Photo: Google

By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS

There’s hardly a woman alive who doesn’t dream of longer eyelashes.

Indeed, thick, beautiful lashes not only highlight your gaze (three out of four men rank eyes as one of the parts of the body that they notice most in women), but are generally associated with sensuality and femininity.

A subtle flutter of thick, dark lashes can even be a come-hither message that your are potentially open to an intimate encounter.

Consequently women around the globe have been trying to accentuate their lashes for centuries (the earliest documented eyelash cosmetics date back to 4,000 B.C., when ancient Egyptian women — and even men and children — would smear charcoal on their lashes to bring out their length and beauty).

But as important as eyelashes may be for drawing attention to ourselves and making us more attractive to the opposite sex, dermatologist Rose López González from Mexico City’s Piel Clinic wants to remind you that that delicate row of upturned hairs that line your upper and lower lids is there for a biological purpose.

“Women tend to forget that eyelashes have a technical function, which is to sweep away tiny specks of dust and other irritants, and to diffuse airflow that might threaten to dry eyes,” López González explained during a presentation of a new Lash and Brow Enhancing Serum from Spanish-based Genové Dermatologics’ Pilopeptan Woman beauty and skincare line.

“That is why it is especially important that they don’t use products that can harm  lashes or irritate eyes.”

López González explained that while glue-on fake lashes and extensions can give an instant boost to ho-hum lashes, in the long run, they can pull and damage your natural lashes, causing them to break or fall out.

In addition, she said, they need constant care and upkeep, which can be both costly and time-consuming.

And there is always a risk of an allergic reaction to lash glue for those with more sensitive skin.>

Mascara is, of course, an instant but temporary fix, she said, but it is important to remove all cosmetics at night to avoid buildups that can damage lashes.

Which brings us to the newest option for increasing lash length and thickness: serums.

Today, there are a plethora of eyelash serums on the market that promise to lengthen, strengthen and thicken your natural lashes.

But, López González warned, not all of these serums are created equally.

Many grow-your-own-lashes serums depend on bimatoprost, a medication used for treating glaucoma that turned out to have a secondary effect of increasing eyelash growth.

And while López González admitted that these bimatoprost-based serums do indeed produce longer, thicker lashes, there could be an underlying danger to using a product that affects the pressure inside the optic nerve.

To lower the risk of undesirable side effects, these serums contain only 5 percent of the drug as compared to the eye drops used to treat glaucoma, but the potential consequences of long-term use are not yet known.

Photo: Pilopeptan Woman

Moreover, these serums have been found to sometimes create dark discolorations on lids and even on the iris over months or years of use. And they can damage contact lenses, staining them with dark spots. Another potential side effect of bimatoprost-based serums is a hollowing-out appearance of the eyelids, which is rare but can be permanent.

Rather than worrying about the potential drawbacks of using a bimatoprost-based serum, López González suggested using a more natural, non-medicinal alternative serum, like Genové’s Pilopeptan Woman Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum, which depends on peptides, vitamin E and other conditioning treatments to stimulate keratin production and make lashes stronger.

Pilopeptan Woman Lash & Brow Enhancing Serum uses innovative biotechnological active ingredients that regulate the hair growth cycle naturally by stimulating the anagen phase of lash production, without affecting the optic nerve.

The Pilopeptan Woman serum is formulated with a carefully curated mix of vitamins and peptides to nourish lashes at the root, targeting brittle, dry lashes and encouraging their growth by conditioning and nourishing them, thus reducing breakage for fuller, lusher lashes.

The serum’s biotin formula promotes growth in the hair follicle and provides a volumizing effect, while panthenol restores moisture, improving thickness and elasticity. And vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, protects cells against oxidative damage and helps maintain follicle health.

The product has a hypoallergenic formula and is compatible with contact lens use. A dual wand applicator allows the serum to be delivered to both lashes and the edge of the lid in precisely measured dosages.

Of course, the downside with all lash serums is that they take time, up to three weeks to begin seeing a visual difference, and up to six weeks for maximum results.Also, once you stop using a serum, your lashes will resort to their previous state.

But, López González said that if you are patient and diligent in applying your serum nightly to clean lids (yes, you have to remove all makeup for these products to work properly), you can begin to have a more gorgeous, doe-like flutter in just a few weeks.

And that is certainly something worth waiting for.

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