Everything You Need To Know About Latisse
Who doesn't want longer, fuller eyelashes?
Latisse is a prescription medication that can give you just that when applied daily to your lash line over the course of three to four months. The amount of lash growth that you achieve may vary, and these pictures from the Latisse website give you a great overview of the kind of success you may achieve:
BEFORE: AFTER 16 WEEKS: BEFORE: AFTER 16 WEEKS:
As you can see, results are going to vary based on your individual eyelash make-up. But with daily use for the given time period, you should be seeing longer and fuller lashes from your baseline.
How Does it Work?
Latisse is the trade name for 0.03% bimatoprost, chemically a prostaglandin analogue. Prostaglandins are naturally found in our body as part of the inflammatory cascade, and bimatoprost increases the action of these mediators. Originally bimatoprost was used as a topical eye drop for glaucoma, but a surprising side effect occurred -- users of the drop were experiencing an abundance of eyelash growth. Bimatropost had a secondary effect of stimulating anagen phase eyelash growth, resulting in users experiencing this eyelash explosion. After this secondary effect was tested and confirmed for safety, the original glaucoma eye drop was reformulated for the specific purpose of eyelash growth and that was the birth of Latisse.
What Are the Side Effects?
Latisse comes with applicators to help minimize exposure to skin and ocular tissue and target your eyelashes themselves!
Because of its chemical make-up, Latisse can cause inflammation around the eyelid skin (remember, it increases the action of prostaglandins, which are part of our body's inflammatory pathway). Because of this, I always recommend using the applicator carefully -- try to apply just on the eyelashes and avoid putting too much on the eyelid area. Some people may be allergic to Latisse, and you would experience red and swollen eyelids within a few applications. If the product comes into contact with the white of your eye itself, you may also notice redness and irritation on the white of the eye due to this inflammatory function of the drop. If you apply the drop at night, it is common to wake up with red and irritated eyes in the morning if Latisse got in contact with your eyes.
Other side effects include increased pigmentation around the eyelid and even iris. Latisse can cause an increased expression of our body's melanin (pigment). This means a darker color to your skin along the lid line, but many times you will hear this marketed as a natural "eyeliner" effect. More significant in issue is the chance that your iris will be darkened by Latisse use. If you have light brown, hazel, or green eyes, Latisse can cause more melanin to be expressed, and thus darken your iris color. Blue eyes are generally not affected since they have an absence of melanin to begin with. If you have light brown or hazel eyes you should take this potential darkening effect into consideration, because it may not be reversible even if you stop using Latisse.
Latisse is a very effective prescription for eyelash growth with minimal side effect risks. I recommend trying to avoid too much contact with your eyelid when applying with the wand, and avoid exposing the drop to the surface of your eye if you are concerned with the risk of red and irritated eyes or darkened iris pigmentation. If you stop using the drop, your eyelashes will eventually return to their normal state, so you would have to continue with the drop long term if you want long term effects. Also, there is no generic version of Latisse, so depending on your medical insurance there may be a large price involved (in the same range as high end wrinkle cream products). On average a single prescription of Latisse costs $120 without insurance coverage.