Consumer Reports warns against some eyelash enhancements

May 8, 2013 8:24:54 PM PDT
There's a hot trend in the beauty business that could lead to real trouble with your eyes if you're not careful. We're talking about eyelashes. More and more products and services being offered to darken, thicken, or even enhance them, but a newly released warning says buyer beware.

From pop star Adele to rap singer Niki Minaj, super long lashes are all the rage. So much so, that a medical alert has just been released by Consumer Reports.

"False eyelashes can trap dirt and bacteria, creating irritation and infection. And they can be difficult to remove," said Dr. Orly Avitzur with Consumer Reports.

Up-and-coming singer Vanessa Racioppo wanted her eyes to pop at a photo shoot for her CD cover. She used fake eyelashes, but soon, her eyelids began to ache and she couldn't get them off.

"I had to, like, soak my eye and pull really hard. And then I kind of pulled some of my eyelashes out. There was irritation," Racioppo said.

"It looks like I have lips on my eyelids," actress Kristin Chenoweth said.

Chenoweth wore sunglasses on a late-night TV show recently because she says her eyelids were so swollen. She believes it was an allergic reaction to her eyelash extensions -- that's a process where single fibers are glued to your individual lashes.

"The risks of eyelash extensions are not only an allergic reaction to the glue but erosion of the inner surface of the eyelids. And they can cause permanent damage to your natural lashes," Dr. Avitzur said.

The Internet promotes even more exotic eyelash enhancements; the latest is weaving tiny glass beads onto ultra-thin wire and applying them with an adhesive to your eyelids.

"It doesn't take an expert to see trouble coming with sharp objects placed so close to the eye," Dr. Avitzur said.

Consumer Reports says you're far better off doing what Vanessa Racioppo does now -- just using mascara.

Three rules to keep in mind with your mascara:

Replace it every three months because the anti-bacterial preservatives in the tubes break down after three months. You could label it with a Sharpey to remind you when you bought it.

The second rule is to never leave your mascara in a hot place, like your car. Bacteria, even fungi, thrive in dark, warm places. Contaminated mascaras can cause not just irritations, but severe eye infections.

And because of that comes Rule 3: Never share masacara with someone else.
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