Do Eyelash Extensions Ruin Your Eyelashes?

If you've never had eyelash extensions done because you're terrified the procedure will (eventually) leave your eyes bald and lashless, you're in good company. And if you've done them before and you are convinced they leave your lashes thinner and more sparse, you could be right — those extensions might be to blame.

"Most eyelashes have a relatively short growth cycle of hair — this is why our lashes are about one-fourth of an inch long rather than inches or feet like hair on our scalp. However, eyelash hairs have a long pause cycle before they move to the shedding cycle, called telogen. Stress on the hair follicle may shift follicles prematurely into the shedding cycle," Melanie Palm, a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon tells InStyle

But there are ways to help prevent this from happening. Palm suggests that you don't go overboard by asking the technician to overfill the lashes, because "overfilling lashes by placing multiple extensions on one eyelash is more likely to allow lashes to shed, because of the additional weight that's added on to it."

Expert lash stylist Andra Marin echoes the warning as she tells Marie Claire that wearing extensions that are too long or too thick could stress the lash follicle, making natural lashes fall out. She adds, "It's best to stick to a length that is not more than 2mm longer than that of your natural lashes and a diameter that does not exceed that of your natural lash."

Eyelash extensions can cause problems with your eyes, too

Because eyelash extensions sit close to your eyes, it is very important to ensure you go to a professional lash salon because you could end up with a problem more serious than having fewer lashes. Ophthalmologist Alberto Distefano tells Marie Claire that having extensions does carry a small risk of infection. 

"False eyelashes can increase the risk of eyelid and eye infections. Bacteria can build up under or on the glue and on the lashes themselves when worn for an extended period of time." There is also the possibility of having an allergic reaction to the glue. Scary? Not really, since Distefano also says infections and allergies are easy to treat with medication, provided you see a doctor early enough. 

Is it worth the risk? That's up to you. And hey, there's always mascara if you want to skip the eyelash extensions.