What To Know About The Risks Of Lash Extensions

There's no doubt that lashes are a staple in the beauty world. And once we discovered we didn't have to apply falsies every day, but could actually sleep with natural-looking extensions, the game was forever changed. Market research by Technavio shows that the eyelash extension industry is expected to increase by a value of nearly $500 million between 2021 and 2026. Perhaps fueling this trending enhancement is the fact that it has a diverse range of styling to fit every need and aesthetic. There are different curl lengths, curl types, and volume choices that make everyone from naturalists to maximalists want in on the beautifying treatment.

Plus, lash extensions can actually be pretty time-effective. The lash experts at Xtreme Lashes say it only takes around two hours to have extensions applied, which then last an impressive two to four weeks on average (via Divine Lashes). However, as with any health or beauty treatment, there are some risks to look out for when exploring the world of lash extensions. So if you're considering extensions to boost your lashes' glam factor, here's what you need to know.

You could get lash mites

Good eyelash hygiene is imperative when getting extensions, especially if you're a frequent visitor to lash salons. With a foreign object being adhered to such a sensitive area, a good lash technician will always encourage frequent cleaning with a spoolie. And failing to clean your lashes can have some creepy-crawly repercussions.

You can imagine the internet's eruption when it learned that the same thing that leads to sexy cat-eye wisps can also lead to mites. With over 16 million hashtag uses, #lashmites have been trending on Tiktok, raising eyebrows and eyelashes everywhere. Lash techs are discovering that regulars who fail to take care of their curls are returning with extreme buildup and, in severe cases, mites. According to WebMD, lash mites are microscopic, eight-legged bugs that feed off dead skin and body oil. As terrifying as they sound, they're actually harmless unless they grow in population to a dangerous number. The lash experts at Divine Lashes want you to know, however, that lash extensions do not cause mites; poor hygiene does.

Lash extensions have a natural shedding process. It's impossible to hold onto the strands forever, and that's okay. But there's a misconception that cleansing your lash extensions can decrease retention. That's completely false. In fact, false lash experts say that cleaning your lashes improves retention because it removes oil and debris that can damage your extensions' glue (via Lash Lovers). Maintain your falsies by cleaning with a mineral-based product after the first 48 hours of application and every other day thereafter. Or, if you have oilier skin, give them a clean every day.

Beware of glue allergies

If you take care of your lashes and practice good hygiene, but still feel itchiness and redness, you could be experiencing an allergic reaction. Though fairly uncommon, it is possible to be allergic to the glue or binding agent used for lash extensions (via The Lash Professional). Most often people are allergic to the base ingredient, called cyanoacrylate, that is used in nearly all lash glue. According to a 2019 study in Medical Hypothesis, Discovery & Innovation in Ophthalmology, the most common complication associated with eyelash extensions is allergic blepharitis, which can cause symptoms like redness, itchiness, flaking skin, and sensitivity to light (per Mayo Clinic).

As licensed aesthetician and lash expert Erika Baum recommends in an article for Your Beauty Brand, using a lash wash to clean the area may help reduce the chances of a reaction. But if symptoms are persistent or you notice your allergies increasing in severity over time, listen to your body and schedule a visit to your doctor immediately. It could mean that eyelash extensions just aren't right for you.