Eyelashes, like other hair on the body, have a three phasic growth cycle.
In phase one or Anagen, the hair actively grows up to a certain length. The length of the hair depends on the duration of the active phase. The longer the active phase lasts, the longer the hair. The length of lashes on average are 1 cm (3/8 inch). Upper eyelids have 90 to 150 lashes, and lower eyelids have 70 to 80 lashes on average.
The second phase of the hair growth cycle is called Catagen. In this phase, the growth of hair stops and the hair prepares for the third, resting phase. The third phase of the growth cycle is called Telogen, or the resting phase of hair growth. In this phase, the hair doesn’t grow and stays until the new hair pushes it out or it falls out on its own. This phase lasts for about 100 days or more than three months.
Each strand of hair has its own growth cycle, and while one hair is in the active (Anagen) phase, the neighboring hair could be in the resting (Telogen) phase.
The side effect of an eye medication called Prostamide is the increased growth rate of eyelashes. In 2001, the FDA allowed this medication for people who suffer eyelash shortness. The medication is manufactured under two brand names, Lumigan and Latisse.
These medications are applied to the upper eyelids with an applicator. They not only can increase the growth rate of eyelashes, but also the hair on whatever skin they touch. Thus, it is important not to contaminate unwanted areas of the eyes and face.
Some people use this medication on their eyebrows, at their own risk. It takes about two months of continued use to see a noticeable result. The effects of these medicines are all temporary, and as soon as you stop the medicine, the hairs will return to the way they were. So the result of using Lumigan and Latisse is temporary and not permanent.
Not all doctors are familiar with these medications, and not all doctors who are familiar with these medications are willing to prescribe them due to their side effects. The common side effects of Lumigan and Latisse are the following:
- vision changes
- pain, redness, itching, or swelling in or around the eye
- swelling or redness of the eyelids
- oozing or discharge from the eye(s)
- increased sensitivity to light
Not everyone experiences these side effects, but if you are using any of these medications, you should be aware of these side effects.