Health Risks of Wearing Fake Eyelashes [Explained]

Eliza Barlow
August 1, 2019

Wearing eyelashes has long been a fashionable tradition, and many all over the globe have coveted the look of beautiful, lush lashes. Not everyone has the length and volume we see in the movies.

Due to this reason, false lashes are a booming industry. According to an ABC News report, it’s set to make nearly 1.5 billion dollars over the next few years. We see fake eyelashes all over: On the red carpet, on commercials, and on the eyelids of some of the most gorgeous musicians, models, athletes, and starlets. Eyelashes are big business.

Despite the popularity and great advantages of fake eyelashes, there are some big risks involved in wearing them. This may come as a surprise, as eyelashes are considered a beauty accessory, but we’ll outline some important-to-know drawbacks.

Health Risks of Wearing Fake Eyelashes [Explained]

1. Fake Eyelashes Can Cause an Infection/Reaction

You may have heard the saying “No pain, no gain!” But when it comes to beauty, the experience should be relatively pain-free. Eyelashes should enhance what you have with little to no problem, but that’s not always the case. If you’re not cleaning your lashes carefully, you are at risk of getting a build-up of bacteria and microbes. These can cause a host of symptoms. And if you’re using a glue that has formaldehyde, you may end up like actress Kristin Chenoweth, who experienced such a bad reaction that her eyelids swelled. “It looks like I have lips on my eyelids,” she quipped. Everyone wants to look their best for a special evening or a night out, but not at the expense of your eyes. When dealing with fake eyelashes, you have to keep in mind that something is going near a sensitive body part, and as such certain precautions should be made.

2. You Can Damage Your Lashes

Even though we all dream of having fluttery, gorgeous lashes, it can come at a cost: Your own. Our lashes are sensitive, and at the end of a long night, the last thing many of us feel like doing is properly removing fake lashes. However, tugging and pulling at the false lashes can cause irrevocable damage to your natural lashes. Even though lashes have a growth cycle and can grow back, you can still damage your lashes over time. For example, the constant stress on your lashes could cause traction alopecia, a condition where you end up with thin or sparse lashes.

Health Risks of Wearing Fake Eyelashes [Explained]

3. The Lashes Could Be Too Heavy

If you’ve ever worn eyelashes that were too thick or too heavy, you probably remember the feeling of something weighing down your eye. While that feeling usually only lasts as long as you are wearing the lashes, there is a slight chance it could cause lasting damage. Lashes can undergo shedding, which can cause your natural lashes to thin. This can happen due to the weight of the fake lash as well as any accessories such as crystals or rhinestones.

How to Avoid Damage

These risks, while scary, are avoidable. You can sidestep these pitfalls by practicing a few key things. Eyelashes don’t have to be a big bother, and you don’t have to give up wearing them. Just like any other accessory, you must be sure to include certain practices into your routine. This will help to prevent a lot of headaches down the line.

  • Proper storage: Store your lashes in a place that’s cool and dry. You can keep dangerous bacteria and wetness from forming. This can go a long way in stopping a potential infection. This will also allow you to keep your lashes for a longer time, and you’ll get more wear out of them.
  • Proper sanitation: We all get busy and rushing is part and parcel of our lives. However, take some time to carefully wash your hands, face, and fake lashes. Observing proper sanitation habits will deter the formation of germs and bacteria. You will also ensure that your lashes will adhere properly to your lash line each time you use them. Dirt is often attracted to the oils in our skin and wearing foundation and other makeup products add to the amount of sebum we produce. If you don’t properly clean the glue, dirt, and bacteria from your fake lashes, it will eventually erode the inner part of your eyelid causing damage that could be permanent. This can become a breeding ground for bothersome bacteria and microbes. Not only does a clean face and hands bode well for your eyelash application, but it can also cut down on breakouts too!
  • Just say no to embellishments: They may be all the rage, but just say no to rhinestones or other kinds of jewelry on your eyelashes. Not only will they feel heavy, but doctors warn that having something sharp that close to your eyes is never a good idea.
  • Test for allergies: Glues are important when adhering lashes, but putting an irritant close to your eye may be asking for trouble. Instead, try out the glue on a small area of skin. Check every so often for a reaction. If there is none, then proceed. However, be aware of any early signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction. If you feel any discomfort, remove your lashes and the adhesive right away. Formaldehyde is often cited as an irritant to sensitive eyes. As a safeguard, purchase a formaldehyde-free glue.
  • Don’t share: Sharing eyelashes is never a good idea. There is an increased risk of infection. If your friend or a family member has conjunctivitis or inflammation of the eye, you could contract it too. Even if your friend or a family member has thoroughly washed the lashes, it’s always good for you to get your own.

Fake lashes can be a wonderful addition to your beauty routine. They can give you the luscious lashes you’ve always wanted. However, your eyes are an important asset. Their care and health are essential to your quality of life. You don’t have to choose one over the other. Instead, take precautions to safeguard your eyes, and you can still have the look you love.