For Longer Lashes, Choose Latisse

Many women, and truth be told, many men long for cosmetic enhancement afforded by longer lashes. Latisse is the first FDA-approved treatment for hypotrichosis, a medical term for any condition characterized by too few eyelashes.

Hypotrichosis can result from a number of otherwise unrelated health problems. It may be a symptom of palmoplantar keratoderma (PPK), a condition primarily characterized by unusual thickening of the skin on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet.

It may result from an unusual dilation of the capillaries serving the eyelids, or it may be the result of chronic stress or chronic pain. The eyelashes may be attacked by mites or bacterial infection. However, most common condition addressed by Latisse is blepharitis.


Blepharitis is a condition of excessive sebum on the inner surfaces of the eyelids. Some sebum is essential so that eyelids can move over the eyes without friction, but excessive oil creates an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria.

The bacteria release hydrogen peroxide as they digest the oils, and the combination of hydrogen peroxide waste products and bacterial debris can clog hair follicles. The result is eyelashes are not replaced as they fall out. Blepharitis is not just a problem for longer lashes, it is a problem for keeping any lashes at all.

Latisse is a solution of the drug bimatoprost. This medication was originally marketed as Lumigan, a prescription medication for glaucoma, a disease that often leads to blindness when left untreated. When used for glaucoma, this medication lowers eye pressure by increasing fluid drainage.

The increased drainage of fluid has the side effect of purging hair follicles so that they can continue to grow new hairs, and the result is darker, thicker, longer eyelashes.The use of the medication is quickly making fake eyelashes obsolete. Fake lashes, as many users know, tend to end up on the cheeks.

This new application of an old drug makes blond eyelashes darker and thickens existing lashes even as it encourages new growth.

A label warning for both medications is possible change in the coloration of the eyelid and darkening of the iris, the structure that gives the eyes their distinctive color. Once darkening of the iris occurs, it is permanent.

Dermatologists are reporting very few incidents of this complication, however, because when the drug is used to encourage the health of the eyelashes, it is applied to the upper eyelid, not to the eye itself.

Another consideration for using this wonder drug for healthy eyelashes is that continued application is necessary. It must be used every day for 16 weeks to grow healthy lashes, and then for longer lashes that last, it must be used once or twice a week thereafter. If it is completely discontinued, the lashes will fall out and not be replaced.

A caveat for the use of this drug is that it must be applied carefully. If allowed to drip on the bridge of the nose at every treatment, it will also cause a joining of the eyebrows.

This complication is most likely when people try to save money by buying generic bimatoprost and using it from the dropper rather than with the application pad.

If the solution is applied to the upper eyelid with a Q-tip, it must be disposed of so it will not be found by children. Also, the medication is not effective when the loss of eyelashes is due to an autoimmune disease such as alopecia areata.

The upside of Latisse is that it can be used by anyone, including cancer patients who have had chemotherapy and lost their lashes.

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