The trend and topic of Latisse, hair and lash growth serums has continued to increase over the last 10 years. In 2006, my ophthalmologist asked me if he could start sending patients my way who were interested in having their eyelashes trimmed. He explained that the glaucoma drug he was prescribing caused lashes to grow so long they were touching the inside of his patients’ glasses. I laughed and explained to him that it was doubtful anyone would want to trim their lashes and that people would pay good money for longer lashes. In fact, no one ever requested that service.
Around 2007, Jan Marini started selling an eyelash growth serum called Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner. It sold like hotcakes and she couldn’t restock it fast enough. Interestingly, the FDA came in the following year and banned the sale of her serum which contained bimatoprost, the generic drug ingredient. The bimatoprost compound is sold under two different trade names: Lumagan and Latisse. Lumagan is commonly prescribed for glaucoma and high eye pressure. Shortly thereafter, a large pharmaceutical company named Allergan came out with an eyelash growth serum called Latisse which was sold by prescription only.
Latisse is the most well-known prescription medication available for eyelash growth. It is expensive, however, costing over $150 on average. Luckily, we found a generic version of Latisse that sells for just $60.
Eyelash Growth Serum Brands
Companies like Rodan and Fields, GrandeLASH, WooLash, to name a few, have flooded the market over the last decade. Each one claims that their lash growth serum thickens and lengthens. My question is how do they work without the drug? Well, some companies have suggested that certain ingredients either blended together or working solo can stimulate lash length. For example, Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 combined with Myristoyl Hexapeptide-16, or Leuconostoc which is derived from radish root. This combination is said to stimulate keratin, yielding longer, thicker eyelashes.
Bimatoprost most likely works by triggering the release of growth signals within the hair follicle. These signals active keratinocytes and melanocytes to produce more hair and pigmentation (darkening of the hair). This also increases the number of hair follicles in the growth phase (anagen).
Lash Serum Side Effects
As with any drug, there is always a list of potential side effects. In the case of lash growth serums, it could range from possible lid irritation, swelling, lid discoloration or iris discoloration in people with hazel colored eyes. It can also cause vision changes and dry eyes.
In 2023 Allergan’s patent expires and everyone will be able to use it in their prescription eyelash growth products.
Can Lash Growth Serum Reverse Hair Loss?
Based on the success of bimatoprost, several clinical trials have been looking into it as a possible way to reverse hair loss. A 2016 study looked at men with alopecia. The participants used bimatoprost for up to 6 months. They reported increased hair growth and decreased hair loss. Another hair loss study in 2013 showed a 25% increase in hair growth. More recently, a 2018 study found that a concentration of 0.03%, can be used for 12 weeks to increase hair growth.
Earlier this year, Allergan filed for a patent using bimatoprost to promote hair growth on the skin or scalp. This may be a sign of a new hair loss product coming our way in the near future!