Eyelash Enhancing Products - Volume 1, Issue 3 July 2022
In our third newsletter, we'll discuss the basics of our body’s hair growth stages and why our eyelash hair growth is unique. We will also examine the two main types of products used for enhancing growth, their pros and cons, and consider effective ways to use these products.
Every single hair on our body has a growth cycle that is composed of four distinct phases:
What varies for the hairs on our bodies, depending on location, is the length of time the hairs stay in a given phase and the speed of the phase (fast or slow). Eyelashes, unlike other hairs on our body, have a uniquely short anagen (growing) phase, a slow rate of growth, and a long telogen (resting) phase. These characteristics allow for specially formulated products to make specific interventions, enhancing lash properties.
We have around 100–150 lashes on the upper eyelids, arranged in two or three rows of follicles. The lower eyelashes are fewer in number by about half. The lifecycle of an eyelash can range from 5 to 11months, with the anagen phase lasting 1 to 2 months and the telogen phase 4 to 9 months. (Compare this to an anagen phase of 3 to 5 years, and a telogen phase of 3 months for hairs on your head.)
The differing lengths of the eyelash anagen phase (amongst different individuals) affect the final hair length. Therefore, a product capable of extending the anagen phase is helpful in enhancing lashes.
Eyelash-enhancing products - two main categories
Eyelash-enhancing products fall into two main categories—prescription-only medicines and non-prescriptive, cosmetic formulations, which account for the majority.
Some of the best lash growth serums of 2022 don’t require a prescription, meaning that shopping for a suitable formula no longer requires a trip to the dermatologist. Either category of eyelash serums work when used consistently with a daily application. It takes at least a month to begin to see results. Once the desired results are achieved, users will need to continue the products at least twice a week to maintain results. Discontinuation of use will result in the eyelashes returning to their original state during one hair growth cycle.
Two types of ingredients
There are two main types of ingredients currently used in eyelash enhancing products; prostaglandin analogues—commonly prescriptive drugs (e.g. Latisse)— and peptides (e.g. nonprescription example). The key to all eyelash-enhancing productsis how high up the ingredient listthe active ingredient is. The further down the ingredient list, the lower the concentration which will likely have a bearing on the speed and efficacy of results.
Prostaglandin analogues - Almost twenty years ago, ophthalmologists noticed that some prostaglandin-based drugs prescribed to treat patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension were causing the side effect of increased eyelash growth.
In 2007, Allergan embarked on clinical trials based on this observation, using their 0.03% bimatoprost prostaglandin analogue, Lumigan, for cosmetic use as an eyelash enhancer. The following year (rebranded as Latisse), the product was approved by the FDA as a prescription-only product to “increase the length, thickness and darkness of eyelashes in people with hypotrichosis (inadequate lashes).”
How does it work? Bimatoprost activates prostamide alpha F2 receptors found in the hair follicle to stimulate its growth rate. These receptors are thought to be involved in the development and regrowth of the hair follicle by increasing the percentage of hairs in, and the duration of, the anagen phase. The company claims results are visible after eight weeks, with full results at 16 weeks.
One should be aware that there is a lengthy list of potential side effects from using bimatoprost (for cosmetic eyelash growth) including: burning sensation (eyelid), periorbital redness and eye swelling, eyelid irritation, eyelid edema, eyelids pruritus, iris hyperpigmentation, periorbital skin discoloration and others. Again, this is a prescription product and therefore should be discussed with your physician before use.
While products can legally contain prostaglandin analogues, the issue between ‘medical’ and ‘cosmetic’ comes down to the concentration used. Cosmetic products use very low concentrations—the active prostaglandin analogue is often at the end of the ingredient list by percentage, so in some cases peptides are included to boost the effect.
Peptides - Many manufacturers have investigated the use of peptides as an alternative to prescription based methods. This has led to increased marketing efforts by companies pointing out that their products are non-prescriptive and prostaglandin-free, and are therefore side-effect free. It is believed that the peptides encourage eyelash growth by stimulating the keratin genes in the body, which are responsible for growing the lashes.
One of the commonly used peptides is myristoyl pentapeptide-17. Both this peptide and myristoyl pentapeptide-16 were developed by Symrise who create active ingredients for the cosmetic industry. Their clinical trials have shown a 25% increase in lash length when the peptide is used in eyelash serums.
For best results, Bev recommends looking for a formula that contains peptides (and specifically myristoyl pentapeptide), biotin or biotinylatedpeptides, panthenol and/or lipids. Biotin is a B7 vitamin and helps lashes grow longer and thicker and stimulates the growth of additional eyelash follicles. Biotin tripeptide-1 (biotinylated-peptide) is a cell-communicating peptide (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1) that has been conjugated to biotin. It has been found helpful for reducing hair loss, increasing hair growth, and making eyelashes appear longer, fuller, and stronger. Panthenol and lipids condition and moisturize the lashes.
Although you might not necessarily see dramatic results from these OTC serums immediately, they contain nourishing ingredients that strengthen eyelash hairs over time, making them stronger and more resilient against breakage.
Choosing a product requires research, considering the compounds used, their concentration, and history in hair enhancement science. A high price tag is not proof of efficacy, so it’s key to compare and contrast the active ingredients as well as available data to ensure you make the right choice for you.
An actual patient after using my private-label peptide lash serum Bev Sidders Eyelash Growth Enhancing Serum after 16 weeks.
Bev’s Bottom Line
Both types of products have benefits. Most effective evidence within the eyelash enhancement market lies in the prostaglandin analogues. Research in this field is ongoing, with other prostaglandin options and peptides being explored.
What Does Bev Use?
Latisse coupled with my Eyelash Growth Enhancing Serum. Latisse is well-known for its exceptional lash growth potential. With the incorporation of my peptide product, not only do I feel my lashes are longer, but thicker and fuller too. Now that I have achieved the desired results without side effects, I alternate use for maintenance. I use Latisse two times a week, and my peptide lash product
(Bev Sidders Eyelash Growth Enhancing Serum) two times a week on different nights. This gives me the benefits of all the ingredients and helps with long-term cost savings since Latisse is considerably more expensive and by prescription.
Have more questions? Schedule a virtual consultation with me.
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