Lash lovers beware: tips for safety using eyelash extensions

For those wanting lush, fluttery lashes, cosmetic eyelash extensions, individual synthetic fibers glued onto the natural lashes one by one, can give you the Bambi effect. But eye experts warn that adhesive cosmetics can cause health problems, a topic that has been hot in the media in recent days.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) warned that the synthetic eyelash extensions and the adhesives used to apply them can cause infections of the cornea and eyelid, permanent or temporary loss of eyelashes, and eyelid swelling. Plus the organization cites a recent Consumer Reports magazine article that describes patients who suffered allergic reactions to formaldehyde-based adhesives used in the extensions.

In addition, false lashes can trap bacteria and cause eye irritation, and removing them also puts women at risk for thinning or loss of their natural lashes.

The AAO offered three tips to follow for those considering eyelash extensions:

• Be sure that the aesthetician is certified and working at a reputable establishment.

• Check that the aesthetician practices adequate hand washing and proper hygiene.

• Check the eyelash adhesive ingredients before use.

Anyone who develops an infection, allergic reaction or other irritation after using eyelash extensions or other eye products should immediately visit an ophthalmologist, the AAO noted.

The Association for Damage-Free Eyelash Extension reportedly issued a statement of its own, noting that hypoallergenic eyelash adhesive or those not containing formaldehyde are completely safe for use in extensions.