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Long, thick lashes are something most women want, and no wonder: Dark, defined lashes make you look more awake, attractive, and even younger. But for people who suffer from a condition called madarosis, the medical name for eyelash loss, this desirable look is difficult to achieve.
Eyelash loss isn't life threatening in any way, but it is very frustrating and distressing. Adding to the frustration is that there is no one cause of madarosis, and so no one solution, either. It's enough to drive someone to despair, but there are options for stopping eyelash loss and possibly even getting back the enviable lashes you used to have!
Before you decide that you have madarosis, you should know that in the same way that hair on your head regularly falls out and is replaced, all of us regularly lose and regrow eyelashes, too—usually without even noticing it.
In the case of madarosis, however, there is profuse lash loss - some people wind up having no lashes at all. You probably won't even know why it's happening. As it turns out, there are various causes behind eyelash loss, the major ones of which are:
As you might imagine, with all the various causes of eyelash loss, determining how to treat this condition can be challenging because one solution isn't right for everyone. If you start to notice your eyelashes falling out more than normal, it's time to see your physician. It's almost always an indication that something else is physically wrong and needs to be treated to keep things (other than eyelash loss) from getting worse.
A doctor can help find the underlying cause of your eyelash loss and come up with a treatment plan based on the findings. For example:
There also are some solutions for treating eyelash loss directly, as opposed to treating the underlying problem. We explain in our article Lash Growth Products That Work exactly which topically applied products, such as prescription Latisse and over-the-counter RapidLash or RevitaLash, actually work to grow lashes. These products take time to work and you must commit to applying them every day, but many people are impressed (if not overjoyed) by the results.
There are also some extreme options for remedying eyelash loss, such as eyelash grafts. In one surgical procedure, hair from the follicle is actually pulled forward and slightly out of the eyelid (making it more prominent). Other types of grafting involve removing hair from the eyebrows and inserting it into the eyelid to mimic the effect of eyelashes. There are drawbacks to these procedures: there is always risk associated with every surgery, and it's costly!
The least expensive option for dealing with eyelash loss from madarosis is to use makeup techniques that lessen the appearance of sparse lashes, or draw attention away from the condition. If you have some lashes to work with, invest in a good volumizing and lengthening mascara in the blackest shade possible to make what lashes you do have stand out. You can find our top recommendations in every price range on our list of Best Mascaras.
Eyeliner can also go a long way towards making your eyes stand out without having to have a full fringe of lashes. When lining eyes, focus your attention right at the lash line, as a darker lash line can trick the eye into believing that lashes are fuller. We love the long-wearing gel-type eyeliners (the ones sold in tiny pots) for this purpose. Pencils and liquid liners can work, too, but they're not as reliable for all-day wear.
False eyelashes are another way to go when considering ways to boost your lash volume. If applying them seems a bit daunting, go to a makeup counter that sells false lashes and ask an artist there to show you how to put them on the right way. If you have a skin condition that's causing your eyelash loss, check with your doctor to make sure that the glue used to apply the false lashes won't irritate your skin—and take extra special care when removing false lashes, as doing so roughly can prompt more lash loss.
There's also the option of highlighting a different portion of your face if your lashes are sparse. Play up your cheekbones and lips, as they can serve just as well as lashes as the focal point of a beautiful face! And, of course, having beautiful skin also goes a long way toward appearing more attractive!
Most important, though, don't ignore it if you notice your lashes falling out more than normal. Your health is the most important thing, and if what you're dealing with is chronic eyelash loss, that's your body's telling you to see your doctor and get things checked out!
International Journal of Trichology, volume 4 (1), January - March 2012; Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, August 2012, pages 333–338; International Journal of Trichology, July 2011, pages 84–91; Seminars in Ophthalmology, May 2010, pages 79–83; Survey of Ophthalmology, November-December 2006, pages 550–560; and Vestnik Oftalmologii, January-February 1997, pages 16–19.
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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:
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