I am writing you about the sidebar on the dangers of eyelash extensions in your March 2007 issue. I am curious if there are data to support these findings. What do they state, or is this just the author’s opinion? I am a medical aesthetician working in a plastic surgeon’s office, and we are collecting data and research to determine whether we want to offer eyelash extensions in our practice.
                                                            — Eileen Fumire
                                                               Worcester, Mass

Author Alan J. Bauman, MD, replies:

Just as with hair extensions (which carry a well-known risk of causing traction alopecia) there is probably a “right way” and a “wrong way” for the proper use of artificial eyelash extensions, and many women simply may not be good candidates for “false lashes.” In such a newly expanding field as eyelash transplantation, which is coinciding with the boom in eyelash extensions, there are honestly very few—if any—published papers or clinical trials on the subject of eyelash extension and eyelash damage.

I am sure that there are many eyelash-extension users who have no problem with the application or removal of the extensions. However, from my experience in communicating with hundreds of patients who have sought eyelash transplantation, I can tell you that many have tried eyelash extensions and, for one reason or another, are looking for a more permanent solution.

Often, eyelash-extension users complain of difficulty removing the extensions carefully or of noticing that their eyelashes looked much worse after consistently using the extensions for several months. Many say that their condition did not significantly improve—even months after they discontinued the extensions.

Similarly to hair extensions, it is conceivable that some women may not be ideal candidates for the eyelash-extension products due to certain eyelash characteristics (such as length, caliber, and density), and are therefore prone to eyelash damage. For an example of eyelash loss that may have been exacerbated by extensions, go to www.eyelash-transplant.com.

Having done some extensive research into eyelash care to be able to provide services such as eyelash perming, eyelash tinting, and eyelash trimming to our eyelash- transplant patients, I’ve found some pretty significant differences among various products, techniques, instruments, and training materials on the market. Our practice has recently hired an aesthetician and “eyelash stylist” who is being trained by a leading expert in eyelash extensions and lash-enhancement treatments so that we can provide even better post-eyelash-transplant care and nonsurgical eyelash-enhancing services to our patients.