Nearly everyone has found a stray eyelash on their cheek at some point in time.
Like the hair on the rest of your body, eyelash hairs fall out and regrow in a natural growth cycle. It’s normal to lose 1 to 5 eyelashes each day.2 Aside from this natural cycle, certain underlying conditions and medical treatments can cause excessive eyelash loss.
Most of the time, eyelashes grow back on their own. If you want to speed up the regrowth process, prescription products and home remedies may help.
Do Eyelashes Grow Back?
Eyelashes typically grow back. However, there are some exceptions. Conditions that may prevent or change eyelash regrowth include:
- Damaged eyelid or lash follicles. The lash won’t regrow if there’s been permanent damage to the eyelid skin or eyelash hair follicle.
- Medical treatments. People who get chemotherapy often have their lashes grow back. But the hairs may be shorter or thinner than they used to be.
- Medical conditions. Most of the time, treating the underlying condition can help get the growth cycle back on track.
What is the Eyelash Growth Cycle?
The natural eyelash life cycle takes 5 to 11 months. It consists of three phases:
Also known as the growth phase, anagen lasts about 1 to 2 months. During this phase, eyelashes grow longer and more pigmented (darker in color). The longer this phase lasts, the larger the eyelash.
Catagen is a transition phase that lasts approximately 15 days. This is when the lash hair stops growing, and the follicle shrinks.
This is the longest phase of the eyelash cycle, lasting 4 to 9 months. Also known as the resting phase, nearly all of your eyelashes are in telogen at any given time.
Throughout telogen, nothing significant happens to the eyelash until it’s ready to fall out. After that, anagen happens again.
Why Do Eyelashes Fall Out?
Chronic eyelash loss (also called madarosis) can signify an underlying medical condition. Common health conditions that cause eyelashes to fall out include:
- Eyelid disorders. These are caused by clogged oil glands at the base of eyelashes, leading to inflammation and follicle damage
- Eyelash pulling. Trichotillomania is a psychological condition that causes a person to pull out their eyelashes (usually to relieve stress).
- Skin cancer of the eyelid. This can cause localized lash loss and interrupt eyelash regrowth.
- Alopecia areata. This autoimmune disease causes the body’s immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss.
- Thyroid conditions. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause lash loss due to too much or too few hormones.
- Scleroderma. This autoimmune disease causes the hardening and tightening of the skin and has been associated with hair loss.
Certain medications, chronic stress, and nutritional deficiencies (iron, zinc, niacin) are less common causes of eyelash loss.
How Long Do Eyelashes Take to Grow Back?
Eyelashes take about 4 to 10 weeks to regrow. However, they might take longer depending on the cause of lash loss. For example, pulled or burned lashes can take 6 weeks to a couple of months to grow back.4
For people with a health condition causing eyelashes to fall out, hair growth may not resume until the medical condition is treated and managed. People with alopecia areata can be effectively treated with a topical bimatoprost-induced eyelash growth serum.5
4 Ways to Encourage or Speed Up Regrowth
1. Eyelash growth serum
Various eyelash growth serums on the market are proven to stimulate active growth.
The most common lash serums stem from topical bimatoprost 0.03%, approved by the FDA to increase lash length and thickness and make them darker. Bimatoprost is also used to treat glaucoma.5
Common growth serum products include:
- Latisse. A prescription-based lash serum approved by the FDA.
- Castor oil. This isn’t scientifically proven to stimulate eyelash growth but can improve luster and thickness.
- Olive oil. The antioxidant properties of this common kitchen oil help condition lashes and promote healthy follicles.
- Eyelash serums. Many over-the-counter eyelash serums claim to produce similar results as Latisse. However, keep in mind that Latisse is the only FDA-approved eyelash serum.
Vitamins are essential for hair growth and healthy lashes. Multivitamin supplements can help you get daily doses of specific vitamins linked to hair growth, including:9
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Complex B vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
3. Healthy diet
What you eat plays a significant role in eyelash growth. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to hair loss.10
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein ensures you get the proper vitamins and minerals. To encourage eyelash growth, you should include the following in your diet:
- Protein has amino acids that stimulate keratin production and keep eyelashes strong and healthy
- Biotin is a vitamin linked to hair health and found in various foods, including whole grains, broccoli, cauliflower, and nuts
- Iron is essential for eyelash regrowth, and an iron deficiency (anemia) can lead to hair loss
- Niacin helps keep hair follicles rich with oxygen and is found in meat, avocado, green peas, and peanuts
4. Change your makeup
Many mascaras and cosmetics also contain biotin, peptides, and vitamins that nourish lashes and promote hair growth.
Switching your eye makeup to include products that contain these ingredients can leave you with lush, beautiful lashes.
How to Prevent Eyelash Loss
Eyelashes are a big part of our appearance. Daily habits and behavior changes can help prevent unnecessary eyelash loss.
Try incorporating these tips into your daily routine:
- Skip the eyelash curlers
- Avoid rubbing your eyes
- Gently remove eye makeup and avoid tugging on lashes
- Wash your face and lashes before bed
- Be careful when removing eyelash extensions and false eyelashes
Eyelashes do grow back. They follow a natural hair growth cycle; losing a couple of eyelashes a day is typical. However, certain medical conditions and medications can cause extensive eyelash loss.
The good news is that eyelashes typically grow back in 4 to 10 weeks. Eyelashes that were pulled out or burned may take longer to regrow. Medical treatments and home remedies may help expedite the regrowth process.
In this article