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Glue in Eyelash Extensions Can Cause Serious Side Effects

By HERWriter
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side effects from using eyelash extension glue Makarov Alexander/PhotoSpin

The quest for longer fuller eyelashes has caused some women to draw more attention to their eyes than they bargained for. The glue used in eyelash extensions as well as the solvent used to remove them has been reported to cause allergic reactions and potential for eye infections, reported Consumer reports.org.

Eyelash extensions are single synthetic fibers that look like eyelashes. They are glued one by one to natural eyelashes.

The glue used to fix them in place is commonly formaldehyde-based, may have rubber latex or some other type of biologically acceptable glue. Allergies can occur from contact with these products.

Eyelash enhancements, such as adding small jewels or beaded toppings threaded on ultra-fine wire then glued to the eyelashes, is another risky eye embellishment. While they do look fanciful and fun, wearing anything that close to your eye really sets you up for an injury if your eye were to be scratched by any of these objects.

Even false eyelashes can cause trouble. Removing false eyelashes can pull on your natural ones causing them to thin. It is easy for women to get stuck in a cycle of feeling that they need to wear artificial eyelashes as their own start to look more sparse.

Excess traction on your eyelashes from either eyelash extension or false eyelash removal can cause traction alopecia, which can damage the hair follicle so the eyelashes do not grow back.

False eyelashes can also trap dirt and bacteria making eye more susceptible to irritation and infection.

“The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) warns that among the potential dangers associated with cosmetic eyelash extensions and the adhesives used to apply them are infections of the cornea and eyelid, permanent or temporary loss of eyelashes, and eyelid swelling.” (2)

If you decide you still want eyelash extensions, AAO suggests going only to a certified aesthetician, and watching that she uses good hand-washing technique, and asking about the ingredients in the adhesive glue.

Alternatively, ConsumerReports.org suggests that you just stick with mascara. Make sure you practice good handwashing before you apply it. Replace your mascara every three months. Never share mascara or add water to it, and stop using eye makeup totally if you notice signs of infection or irritation.

Remember, you only have two eyes. You don’t want to take any risk that could damage either of them. See an eye care professional right away if you notice any signs of irritation that do not quickly resolve, infection symptoms, eye pain or vision difficulties .


Eyelash extensions can pose health risks. The popular trend can cause allergic reactions, infections, and more. Consumer Reports.org. Retrieved May 28, 2013.

Eyelash Extension Adhesives May Cause Bad Reactions. Infections and allergies from cosmetic procedure can damage eyes or cause swelling, loss of eyelashes. Healthday.com. May 28, 2013.

Use Eye Cosmetics Safely. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FDA.gov. Retrieved May 28, 2013.

Ingredients in Eyelash Adhesive and Eyelash Glue. Technology and Gadgets online. Retrieved May 28, 2013.

Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles

Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment5 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have been getting eyelash extensions for 1 1/2 yrs and noticed withing the last couple of months, my eyes are swollen and irratated.

Do I go to a dermatologist or ophthalmogist???

October 8, 2015 - 8:29am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon,

If your vision is okay and the irritation seems to be coming more from your eyelids rather than inside your eyes, I would start with the Dermatologist.  Ask the Dermatologist if he/she thinks you should also see a Ophthalmologist after they have had a chance to take a look at your eyes.   

Obviously, stop wearing the extensions. 

Let us know what you found out.

take care,


October 8, 2015 - 9:37am
EmpowHER Guest

I have been wearing false eyelashes every day for 8 years as an enhancement to my look. In the last couple of months I have noticed irritation and a lump behind one of my eyelids. Needless to say I would much rather have my sight than long lashes any-day!

April 9, 2015 - 3:50pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Anon, do go see an optometrist or opthamalogist and have them take a look.  It could be a minor problem that can be resolved quickly.  You are exactly right, do not take chances with your eyesight.

take care,


April 9, 2015 - 6:54pm
EmpowHER Guest

thank you for the great help on eyelash extensions. I did have some problems in the past and I won't be using them again. thanks

March 8, 2015 - 4:37pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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