Reasons Why Eyelashes Fall Out
Eyelashes are a group of hairs that grow on the edge of eyelids. They are designed to protect the eye from debris, dust, and objects that can cause injury or infection.
Like other body hair, natural lashes fall out and grow back following a 10-week eyelash growth cycle. It is common to lose one to five eyelashes a day.2
However, chronic eyelash loss (also called madarosis) can signify an underlying medical condition. Common health conditions that cause eyelashes to fall out include:
- Blepharitis, which is caused by clogged oil glands at the base of lashes, leads to inflammation and eyelash follicle damage
- Trichotillomania, a psychological condition that causes a person to pull out their eyelashes (usually to relieve stress)
- Skin cancer of the eyelid, which can interrupt eyelash regrowth
- Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss
- Thyroid conditions like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, which can cause lash loss due to too much or too few hormones
- Atopic dermatitis, which can lead to eyelash loss through constant eye rubbing and itching
- Allergic contact dermatitis, which is caused by an allergy to cosmetics or medication that can lead to eyelash loss
- Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease causing 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.
Do Eyelashes Grow Back?
Eyelashes typically grow back, but it depends on the underlying cause of lash loss and if there is permanent hair follicle damage.
The natural eyelash life cycle takes 4 to 11 months and consists of three phases:
- Growth phase (anagen) takes 4 to 10 weeks with a maximum growth length of 12mm
- Degradation phase (catagen) is when the lash stops growing and starts to shrink, lasting about 15 days
- Resting phase (telogen) is the end of the cycle when the lash falls out. It lasts 4 to 9 months
Treating the underlying medical condition or secondary cause of eyelash loss can help get the growth cycle back on track.
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 be stimulated 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
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 and the only lash serum approved by the FDA)
- Castor oil (not scientifically proven to stimulate eyelash growth but can improve luster and thickness)
- Olive oil (has antioxidant properties that help condition the lashes and promote healthy follicles)
- Peptides (proven to elongate and enhance eyelash appearance)
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.
Tips for Preventing 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 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 with the help of growth serums and treating the underlying health condition. Eyelashes that were pulled out or burned may take longer to regrow.
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