The desire for dramatic, memorable eyes is one that has been around for hundreds of years. It’s a topic that has led to many an innovation in the cosmetic and surgical industry, ranging from simple makeup to intricate procedures that cost thousands of dollars.

One of the newer, more popular additions to this industry is the application of eyelash extensions. By adhering long, synthetic or natural fibers delicately to the eyelids, consumers can enjoy a dramatic look for weeks after application.

While, for some, this process sounds like a dream come true, the inevitable question that comes to mind is hard to ignore:

Are eyelash extensions safe?

What, exactly, are eyelash extensions?

True eyelash extensions are more than the sticky strips you can find in the aisles of your favorite drugstore; in fact, you must go to a trained technician — usually in a beauty salon — to have them properly applied.

These extensions can be made from different materials, some synthetic, and some natural, like those made of silk or mink. The technician trained in their application will do so with tweezers and a specialty, semi-permanent glue, formulated specifically for the application of eyelash extensions. These lashes are designed to fall off gradually, along with your natural eyelashes, which you typically shed every 3-4 weeks.

Are eyelash extensions safe your eyes?

The short answer is, “Yes, with conditions.”

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eyelash extensions are safe so long as the procedure is performed in a sanitary setting, by a trained and experienced technician, using chemicals and glues that are safe for the skin.

Like any cosmetic setting, hygiene is extremely important. Improperly sanitized tools and lax hygiene standards in a salon or other cosmetic environment can lead to infections and the spread of disease.

The skill and experience of the technician is also important, as the procedure requires the use of sharp tools very near the eyes.

What are the risks of eyelash extensions?

Like any procedure, there are a few safety risks. When it comes to eyelash extensions, some of the negative issues that can happen as a result of the procedure are:

  • Infection from inadequate hygiene
  • Trauma to the eyelid or cornea
  • Allergic reactions to glue ingredients — specifically formaldehyde
  • Lodging of fibers under the eye tissue
  • Damage to eyelash follicles

Tips for Eyelash Extension Safety

For the most part, eyelash extensions can be enjoyed without negative repercussions, so long as certain precautions are taken before they are applied.

It’s extremely important to find a reputable salon that employs experienced technicians. When investigating a salon for quality, be sure to look online for published reviews and ask around for word-of-mouth testimonials. Negative experiences are rarely kept quiet, and you can learn a lot from a business’ public profiles.

Feel empowered to ask for the educational credentials of the technicians at a salon. For procedures like eyelash extensions, you want to be sure your technician is properly-trained and experienced.

Ask for the ingredient list of the glue so that you can check for any allergens that might negatively affect your eyes. It’s also a good idea to check its expiration date.

Finally, if you experience complications with lash extensions, do not try to remove them yourself. In order to avoid long-term damage to your eyes, it’s important to contact an eyecare professional to assist in the removal. At the Eyecare Center of Northern Colorado, we offer urgent and emergency eyecare services to patients who have an immediate need of attention.

If you have further questions about the safety of eyelash extensions, please feel free to contact us at one of our four offices.