The Science Behind Using an Eyelash Enhancer
They're so important indeed that they deserve extra attention and tons of TLC. Otherwise, why would people even bother to curl them, squeeze them, put mascara on them, spend hours to get eyelash extensions or, layer them with additional false lashes? Why would scientists and marketers even care to formulate eyelash enhancers?
It's easy to neglect your eyelashes even though the neglect can become obvious in one quick glance. They're just hair but, hair and their development aren't as simple to break down and understand.
How do eyelashes grow?
First thing's first. Perhaps the rightful question to throw is, 'how did you get your eyelashes' or, 'how did you get so much hair growing all over your body in the first place?"
Truth is, the makings of your hair could be found in your body since you were inside your mommy's tummy. All the hair follicles you have, including the ones that grow your eyelashes, must have developed since your 20th-something week of being a fetus. From then until now, you must have about five million hair follicles or so all over your body. You will never grow another hair follicle for the rest of your life.
From then on, your eyelashes, same as any other hair elsewhere on your body, have been undergoing a growth cycle that follows a regular pattern. For each growth cycle, the hair undergoes three distinct phases: Anagen Phase, Catagen Phase, and Telogen Phase.
The Anagen Phase of an eyelash typically lasts for about 40 days. During this phase, the eyelash undergoes major growth and development. Owing to breakage and damage, however, eyelashes can fall out even before they reach their 40th day. When that happens often, the result is dull, unflattering eyelashes. The longer an eyelash stays in the Anagen Phase, the greater is the possibility for the eyelash to grow in length. In parallel, there is higher possibility for eyelashes to have longer, overlapping growth stages which, in turn, results to thicker, fuller eyelashes.
The Catagen Phase simply signals the transition from Anagen Phase to Telogen Phase or, the resting phase. Eyelashes typically take one to four months in the Telogen Phase before they re-enter the Anagen Phase.
How do eyelash enhancers work?
Eyelash enhancing products work by prolonging the Anagen Phase of each eyelash strand. The longer the Anagen Phase, the greater is the possibility that eyelashes can grow longer, and the tendency for each strand to overlap while in the Anagen Phase also improves the likelihood of growing thicker lashes.
To do this, eyelash enhancers are formulated with active ingredients that stimulate hair follicles and other cells beneath the eyelids to grow eyelash strands at a faster rate and in greater numbers. Eyelash enhancers do not create new hair follicles instead, these products stimulate existing hair follicles so that eyelash strands can grow back sooner and more rapidly.
What are the typical active ingredients in eyelash enhancers that promote longer, thicker lashes?
Products claiming to enhance and thicken eyelashes are not based nor founded on an exact, concrete scientific evidence. Eyelash enhancers began to be marketed after Allergan began to notice that an eye drop formulation they've developed, which was intended to stop and reverse some common symptoms of glaucoma, caused patients to develop longer, thicker eyelashes. After doing some research, the improvement in the appearance of eyelashes was attributed to the active ingredient, prostaglandin. After that, Allergan developed Latisse which became the first and, at the time, the only product approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for eyelash enhancement. The rest is history. Global cosmeceutical manufacturer, Allergan, is reputed for being a leader in eye health, dermatology, and medical statistics. Allergan is the same company that developed Botox.
Non-prescription counterparts commonly contain lower doses of active ingredients, most of which, like peptides, hyaluronic acid, and pro-Vitamin B3 are well-known to ultrahydrate hair strands and thus, protecting them from breakage, promoting stronger hair, and, due to their high concentration of amino acids, aid in cellular repair.
Prescription or not, the objectives of varying eyelash enhancers are the same, that is, to prolong the stay of eyelashes in the Anagen Phase, and cutting down the time spent by hair follicles resting under the Telogen Phase.
You still ask, 'are eyelash enhancers worth the hype'? The answer is 'Yes'. Your next question must be, 'Are they effective'? The answer is yes and no, depending on the brand you're using. When it comes to treatments, such as eyelash enhancers, it's always best to consult with a skin care specialist before you use one. The next best thing you can do is to snoop around to get to know more about the product, the manufacturer, and client's experiences.