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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Do Your Eyes Make a Lash-ting Impression?

Do Your Eyes Make a Lash-ting Impression?

According to beauty experts, it’s the year of the lash. With thousands of mascara products on the market that claim to curl, extend, multiply, darken, thicken, and appear to grow lashes “to amazing lengths,” laid end-to-end consumer choices likely encircle the globe or something close to it. At least it feels that way. And let’s face it, who doesn’t covet an eye gilded by lush, feathery, come hither lashes! But did you know that in addition to their attraction qualities, eyelashes act as the first line of defense against so-called UFP’s (unidentified flying particles) and can be enhanced by hair follicle transplants from the top of your head?

Developing in the embryo at between 22 and 26 weeks, in addition to being considered weapons of attraction lashes are sensitive to touch, much like a cat’s whiskers, serving as an anatomical alarm for approaching debris before it reaches the eye. If pulled, an eyelash reportedly takes seven to eight weeks to grow back (lighten up on those metal curlers, ladies!). Considered a desired physical asset and largely universal sign of femininity, women have used kohl–a black powder made from antimony sulfide or lead sulfide–since the Bronze Age to enhance their lashes and further protect eyes from sand, dust, and bugs.

In modern times, the invention of false eyelashes, lash extensions, and salon-applied permanent lash tints have given women many options–in many colors of the rainbow. Where would Madonna and Lady Gaga be without them? Eyelash transplants, usually warranted when trauma, disease or overuse of false eyelashes or extensions have resulted in few or no eyelashes, a condition known as hypotrichosis, have also gained in popularity, with newly implanted grafts of hair and follicles from the head continuing to grow and requiring trimming, same as if it were still on the scalp. In its nascent years, the procedure met with criticism as lash hairs might grow in different directions, but experience has resulted in more controlled transplant techniques and results.

And when Latisse, a prescription solution to enhance lashes, burst onto the scene in 2008, new levels of lash-phoria were achieved. In actuality a version of glaucoma drug bimatoprost (marketed as Lumigan), doctors noticed their patients who were being treated for glaucoma reaped the benefits of an unexpected side effect: longer, fuller lash growth. Though it may take up to 16 weeks to reach its full potential, Latisse is considered a viable 21st Century weapon in our eyelash arsenal.

If taking a more natural road to lush lash land is your goal, olive oil, petroleum jelly, vitamin E oil, almond oil or castor oil applied with a clean eyelash brush before bed may be the answer (be sure to wash away in the morning). Some have found results dipping a cotton ball in green tea and swiping the lash area; tea is said to stimulate growth and clean the follicles. As with most things, optimal nutrition in the form of a diet based on healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products, and lots of protein will fortify any area of the body, with the eyes and their beautiful, functional lashes no exception.

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