What woman doesn’t want longer, thicker lashes? For special occasions, like a wedding or prom, many women will apply fake lashes to accentuate their eyes. This is only a temporary solution; however, that isn’t without complications, such as lashes falling off or glue getting in the eye. Alternatively, there is a prescription medication called bimatoprost that can make your lashes thicker and longer with prolonged use—it’s marketed under the brand name Latisse and manufactured by Allergan, Inc.
How Latisse Works
Bimatoprost is used in an eye-drop glaucoma drug called Lumigan. Patients using it noticed longer, thicker lashes as a side effect, thus leading to the creation of Latisse.
Latisse is applied to the lash line of the upper eyelid only (not the lower eyelid) for a period of 16 weeks. “As the treatment progresses, you’ll first begin to see changes in length,” says the Allergan website. “Then, gradually, you’ll notice more thickness and darkness in your lashes. If you’re satisfied with your results by week eight, don’t stop there. Stick with the treatment. After week 16, you’ll see the full effect of Latisse solution—and so will others. After that, you can talk to your doctor about ongoing use.”
The Allergan website mentions that, if you stop using Latisse prior to the full 16 week regimen, your lashes will return to their previous appearance over time. The manufacturer website is unclear if this also occurs after the suggested 16 weeks of use. However, the Mayo Clinic indicates that you have to use the product perpetually to maintain your new stunningly thick lashes.
Side Effects of Latisse
If you’re looking to change your eye color from hazel or blue to brown in addition to getting fuller lashes, Latisse may really be something that captures your attention. Believe it or not, that’s one of the possible side effects reported after use of the product—and the change is permanent.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, additional side effects include:
- Itchy, red eyes
- Dry eyes
- Darkened eyelids (which may or may not return to normal after stopping Latisse)
- Hair growth around the eye if the medication regularly runs or drips off the eyelids
The Latisse website indicates that there are special circumstances in which Latisse should not be used (whether it occurs before or after using the product), such as trauma to the eye, eye infection, a sudden decrease in visual acuity, eye surgery or conjunctivitis. If any of these occur while using the product, it is recommended that you see a doctor immediately. Additionally, according to the Latisse website, “If you are using Lumigan ophthalmic solution or other products for elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), or if you have a history of abnormal IOP, you should only use Latisse under the close supervision of your physician.”
Where to get Latisse
In order to use Latisse, you’ll need to obtain a doctor prescription. Most general care physicians may not prescribe it, so you should talk to your eye care doctor or plastic surgeon.
There are several ways to bypass a prescription for the product—the manufacturer uses distributors outside of medical professionals. This is obviously not a route we recommend, considering the risk factors. While Allergan has a policy against the product being sold online, there isn’t a lot they can do to completely prevent that from happening. Websites or salon technicians that sell the medication take chances—including the sale of generic knock-offs that do not have FDA approval—and don’t provide all of the information you need before using the product. There’s little you can do to hold them accountable if something goes wrong. It’s in your best interest to talk to your doctor about the product and go the safe route for obtaining it.
“Allergan strongly believes consumers should seek consultation from a qualified doctor to determine if they are an appropriate candidate for treatment”, says Heather Katt, an Allergan spokeswoman, according to a 2010 article in The New York Times.
Essentially, Latisse is like putting on shellac fingernails: the effects are long-sustaining and appear natural, but are not permanent. Additionally, there is clearly some risk involved in using the Latisse product, so your decision to use this prescription medication first warrants consideration and consultation with a doctor.