Written by Christine G. Adamo
What is LATISSE®?
Visit any cosmetics counter and you’ll see topical thickening and lengthening products packaged to look like mascara. Those by Rimmel come to mind. Each promises to make your lashes more noticeable. Yet, LATISSE® was the first player on the market.
So, what is LATISSE®? And how can it benefit you? That’s what we hope you’ll learn here. LATISSE® is a topical, pharmaceutical grade treatment made by Allergan – the same company that makes BOTOX®
Cosmetic and NATRELLE breast implants.
Allergan’s stated goal for this prescription-only product is to help you grow:
- Longer Eyelashes
- Thicker Eyelashes
- -&- Darker Eyelashes
If your lashes are thinning and/or you consider them to be what Allergan calls “inadequate or insufficient”, you may suffer from hypotrichosis. In that case, LATISSE® may be right for you. Read on and consult with a qualified plastic surgeon
to learn more.
How LATISSE® Works & How to Use It
With 2.5 million bottles sold so far, Allergan is likely doing something right. But, how does LATISSE® work? And, what can – and can’t – it do for you? That’s what we’ll explore here.
LATISSE® is an FDA-approved topical drug (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution, 0.03%) that’s said to work over time to encourage lash growth. With nightly application, full results may be expected in about four months’ time. Each night, the solution should be applied along the skin at the base of the upper lash line using sterile applicators.
With regular use, the following results can be expected:
- First, lashes appear longer
- Then, they become thicker
- Lastly, they get darker in color
Your plastic surgeon should review safe, effective application with you before sending you home with LATISSE® – which is not recommended for patients younger than 16.
Basic application steps:
- Begin with clean, makeup-free skin & remove contact lenses
- Place (1) drop of LATISSE® solution on a sterile applicator wand
- Apply the solution carefully to the skin at the base of the upper lash line
- Apply it from the inner part of the eye to the outer part & blot excess solution
- Throw away the 1st applicator & use a 2nd sterile want to treat the other eye
Other things to know about LATISSE® include the following:
- It is not for use inside the eyes or along the lower lash line
- Use only the specially-designed, sterile applicators included
- If you miss a dose, there is no catch up – wait ‘til the next night
- If product gets in your eye or eyes, rinsing is not recommended
- Avoid infection & bacteria by handling the wand & bottle carefully
It’s also helpful to know that contact lenses can be worn again 15 min. after treatment, but some of the solution may be absorbed by soft lenses. We recommend leaving them out overnight. Also, applying LATISSE® more frequently won’t accelerate lash growth, so save time and money by using it only as directed.
Benefits of Using LATISSE®
Double lash fullness, reversing lash thinning caused by aging and full results seen in 16 weeks are some of the benefits Allergan says regular, nightly use of LATISSE® can have for consumers. In fact, in a clinical study conducted by Allergan, 50% of patients who received LATISSE® treatment got noticeably improved lashes within two months.
Allergan also reported these statistics after the full 16-week period:
- 25% growth or increase in eyelash length
- 106% increase in eyelash fullness or thickness
- 18% increase in eyelash color intensity or darkness
Like any prescription drug, your own body’s reaction to LATISSE® may be unique.
Additionally, your proper and regular use this topical product will affect the level of positive results you get. Since there are risks or side effects associated with treatment, we’ll discuss those next. Ask your plastic surgeon to weigh in on them, too.
Risks & Side Effects Associated with LATISSE®
One serious risk you should consider is whether using LATISSE® will interfere with your use of prescription products (ex: LUMIGAN®) to relieve eye pressure problems (ex: glaucoma or ocular hypertension). Also, let your plastic surgeon know about upcoming eye surgery when asking if you’re a good candidate or may need additional follow up.
Common side effects and reactions reported by LATISSE® users include:
- Itchy eyes &/or eye redness (the most common, in 4% of patients)
- Eyelid skin darkening, which may reverse after discontinued use
- Redness or a burning sensation along the eyelids
- Irritation, swelling or dryness of the eyes
Less common side effects and reactions reported by LATISSE® users include:
- Increased potential for permanent, brown pigment in the iris
- Rashes or changes in the skin along & around the eyelids
- Hair growth in other areas LATISSE® has touched
- Visible changes in the eyelids & eye area
- Temporary lash &/or lash section loss
- Temporary lash breakage
- Blurred vision
For your safety, it’s best to discontinue use of LATISSE® and see your plastic surgeon right away if you experience trauma or infection in/around the eyes, have sudden changes in vision, have eye surgery or develop any unpleasant reactions.
A Last Look at LATISSE®
There are cases in which LATISSE® may not be helpful. You should be aware of those, too. Never use it to treat anything it wasn’t prescribed for (ex: the lower lids) or share your prescription with others, since it could do them more harm than good.
Expectant and nursing mothers should also know that:
- LATISSE® may present itself in human breast milk
- If you’re pregnant, LATISSE® should only be used if doctor approved
- Its benefits should outweigh its potential risks for you & your baby
Know, too, that the effects of LATISSE® aren’t permanent. Once you stop using it, your lashes will return to “normal”. Just like when you started treatment, the change will be gradual. Eyelid skin darkening should reverse itself. Iris pigmentation may not.
Lastly, you may see differences in the length, volume, color, number and direction of lashes from one eye to the other. Talk to a qualified and board-certified plastic surgeon who can ensure your proper use of this product – and to get answers about LATISSE® cost, benefits and risks.
Because, in the end, proper application can make all the difference.