All women love the idea of long eyelashes.
After all, it symbolizes both youth and beauty. However, before you fret when you lose them, it’s normal for the body to shed hair and eyelashes.
Eyelashes have a lifespan of five months, where the lashes fall out, and new ones grow back. The cause for concern is when too many eyelashes have fallen out.
According to medical professionals, the condition is known as madarosis – though not a disease, it happens for a myriad of reasons.
For many individuals (women especially), the loss of eyelashes can be traumatic and affect their self-esteem. However, eyelashes play a huge role in keeping dust, dirt and sweat out of the eyes. Therefore, the loss of eyelashes is much more impactful to the health (not just one’s self-esteem).
Although there are a plethora of reasons for losing your eyelashes, the reality is that most are temporary problems. The key to address the problem is finding the right cause for it. Do that, and you can see a resurgence in both eyelash growth and health.
Bear in mind that the eyelash goes through three growth stages – the first stage is the active growing stage, the second stage is the transition stage, and the last is the resting stage called telogen. It’s at the end of this cycle that the eyelashes fall out.
Aging : the same inevitable process
There isn’t much you can do about the aging process – it’s going to happen. As people get older, minute changes in the appearance begin to happen. The skin is looser; there are more wrinkles and age spots appear. Another issue that older people tend to suffer with is thinning eyelashes.
There are several reasons why this happens:
As people get older, so do their hair follicles. As you know by now, eyelashes go through three life stages – anagen, catagen and telogen. When the lashes hit the telogen stage, they start to fall out. The lashes go through these three stages throughout your life. As you get older, each stage slows down or stops generating new eyelashes altogether.
Older people tend to suffer from dry skin, which means the eyelashes cannot hold onto moisture as easily. The drier the eyelashes, the more damage that occurs.
Hormonal changes as a result of aging can also play a role. The perimenopause and menopause phases cause the production of estrogen and progesterone to slow down. Estrogen helps with collagen production and preserves hair thickness. When there is a drop in estrogen levels (usually in the 40s), hair follicles become damaged, leading to shorter, lighter lashes. This is around the time when the eyes appear to be smaller and extremely tired. These two life stages also mean you don’t have to shave as often. Younger adults suffering from low estrogen levels need to speak with their doctor to begin a hormone treatment.
Pregnant and nursing mothers see a fluctuation in their hormones, which can lead to eyelash loss. The loss is temporary once the hormones are back in check.
There’s nothing you can do about the aging process, but there are some things you can do to counter menopause aftereffects such as eyelash loss.
- One thing is to start a hormone replacement therapy. Get regular exercise and don’t stress so much. Incorporate a healthy diet. Get adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like chia seeds, oily fish, olive oil and more or use an omega-3 supplement such as this famous one on amazon.
- Another worthwhile treatment is extra virgin olive oil to balance out the hormones. No more than three tablespoons a day every few months will do. Use coconut oil for cooking as well.
- The chaste berry herb brings balance to estrogen and progesterone, but should only be taken on your doctor’s advice.
Certain Health Problems
Stress can lead to all kinds of health problems such as Alopecia Areata and Telogen Effluvium.
- Telogen Effluvium TE
With the TE condition, an excessive amount of hair will fall out, usually within three months after a stressful event such as major surgery, illness or infection. The condition can also happen after a woman gives birth due to the drastic hormonal change.
While it’s more of a problem in the scalp region, in more serious cases, the condition can also affect eyelashes and eyebrows. There is good news, though – the condition can be reversed and doesn’t cause permanent damage to the follicles.
- Alopecia Areata
This condition is an immune system disorder, which causes the immune system cells to attack hair follicles. It’s first noticed in the scalp region but eventually affects the eyelashes and eyebrows. The unfortunate aspect of this condition is that there is no cure for it. While hair will grow back, it’s the kind of condition people will fight with again.
This is an inflammation of both the eyelids and eyelash follicles caused by irritated glands that lead to redness, itchiness, burning and a loss of eyelashes if the skin is too dry. The condition isn’t just centered on the eyelashes but the scalp as well.
In the majority of cases, the condition occurs in both eyes, but some people may experience it in one eye. It’s usually the result of parasites, bacteria or allergies. Research shows that dandruff on the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes can cause the condition as well. If you suffer from dandruff, you are at a higher risk of suffering from this condition.
It may be tempting to rub your eyes, giving you some temporary relief. Don’t do this. It only leads to follicle scarring and abnormal eyelash growth.
This is an incurable condition, but controllable with good eyelid hygiene. Make sure to use a warm compression to wash the eye, doing so for no more than 10 minutes on a daily basis. Use an eyelid-cleaning solution with warm water and cotton pad two times a day. If you see no improvement after the treatment, call your doctor.
Never wear makeup when the symptoms of Blepharitis are present.
- Demodex Folliculorium
These are parasitic mites that live within the hair follicles, usually causing no damage at all. When there are a plethora of mites, on the other hand, in one hair follicle, it can lead to an irritation that is further irritated by the constant rubbing. Constant rubbing will also cause the eyelashes to fall out.
In the majority of cases, treating a case of Demodex mites can be done at home. For example, you can use tea tree oil ( twe like this one on Amazon) and macadamia nut oil sweet essentials such as this one on Amazon (equal parts of both) for two months straight. Make sure it doesn’t get into your eyes. A tea tree oil shampoo is also great for your eyelashes and hair. ( this one on Amazon is our favorite as it is cheap and effective.)
Wait to use makeup until you have eliminated the mite infestation.
The thyroid gland regulates the body’s hormones, and a disorder of this gland, known as hyperthyroidism, can cause slow hair growth and eyelash loss. Severe hormonal disruptions can occur with either an overactive or hyperactive thyroid. With treatment, you should see a resurgence of eyelash growth.
Diet : what you eat truly matters
Yo-yo dieting is terrible in all kinds of ways. Therefore, you never want to skip meals or avoid foods laden with Vitamin B6, C, E and H, as this can lead to fragile, brittle lashes that eventually fall out.
Anorexic or bulimic people often suffer from hair loss because they’re not getting the nutrients they need for their body. Lack of protein consumption will cause eyelash loss within a couple of months.
Start eating healthy foods, and you’ll see a huge difference in your eyelash growth.
Mascara Allergies : the chemicals to avoid
Mascaras have chemicals in them that can cause allergies in some people that will also lead to breakage and eyelash loss. Certain chemicals, like those in waterproof mascara, can produce allergic reactions, eyelash damage and eyelash loss. If you have a history of allergies or have a negative experience with mascara already, then consider finding a mascara product that contains no aluminum powder, fragrance, parabens or triethanolamine.
You can also purchase sensitive eye mascara, which uses 100 percent natural materials that protect your lashes. We tried this one on Amazon and liked it, it was easy to use and long lasting
Some mascara can lead to eye conditions known as conjunctivitis and dermatitis. Dermatitis is an inflammatory reaction within the eyelid skin. Conjunctivitis (or pink eye) is the result of allergens that get into the eye and irritates the thin membrane that covers the eyeball surface.
In those cases, it’s essential to get treatment right away for either one of these conditions. You also need to wash your face and avoid touching your eyes. You will also have to steer clear of mascara, as to give your eyes a break and heal.
Home remedies such as natural oils can help in the healing process. Check here our article about the best oils to use for eyelashes.
Don’t use mascara beyond its expiration date or which contain questionable ingredients. It’s best to purchase a new mascara every three to six months, going with more natural formulas whenever possible.
One more important recommendation: Wash your makeup off every night before bed.
Medications : the side effects
Some medications you could take for a health condition can actually lead to hair and eyelash loss.
According to research, drugs that treat the following can lead to madarosis:
- Acne (mainly oral anti-acne drugs)
- Blood pressure
- Heart problems
High vitamin A dosage medications have also been tied to madarosis.
Anabolic steroids can also produce a loss in eyelashes. Some women taking birth control pills will see a decline in eyelashes as well. Once these medications have been stopped, the lashes will grow back.
It’s not uncommon for several medical treatments to lead to eyelash loss. For example, chemotherapy and cataract removals have resulted in total body hair, eyelash and eyebrow loss. Completing the treatment will allow the hair to regrow.
If you believe medication is the culprit behind your eyelash loss (or is a potential side effect), talk to your doctor for another possible treatment method. Above all else, maintain a healthy diet to keep your lashes looking and feeling their best. Remember, what you eat plays a massive role in eyelash growth and loss.
Rubbing : don’t play with them
Eyelash roots need to be treated delicately due to their delicate nature. If you continuously rub your eyes, it can speed up the loss of your eyelashes and lead to wrinkles. While it’s normal for eyelashes to fall off, rubbing can cause them to fall out sooner than they should and will take some time to regrow.
Itchiness is common for some infections and irritations. If you find that rubbing your eyes helps alleviate the “pain,” do so as gently as you can. Wash your hands before touching your eyes, though.
You also don’t want to rub your eyes when taking off your makeup. If you rub, do it as gently as possible using a gentle makeup remover and cotton pad.
Stress : just relax and take it easy
Stress is a major contributing factor to your health. There are all kinds of diseases tied to stress as we previously mentionned. It can lead to hormonal changes, cause you to skip meals, have a problem going to sleep and more. When the body’s metabolism changes, cortisol levels swing widely. And, it’s these wide fluctuations that affect the growth and health of your lashes and brows.
Stress also keeps the body from absorbing vitamins adequately. When your body isn’t healthy, the lashes won’t be either.
Do you ever notice you bite your nails in a stressful situation? It’s a condition called Trichotillomania and is suffered by millions of people, including Charlize Theron, Megan Fox and Justin Timberlake.
Simply put, Trichotillomania is an impulse control disorder that stress and anxiety causes. It’s when people pull, twist or rub their hair – from their scalp, eyelashes and eyebrows. It starts in early childhood, and without treatment, it persists into adulthood.
To adequately treat the condition, a person must go through Habit Reversal Training.
How To Treat and Prevent Eyelash Damage and Loss
If you’re going to treat your eyelash loss, you need to know the reason behind the damage. If eyelash thinning worries you, talk with your dermatologist to see what tests are necessary and come up with a treatment plan.
- If you have Trichotillomania, your doctor will suggest therapy and counseling to find the underlying reason for the disorder. In most cases, the cause is self-control issues.
- If medication is the reason for your hair loss, you can suggest the doctor find a prescription that will do just as well for your condition but won’t lead to this side effect.
In some instances, it’s not possible, which means waiting until your treatment is over to regrow your eyelashes. If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, you just have to wait until the treatment is over to see a difference.
Do not use mascara if you are suffering from an allergic reaction.
If you are going through perimenopause or menopause, ask your doctor about hormone replacement therapy. You can also try Eyelash enhancers to lengthen and strengthen your lashes. ( You can try this on from Amazon which got us good results.)
Again, you cannot help getting older, but there are things you can do to counter the loss in eyelashes such as:
- Practice Good Nightly Hygiene – Every night, before bed, scrub off all your makeup and dirt, using a gentle facial makeup remover. Use a cotton pad soaked with makeup remover, placing it on your eyelashes for 15 seconds. This causes the mascara to dissolve, so you can remove it without scrubbing.
- Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes – This is very important, especially if the cause is an allergy. When you rub your eyes, you’re causing the lashes to twist and become damaged. This only leads to more dirt and makeup getting into the eye region. With clean hands, gently massage your eyes.
- Don’t Pull Your Lashes – If you use an eyelash curler, make sure you’re not pulling your lashes. Use only high-quality eyelash curlers to minimize eyelash damage.
- Eat A Healthy Diet – Make sure your diet is loaded with healthy foods such as beans, broccoli, carrots, eggs, fish, peppers, soy and yogurt. These foods will help promote eyelash growth while also keeping them healthy.
- Add Oils To Your Diet – Natural oils such as castor, coconut and olive oils should be added to your beauty routine. ( check our article about the best oils for eyelashes here)
Other Possible “Solutions” For Eyelashes
You also have the option to use eyelash enhancers as we mentionned earlier, which include basic ingredients that can moisture and condition lashes. Such ingredients include hyaluronic acid, panthenol and provitamin B5. ( The one we like from Amazon is here.)
In more severe eyelash loss cases, you could have an eyelash transplant. Doctors will move scalp follicles to the eyelash region.
You can also use fake eyelashes that are glued to the region, which make it look like you have fuller, thicker eyelashes. Before you buy just any type of faux eyelashes, you need to find natural ones. Your eye shape will dictate which ones are best.
There are all kinds of reasons for a person to lose their eyelashes, but there is always some sort of solution you can use to give you the gorgeous eyelashes you long for.