Let’s play a word association game, shall we? I say: CHEMO. You say…HAIR LOSS.
It’s one of the first side effects people think of when they hear the word chemotherapy. But hair loss from chemo isn’t just relegated to the hair on your head. Chemo can also cause your eyebrow hairs and eyelashes to fall out. Here’s some guidance on caring for your lashes during chemo and beyond.
Why Eyelashes Fall Out During Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy drugs attack rapidly growing cancer cells. But unfortunately, chemo can’t tell the difference between malignant cells and healthy cells, so all rapidly growing cells in your body, including the cells in your hair roots, are targeted by chemo and certain types of radiation therapy.
During and after chemotherapy your eyelashes may get thinner, sparser, or fall out altogether. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a new set of lashes to grown in, but because chemotherapy can cause long-term changes to hair follicles, your lashes may grow in weaker, or grow in and fall out again over the course of a year or more. These changes shouldn’t be permanent, so please be patient as your body transitions through treatment and back into robust health.
Caring for Your Lashes During Chemo
Your lashes need some extra TLC and babying during chemo and the recovery period, which varies from patient to patient. It’s important not to put any extra stress on lashes. If possible, try to avoid rubbing eyes or applying eye makeup such as mascara to lashes. If need be, accentuate eyes with liner or shadow, as opposed to making up your eyelashes.
It’s probably best to refrain from using eyelash extensions during chemotherapy, and several weeks after your last treatment, as your lashes are still susceptible to the effects of the drugs. Ideally, you’ll want to wait until your natural lashes are less fragile. Ask your doctor about using natural oils on your lashes to help nourish the follicles back to health.
Try Strip Lashes Occasionally
While you don’t want to put any undue stress on your lashes, it’s possible to use a lightweight strip lash on special occasions. I recommend the following lightweight strip lashes from our Glad Girl Strip Lash Kits, which come with adhesive and a plastic applicator and are available in many different styles.
How to Apply Strip Lashes
Your eyes and eyelashes are particularly sensitive, so opt for a type of strip lash that is less likely to cause an allergic reaction, such as strip lashes made from natural materials like human hair, rather than synthetics. Before applying, test for any allergic reactions to the adhesive glue as well.
- Measure the lashes against your eyelid, and then trim the lashes so that they fall just short of the inner area of your eye.
- Line your eyelid to mark where you want to apply the lashes. It makes the application process easier, and gives you a visibly smooth line.
- Holding the lashes with the Strip Lash Applicator (you can also use tweezers, although they’re not as gentle on lashes), apply a thin layer of Strip Lash Glue to the base of the lashes with a toothpick or orange wood stick.
- Wait till the glue becomes tacky, and then carefully center the strip as close to your lashes as possible.
- Press gently down along your natural lash line, and hold for a few seconds while the glue bonds with your skin.
Be patient, beautiful! Your eyelashes will grow back and get stronger over time, and you’ll be flaunting long, luscious lashes once again.
Our fundraising efforts continue until the end of October, with $1 from every Glad Lash sale donated to Susan G. Komen organization. View Pink Sale Products.