which is to keep the lashes in their natural growth cycle longer than they normally would before naturally shedding so a new lash can take it's place. This phase of the lash cycle where the lashes are actively growing is called the Anagen cycle. Normally only about 40% of the upper lashes are in this phase at the same time. Latisse keeps the lash in this cycle longer and more lashes are in the cycle at the same time, creating longer and thicker eyelashes. It really is something that most of us aspire to have - thicker, longer and more gorgeous eyelashes. But are the side effects worth it? One thing for sure - you MUST stop using Latisse or ANY OTHER eyelash growth serum for a minimum of 30 days prior to a permanent eyeliner procedure. If you are having new eyeliner and may need a touch up after the 1st month, you need to wait to resume use of lash growth products until after the touch up is completely healed.
As an alternative to Latisse, I have personally used and recommended Revitalash for years. I have such long and thick lashes that people ask me almost daily if they are my own lashes. The beauty of the Revitalash is that it is not a strong prostaglandin as in the prescription Latisse, but works equally as well without the side effects. It is also a product developed by a physician for his own wife who had suffered eyelash loss during 2 separate bouts of breast cancer and chemotherapy.
I love to support the commerce and creativeness of the entrepreneur, instead of the pharmaceutical giants. In about 2008 Allergan sued Revitalash to stop the production of the competitive product. They both used the same active ingredient. but Allergan owned the active ingredient and went through FDA testing to get it approved as a prescription, thus throwing the competition out of the ring. Revitalash was forced to change its formula. However, nothing was ever done about the Revitabrow product, since Allergan did not spend millions marketing an eyebrow growth product. Today, we use and recommend the Revitabrow formula to be used on the lashes as well as the brow. It works fabulously on any active hair follicle that still has the ability to produce hairs. The ONLY difference is the applicator. The old lash product was a tiny brush, the brow product has a tiny sponge tip - which I personally find better at not wasting product. With any new lash growth product, you need to use is every night on clean skin for at least 30 days, and when your lashes reach your desired level of fullness, you can maintain by applying 2-3 times per week.
We still recommend our clients discontinue the product for 30 days prior to eyeliner procedures just to be safe, as any effective lash growth product will cause some increased capillary action (bleeding & discomfort).