Eyelash Extension Allergic Reactions vs Irritations: What’s the difference?

While eyelash extension allergic reactions  are quite uncommon, they can still occur. Dealing with a client who is experiencing a reaction can be one of the worst parts of being a lash artist. Having to inform the client that they will need a removal is the worst. However, it is important to know the signs of an allergic reaction and to be able to differentiate between an allergy and irritation. This will help make the best judgement call to insure your client’s safety.

As a professional lash artist, you clients will come to you looking for advice and knowledge on lashes. While it is important to never give clients medical advice of any kind, it is important to stay educated on these topics. We suggest passing your knowledge along to your clients, in order to keep them both informed and safe.

*Always ask new clients to sign a waiver and release form prior to starting the service. This waiver should indicate the risks that are involved with lash extensions.

It is important to know the difference between an allergy and an irritation. While clients will often associate any sort of reaction as an allergy, they are more than likely actually experiencing an irritation. While some of warning signs between an irritation and an allergy may be similar, there are a few key differences.

Eyelash Extension Allergic Reactions:

Reactions to lash extensions are rare and can show up in different forms. The most common: swollen eyes/eyelids, redness of the cornea, itchiness or discomfort around the eye area. These symptoms are likely to show up within the first 48 hours post application. They typically don’t subside over time.  Reactions are likely to become increasingly worse and more dramatic the more the client is exposed to the allergen.

When a client is experiencing an allergic reaction to their lash extensions, it is most often because they are allergic to cyanoacrylate. It is the base ingredient that is found in all lash adhesives. It is this key ingredient that solidifies when curing. This creates a strong bond between the natural lash and extension.  And, unfortunately can not be left out of the adhesive. If the reaction is an actual allergy, the symptoms they are experiencing will not subside until the adhesive is completely removed from the lashes.

Sensitive adhesives still contain this ingredient, but in smaller doses. Sensitive adhesive is a great option for clients that have sensitivities.

 

As with any other chemical or substance, a client can develop an allergic reaction to the adhesive at any point in time. Even if they have been exposed to it before, with no prior reactions. As with other allergies, symptoms can become stronger and more severe over time, especially if the individual is continually exposed to the allergen after the initial reaction.

Therefore, if the initial reaction has not completely subsided in 24-48 hours post application, leaving the lash extensions on or continuing to re-expose the client to the allergen. By doing fills every couple of weeks will likely only worsen the problem over time.

If your client is experiencing a true allergic reaction, it is advised that your client take an antihistamine. Also, the lash extensions should also be removed as soon as possible.

Because most adhesives have the same base ingredient in them, clients who have experienced a true allergic reaction in the past, are likely to again. However, there are some things that you can to to help minimize these reactions if they want to try lashes again. Do a patch test or using a sensitive adhesive.

Irritations:

While irritations can have similar signs to allergies, they are often less severe and subside after the adhesive is cured . This occurs typically within the first 24 hours post application. Often even just hours after. Irritations that can cause redness and itching. It is often the body’s reaction to the fumes being released from the adhesive as it cures. These irritations are likely to subside quickly and become more mild as time goes on.

Irritations may also occur when a client is experiencing seasonal allergies or if their eyes tend to be more sensitive in general.

Here are some helpful tips that you can try to help minimize reactions and irritations during and after the lash application:

  • Lash in a well ventilated room and use a fan to disperse fumes away from the eyes.
  • Ditch the primer & pre-cleanse lashes with saline solution instead.
  • Skip the lash pads & use medical tape instead.
  • Use less glue (less glue = fewer fumes and faster curing time).
  • Use a nano mister (for quicker curing).
  • Explain aftercare to client & the importance of keeping lashes clean.

However, no matter how many adjustments you make to minimize eyelash extension allergic reactions, there is a possibility that your client could still have a reaction. And, if they do, it is likely going to continue and worsen over time. It would be best to remove their lash extensions as soon as possible. If they are experiencing only mild irritations post application and they would prefer to keep their lashes on for a day or two to see if the irritation will subside, be sure to check back with them in 24-48 hours to make sure the symptoms have passed.

It is important to stay educated and knowledgeable. Be able to recognize the warning signs of eyelash extension allergic reactions. In turn, this keeps your clients safe. However, it’s very important that you never give your clients any medical advice. If they are experiencing a severe reaction, or have any health concerns that may make them more susceptible to reactions, it is recommended that they consult with a healthcare professional as well.

 

Happy Lashing!
XOXO, Julie @ The Lash Professional