We Asked a Dermatologist About the Secrets to Growing Longer, Fuller Eyelashes
There's a lot of bad information out there when it comes to growing gorgeous eyelashes naturally.
Whether you're experiencing eyelash hypotrichosis and have less-than-average eyelash length and thickness, or simply want fuller lashes, you don't want to get caught up in a routine that won't help. That's why we synced up with Hers dermatologist Sandy Skotnicki to debunk the most prevalent eyelash health myths and tell us what really works.
Sweety High: Are there foods or supplements we can eat in order to naturally grow stronger, fuller lashes?
Sandy Skotnicki: Eyelashes are continuously lost and replaced. The growth phase is typically around three months, and then the hair follicle sheds the hair and a new one grows. A diet with supplements that help with hair growth would be beneficial, but the science is scant.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation on the internet about biotin in diet (for example, eggs are high in biotin) as well as biotin supplements for hair growth, but there is little scientific evidence that biotin actually improves hair growth in normal individuals.
There's some evidence that selenium may help hair growth. A study showed newly forming hairs take up selenium after receiving trace elements in the blood. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium, but too much selenium can also make hair brittle.
Vitamin D can also be helpful in patients who have hair shedding on the scalp, but the research is unclear for eyelashes. Foods high in vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, cheese and mushrooms. At the present time, there is insufficient research to suggest zinc, riboflavin, folic acid or vitamin B12-rich foods help with hair growth.
SH: How can makeup affect the health of our lashes?
SS: Mascara can damage the eyelashes if it's not removed nightly and it builds up. This can lead to loss of eyelashes. Using eyelash curlers that are not cleaned can also lead to loss, as the eyelashes can stick. I also counsel to avoid extensions, as the glue can lead to loss of natural eyelashes, and at times allergic reactions. Wearing waterproof mascara routinely, which is harder to remove, can also lead to trauma and loss of eyelashes. Some oils, such as castor oil, can moisturize the eyelashes, but there's no evidence they lead to increased growth.
SH: How important is it to use an eyelash comb regularly?
SS: I wouldn't say they're vital to eyelash health, but they can impart a bit of a curl and help separate lashes for easier application of mascara.
SH: The internet is full of home remedies pertaining to eyelash health. Which ones might actually be helpful, and which ones should be avoided?
SS: Moisturizing your eyelashes, just like your hair, will keep dry or brittle lashes healthy. Avoid products with a multitude of ingredients that could irritate your delicate eye area. Castor oil is a good option for moisturizer. It is really the only herbal treatment shown in limited research to potentially improve hair loss, and women use it for regrowing eyelashes and eyebrows.
On the other hand, there's no scientific data to support the use of vaseline for prevention of eyelash loss or to help the eyelashes grow longer. Applying vaseline around the eyes can even cause inflammation and irritation for some people.
SH: What other treatments can be beneficial for maintaining the most luscious lashes?
SS: Latisse, also known as bimatoprost, can thicken and lengthen fine hairs—eyelashes, and in some cases eyebrows—when used regularly. This is because the hair follicle stays in a growth cycle for a longer period of time before it is shed.
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