We curl them, dye them, style them – eyelashes don’t just make our eyes look more enticing, they do a fantastic job of keeping dirt and debris out of them as well.
The average person has between 90 and 160 eyelashes on their upper eyelid, and around 75 to 100 lashes on the lower lid, although this can vary. We lose anything between one to five lashes per day, which may not be particularly noticeable – but if you notice you’re losing a significant number of eyelashes, you may start to worry.
What causes eyelash loss?
There are many reasons why your eyelashes might be shedding. Semi-permanent eyelash extensions have become popular over recent years, and although they may look glamorous for a time, many users find that when the extensions come off, so do their natural lashes. Rubbing your eyes repeatedly – such as when you remove makeup – can also dislodge lashes, particularly if you use waterproof mascara, which is notoriously tricky to remove.
Underlying health conditions such as Alopecia areata, or inflammatory eye condition blepharitis, can also cause eyelash loss, so make sure to visit your GP if you are worried that there may be a medical condition behind it. Chemotherapy can also result in eyelash loss, but this is usually temporary.
Will my eyelashes grow back when they fall out?
The answer is – it depends. Remember that hair grows in three phases: the anagen phase, catagen phase and telogen phase. The anagen phase is where the lashes start to grow out of the follicles, which lasts about 45 days. In the catagen phase, the growth stops – so if an eyelash falls out during this phase, it won’t grow back until this phase is over, which takes a number of weeks. The telogen phase is when the eyelash naturally falls out, ready for a new lash to grow.
Depending on where the lash is in the growth cycle, if it is pulled out – for example, when removing lash extensions – it can take as long as 16 weeks for it to grow back. As long as there has been no significant trauma to the follicle, the eyelashes should grow back, but patience is required. In the meantime, avoid any physical stresses to the eyelid – avoid harsh makeup removers, eyelash curlers, false eyelashes or extensions and excessive rubbing.
However, if the follicles have been damaged – such as due to scarring, or compulsive conditions like Trichotillomania – the lashes may not grow back at all. Certain medical conditions can also cause loss of eyelashes.
Crown Clinic’s surgeon, Dr Asim Shahmalak, carried out the UK’s first-ever eyelash transplant back in 2009, and has been performing this pioneering treatment ever since. Eyelash transplants are a permanent way to give a full lash look, either for those who have lost their natural lashes or even those who have naturally sparse lashes and desire a fuller appearance. If you are struggling with eyelash loss and would like to find out more about the treatment, get in touch with our clinic.