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Proper ‘eye-giene’

Dr Lesley Reece

Proper ‘eye-giene’

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As Barbadian women become more savvy about aesthetics procedures and the enhancement options available to them, one enhancement that is becoming more and more popular is the application of eyelash extensions.

From lash strips to individual lashes, whether you spend $25 or $250, it is important to be aware of the complications that may arise and the precautions to be taken with this enhancement procedure.

Blepharitis (Bleh-fuh-RY-tis): This is inflammation of the eyelid that involves blockage of the oil glands at the base of each lash. Symptoms include:

– Red, swollen eyelids, sometimes with crusting,

– Abnormal growth, or loss, of eyelashes,

– Burning in the affected eye,

– The sensation that something is in the eye,

– Sensitivity to light.

There are many possible causes of blepharitis, but the cause most relevant to this discussion involves improper hygiene, both during application and in maintenance which can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria along the lash line.

It is important to keep the lash line clean, as wearing eyelash extensions create a perfect environment in which bacteria can hide and multiply. Many eyelash extension wearers are hesitant about washing the eyelash area because of a misplaced fear of them falling off. It is important to wash the eye area and eyelashes daily. Washing may actually prolong the life of eyelash extensions, by preventing the build-up of oils and bacteria that may break down the adhesive prematurely and cause shedding. What’s the best wash for eyelash extensions and especially for those who may already have blepharitis or want to avoid it? Baby shampoo!

Alopecia (Ah-low-PEE-shuh): Simply put refers to hair loss. The type mainly associated with eyelash extensions is called traction alopecia, as it results from pulling that occurs when weight is applied to the hair. Applying an extension that is too heavy for the hair, or not properly separating a lash from its neighbour can result in premature shedding and loss of the natural hair.

Allergies: About one in twenty clients will develop an allergy to the eyelash adhesives used in lash extension services. In some instances, the allergy may only develop after repeated exposure over a period of time. Symptoms of allergic reaction to lash adhesives are mainly swollen, red, sore lids, sometimes with crusting. It is important to return to your aesthetician to have the lashes removed should these symptoms occur. If symptoms persist longer than a few days, then a physician should be seen.

Eyelash extension adhesives are made from a chemical agent called cyanoacrylate, the fumes of which can be irritating to the sensitive membranes of the eyes, nose and throat. Ensure that your aesthetician is performing lash application procedures in a well ventilated area to minimise this irritation. Clients who have previous allergies to acrylic should steer clear of eyelash extensions. All in all, safety, hygiene and skill are super important for having an overall great lash experience. Aestheticians should ensure that they follow the strictest safety and hygiene practices when performing lash extensions, and indeed any procedure. Clients should seek out the services of those who have been properly trained and certified in eyelash extension applications.