Noticing some eyelashes falling out is normal, but major eyelash loss can be cause for concern. It’s stressful and impacts on your self-esteem, as well as sometimes being a sign of health issues.
Before we give up on ever having the lashes of our dreams, let’s take a look at some basic eyelash facts, common reasons why our lashes may be lacking, and what we can do about it.
- Eyelashes are comprised of a mixture of water and proteins.
- Eyelashes typically grow slowly, at a rate of around 1/4th of an inch a month. If an eyelash is pulled out from the root, it will begin to grow back somewhere between 6 and 9 weeks later. Due to this slow regrowth rate, it may take anywhere from 13 to 16 weeks before you notice the length of any new lashes.
- The curled appearance of an eyelash is designed to help protect the eyes from harmful substances, such as dust particles, sweat, and other foreign debris.
- The average person has between 80 and 165 individual lashes on their upper eyelid. There are between 50 to 75 individual lashes on the average bottom eyelid.
Common Causes of Eyelash Loss
Madarosis is the clinical term used to describe eyelash loss. There are several reasons that may cause this condition.
- Thyroid Dysfunction – Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism (an under- or over-producing thyroid) can cause our lashes to become brittle and thin, resulting in eyelash loss.
- Trichotillomania – A compulsive disorder where the sufferer has an overwhelming urge to pull out hair. This can result in loss of lashes, in addition to hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. This condition is often caused or exacerbated by stress.
- Menopause-related Estrogen Loss – Dwindling levels of estrogen during menopause can result in significant lash loss and diminished lash regrowth.
- Allergic Reaction – Lash loss due to a localized allergic reaction to cosmetic products such as cleansers, moisturizers, or certain brands of makeup.
- Rough Handling – Lashes lost due to rough handling while cleansing the face. Scrubbing or pulling at the area around the eyes when removing makeup can accelerate the rate at which lashes fall out.
Treatment and Enhancement Options
Western culture considers long, curled lashes beautiful. If you have short eyelashes, don’t despair. There are a wide variety of treatments and enhancement options available to help turn those short, less-than-satisfactory lashes into the lush lashes of your dreams.
- Have your physician check your thyroid levels. Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism are treatable conditions.
- If you have been diagnosed with Trichotillomania, your doctor may prescribe effective medications and techniques for reducing stress levels.
- Hormone replacement therapy may help menopause-related eyelash loss. Check with your doctor to see if this treatment is right for you.
- Stop wearing makeup for a week or two and see if it makes a difference. Or, try using a different brand or formula of eye makeup.
- Handle lashes with care. Do not scrub or tug at the delicate eye area, especially during your cleansing routine.
Medical conditions aside, you might want to consider cosmetic lash enhancements. Options include volumizing mascara that contains lengthening fibers, growth serums, lash extensions, or even trying false eyelashes.