Brooke Shield’s lovely face looks out at you from the Latisse® advertisement which shows before-and-after pictures of, I assume, her eyelashes treated with Latisse®, a prescription drug used to grow longer, fuller eyelashes. What woman wouldn’t want longer more luxurious eyelashes? Does it work and what are the drawbacks?
Latisse® (bimotoprost ophthalmic solution) was created after doctors noticed that patients using Lumagen, a drug to treat glaucoma to reduce the pressure in their eyes, began growing thicker, fuller eyelashes. Latisse® is a reformulated form of that glaucoma drug. The FDA approved use of Latisse® in Dec 2008 and Allergan, the same manufacturer of Botox, sells the drug by prescription only for the treatment of hypotrichosis (inadequate hair growth).
How does it work?
Latisse® is thought to help keep more eyelash hairs in the anagen (growing) phase of hair growth for an extended time, but the exact mechanism is unknown. Latisse® was tested in clinical trials on 278 healthy adults without eye disease for 16 weeks. Those treated with Latisse® had significantly greater improvement in length, thickness and darkness. Latisse® is only intended for use on the upper lashes and should not be applied along the lower lid.
Side effects with Latisse® are supposed to occur in less than 4 percent of the people using it. They are eye redness, eye itchiness and skin hyper pigmentation (darkening). Women in some forums said they liked the darkening as it made their eyes look like a light amount of eyeliner was present. However, it is unclear how women are supposed to be able to tell the difference between an allergic reaction to Latisse®, which would cause redness and itchiness, and acceptable amounts of this side effect.
It is also possible for the colored portion of the eye (the iris) to darken which is not reversible if stopping Latisse®. Hair growth can occur in other places than intended, so care must be taken to apply Latisse® to eyelashes only and avoid getting it in the eye due to increased risk of lowered eye pressure.