“No pain, no gain,” the motto goes. While aerobic workout videos in the 1980s and actress Jane Fonda popularized the idiom, the popular saying also applies to fashion and beauty. You can’t have fantabulous hair without paying the rightful cost of perms, and your feet may scream in agony as you wear fashionable Louboutins.
Experiencing discomfort during your first few lash extension appointments is also unavoidable. To help you overcome this painful journey, let’s learn about the ins and outs and the ups and downs of one common side effect of lash application: red eyes.
Going Rogue: All About Red Eye
You must have experienced getting bloodshot eyes once in your life. Red eye is a condition where the little vessels in the white portion of your eye (also known as the sclera) become inflamed due to various causes:
- Irritation due to debris
- Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation, bacterial)
- Conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva, bacterial or viral)
- Glaucoma (damage of the optic nerve).
Most cases of red eye are relatively harmless, although patients may also experience the following:
- Swollen or puffy eyes
- Stinging sensation
- May form eye discharge (can be watery or sticky)
- May affect vision (i.e., blurriness, loss of vision).
It can subside after a few hours or last for weeks, which may indicate an alarming underlying condition. It’s best to contact and visit a doctor if you’re still experiencing red eyes after a week and when it is accompanied by eye pain and affected vision.
How can lash extension applications cause red eyes?
Because lash extensions are applied near these precious organs, lash application may inevitably affect our eye health. So, it’s also important to make sure your lash artist is knowledgeable about these things before starting. From the products a lash artist will use to how they apply for the extensions, here are a couple of ways a lash application can cause red eyes.
Reaction to Adhesive Fumes
One of the most common reasons lash clients get red eyes is the lash adhesive. As you know, lash adhesives or glues contain various chemicals, specifically cyanoacrylates. In addition, lash adhesives chemically react to air and moisture during the curing and drying process, releasing strong formaldehyde fumes.
Formaldehyde fumes don’t mesh well with our eyes because they can cause the organs to water and feel a burning sensation, eventually leading to red eyes. These fumes may also cause dryness in the eyes.
If a client experiences red eye due to the adhesive fumes, they will likely experience bloodshot and watery eyes accompanied by a stinging sensation, if the process is not stopped instantly. Fortunately, their eyes won’t swell.
Another common reason is allergies. The ingredients of the lash adhesive, gel pads, tapes, or the extension itself can cause allergic reactions after a lash application. For example, some clients are allergic to carbon black, the main ingredient of black lash glue. Instead, lash technicians must use clear lash glue for such clients.
Some people may also react to the extension’s material, such as mink, silk, fox, and sable fur. As a result, lash artists will mainly use lash extensions made with synthetic materials, such as faux mink, faux silk, and many more.
If a client experiences red eyes due to allergic reactions, they may experience excessive redness and itchiness in their eyes. You may also notice swelling around the eye or of the eye itself.
The actual process of applying lashes can irritate the eyes. Inexperienced hands may accidentally poke the eye with tweezers. The gel pad, paper tape, or medical patch placement may also cause red eye. Placing these too near the eye’s waterline may irritate the organ.
Applying lashes with adhesive comes with its cons too. If mere curing fumes can cause such harsh and irritating effects, what more if an actual drop of the lash glue came in contact with your eyes? Accidentally getting a lash glue drop in your eye can lead to severe consequences, like eye pain and vision loss.
Equipment Maintenance & Lash Artist Hygiene
Of course, the equipment used for lash application and its state can also affect a person’s eyes. For example, bacteria and germs from unmaintained lash equipment can irritate the organ. Moreover, the lash technician’s hygiene also comes into play when discussing a client’s eye health.
To prevent red eye, the lash artist must practice proper sanitation for themselves and their equipment. Likewise, lash technicians must wash their hands before and after the appointment to ensure the safety of their clients.
Tools such as tweezers, brushes, and mirrors must be disinfected, sanitized, and sterilized before and after use to remove any bacteria, germs, and other organisms on them.
Remedies for Lash Extension-Related Red Eyes
Knowing what causes your red eye can help you figure out what to do to cure the condition and relieve your pain or discomfort. Here are some remedies to treat your red eyes after a lash extension appointment.
- Place a cold compress. Because some red eye cases come with swelling, a cold compress can help lessen the inflammation and reduce the puffiness around the eye.
- You can use eye drops to remove and wash away any allergens or irritants in the eye. In addition, they provide moisture to dry eyes. Eye drops containing antihistamines can relieve red eyes caused by allergic reactions.
- Drink prescribed antihistamine medicine. You can drink antihistamine tablets if you experience allergic reactions after lash extension application to treat the symptoms quickly.
- Apply hydrocortisone cream on the affected area. This cream can reduce the swelling, itching, and redness of your eyes. It is applied topically or by directly placing the cream on the skin.
Preventing and Dealing with Red Eyes
Prevention is always better than cure. There are several ways to ensure you won’t get red eyes after a lash appointment and prevent the condition from worsening.
- Ask for a patch test before your lash application. Doing so will inform your lash technician if you are allergic to any of the products and materials they have.
- Always prepare and clean the lashes before application. Doing so removes and washes away any possible bacteria or germs on your lashes, reducing the chance of getting red eyes.
- Immediately tell your lash artist if you feel discomfort during the application. Don’t wait until the last second to tell your technician that the gel pad or paper tape placement is irritating your eye.
- Don’t rub your eyes. We know it may alleviate the itchiness, but rubbing the eye is not the answer to your problems. The friction and the bacteria on your hands may further irritate your eyes.
- Don’t immediately remove extensions when an allergic reaction occurs. It may sound unsafe and unproductive, but you must wait until the reaction calms down. In addition, immediate removal of the lashes may cause more discomfort to the client.
Red eye is a highly bothersome but relatively harmless condition. However, if the condition remains untreated, it may develop into severe outcomes, like vision loss. Therefore, knowing how to prevent and treat the condition is important.
Discover more tips, tricks, and insights on all things fashion and beauty on our site!
Elizabeth Avery, a licensed hairstylist, is the Content Strategist & Brand Ambassador of Beauty Boss Academy. She’s also a social media queen who’s a lifelong lover of all things beauty. On an average day, she drinks lattes, sings show tunes, and shops for things that are pink and sparkly.