While being a cosmetic surgeon certainly puts me in the “beauty” industry, I never considered myself an expert on eyelashes until several of my patients began asking me how they could get fuller, longer eyelashes.
For the past couple of years, as a courtesy to my patients, I’ve carried Latisse, a prescription medication that is applied to the upper eyelids for longer, fuller, darker lashes.
Like many medications, Latisse was an “accidental” discovery by pharmaceutical giant Allergan. The active ingredient, bimatoprost, is primarily used to control glaucoma. Glaucoma patients who applied bimatoprost ophthalmic solution to their eyes to prevent blindness noticed an unanticipated side effect – longer, fuller lashes. It turns out that bimatoprost extends the lashes’ growth period, causes new lash follicles to grow, and increases the pigment (color) of the lash.
Latisse received FDA approval in 2008 after running double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical studies to confirm its safety and efficacy. The study found that after 16 weeks of use, study participants showed lashes that were:
- 25% longer,
- 106% thicker and fuller, and
- 18% darker than before.
Latisse recently released a new, larger (5ml) bottle that comes with 140 sterile applicators. The new 5ml bottle should last about 10 weeks. One drop of solution is placed on a sterile applicator and applied carefully to the upper lid, just above the lash line (see video).
Patients usually start to see results at 8 weeks, with maximum results achieved at 12 to 16 weeks. The medication should be applied once daily. After a while, some patients are able to decrease application to 2-3 times per week without sacrificing lash length or fullness. Because lashes are continually growing and shedding, Latisse does not produce permanent results. Lashes will eventually return to their original state after a patient stops applying Latisse.
The most common side effects after using Latisse are an itching sensation in the eyes and/or eye redness, which were reported in approximately 4% of clinical trial patients. The solution may cause other less common side effects that typically occur close to where Latisse is applied: skin darkening, iris pigmentation, and eye dryness. Visit the Latisse website to learn more.
If you are interested in using Latisse or have a question, leave a comment below or call our office.