Lash Lifts & Tints: Can cosmetic services cause medical problems?

Beauty trends are constantly evolving, and it’s no surprise that one of the newer trends focuses on enhancing eyes and eyelashes. Eyelash lifts and tints are a way that people are modifying their eyes (and makeup routines), by using them as semi-permanent solutions to keep lashes looking long, dark and vibrant.

With many beauty enhancements, including lash lifts and tints, there are potential risk factors to consider. While there are many to be aware of with these procedures, one we are focusing on today is dry eye syndrome. Let’s look at what eyelash lifts and tints really are, how they can cause dry eye, and what you should do before considering them as a beauty option.

What are eyelash lifts and tints?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), an eyelash lift is a procedure involving combining eyelashes to a silicone shield. Once on the shield, eyelashes are held there with adhesive while a chemical lotion is applied to break down the protein in each eyelash and encourage it to grow upward instead of outward. The results last about six to eight weeks.

Often occurring at the same time as a lash lift, a lash tint is a 15-minute procedure where semi-permanent dye is painted onto the eyelashes to make them appear thicker, darker and fuller. This color often lasts three to six weeks.

How do eyelash lifts and tints cause Dry Eye?

Immediately following the procedures, it is recommended to avoid water around the eyes (including sweat) for at least 48 hours. Following this initial time, care is still advised to avoid excessive water on the face as to not compromise the lift and tint results.

These recommendations can lead to an eye disease known as dry eye syndrome that may require treatment with the help of your eye doctor. Dry eye is defined by a lack of basal tears –tears made up of water, fatty oils and mucus with the purpose of lubricating the eye. When we don’t naturally produce enough basal tears (or the composition of these tears changes), the result can be dry eye syndrome.

There are many common symptoms of dry eye that you should be aware of and look out for as it relates to eyelash lifts and tints. They include:

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dryness/ “grit in the eye” sensation
  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to call your eye doctor for a comprehensive exam.  Your eye doctor can diagnose the condition, put together a unique treatment plan, and advise you on the best steps forward. There can be many treatment options for dry eye, including dietary changes, vitamins, or medicated eye drops. Your eye doctor can also provide further guidance on eyelash lift and tint procedures.

What should you do before considering lifts and tints?  

Prior to any procedure involving the eyes, including eyelash lifts and tints, it is critical to consult with your eye doctor. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any color additives for permanent dyeing or tinting of eyelashes, so it is important to understand all risk factors before deciding how to proceed with these cosmetic procedures.

Our expert eye care providers at ReFocus are happy to work with you to discuss eyelash lifts and tints, walk through risk factors, and propose other solutions as applicable. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today to learn more and have your questions answered.