Shiny, thick and long eyelashes are considered the ideal of beauty.
Eyelash serums should ensure a sensual look. Again and again, they come under criticism because of the frequently used hormone prostaglandin. Other countries do not allow the sale of eyelash serums with hormonal ingredients without a prescription.
Depending on the product, eyelash serums are applied to the lash line once or twice a day, similar to eyeliner. According to the manufacturer, they stimulate the growth of the eyelashes. Hair growth is generally subject to cycles of building up and breaking down processes of the keratinocytes (horn-forming cells).
Prostaglandins and co.
To achieve a denser lash line and longer lashes, the ingredients of the serums are supposed to lengthen the hair growth phase. And, after six to eight weeks, you can usually see lengthened and thickened eyelashes. This effect is possible through the use of various ingredients, which often, but not always, include hormones or hormone derivatives. These additives can be recognized by syllables such as "prost" in the name and are usually used as synthetic replicas of the hormone prostaglandin.
This hormone, which owes its triumph as a component of eyelash serums to chance, is now sparking a dispute between manufacturers and authorities. Prostaglandins are used in medicine to reduce intraocular pressure, among other things. During this application, increased eyelash growth was noticed in patients with glaucoma.
But eyelash serums have been criticized for a long time, and not without reason. Users report redness, skin irritation, itching, burning and slight swelling. Contact lens intolerance and deterioration in visual acuity have also been reported.
All of these aspects are mostly temporary and disappear after stopping the serums. What worries the authorities are reports of side effects that are permanent.
They include, for example, a permanent darkening of the iris, which occurs in up to 10% of users. It was also found that with prolonged use, the subcutaneous fatty tissue thins out in the entire eye area and a so-called "hollowing" occurs. As a result, the eyes lie deeper in their sockets, and dark shadows form on the lower eyelids.
This phenomenon is not reversible and can only be improved by minimally invasive methods such as hyaluronic and autologous fat injections or injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Increased pigmentation of the skin, which creates a panda-eye look( also reported).
Efforts of the authorities
For this reason, there have been efforts by both national and international health authorities to restrict or ban the sale of eyelash serums for several years. The European Commission recently launched an investigation into the safety of prostaglandins in cosmetics after receiving reports of "serious side effects" such as swollen eyelids, burning eyes and hyperpigmentation.
The review by the commission also follows a report by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment from 2018, which found no evidence of a dose at which eyelash growth can be promoted with prostaglandins or their derivatives without side effects.
Some countries do not allow the sale of hormonal eyelash serums without a prescription. And even highly specialized ophthalmologists have their concerns.
Thus, assistant professor Dr Tracy Doll from the Pacific University College of Optometry in Oregon conducted a study on 154 users of eyelash serums in 2020. As a result, 44% of the women had stopped using the serums, most of them because of the side effects that had occurred.
Every product would have to have corresponding data that show the mechanism of action and thus allow a product categorization in one direction or the other. This type of data is not collected due to a lack of legal obligation for cosmetic products.
But, if the declared goal of the authorities is to generally ban all eyelash serums, this project can quickly fail. For example, some manufacturers explicitly advertise that they are hormone-free. If no other medicinally active substances are used in these products, a marketing ban based on pharmaceutical law cannot be justified.
Qualified risk assessment
Side effects with cosmetic products are not or are only rarely reported by consumers. However, the qualified risk assessment, which of course also includes reports of side effects, will be an essential part of the process. If corresponding data is not available, the authorities threaten to merely argue with data on hazardous substances. This could steer the outcome of the proceedings in a certain direction right from the start.
Longer lashes naturally
Castor oil - the oil obtained from the seeds of the miracle tree became famous for its versatility as early as the middle of the last millennium.
The oil supplies not only the skin but also the hair with moisture. Preferably applied overnight, it can achieve its full effect: as it is hydrophobic, it prevents the eyelashes from drying out. It also penetrates between the cuticle and gives eyelashes and browbones suppleness. Castor oil also helps to strengthen the eyelash structures and, with regular use, strengthens the hair.
If eyelashes or eyebrows have been lost as a result of drug treatments, castor oil supports the restart of the growth process.
The oil is applied either neat with a cotton swab or more simply with a ready-made eyelash and eyebrow balm and the brush it contains. Any salon that offers eyelash or eyebrow treatments should have an eyelash and eyebrow balm in their range for sale. A high proportion of the oil is important: Castor oil (INCI name: Ricinus communis Seed Oil) must be very high on the INCI list.
Wimpernwelle Eye Lash Balm with pure Castor Oil - more info here