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Published On: Fri, Mar 21st, 2014

Painful beauty of fake eyelashes

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The quest for outstanding beauty has made many try out various beauty treatments, such as surgery and body extensions.

One of the most popular is eyelash extension and eyelash surgery; procedures that give people thick, luscious and longer lashes.

This trend has become popular in the fashion world, that it is now almost a must for women seeking to look glamorous.

The procedure involves sitting still while applying glue to the eyelids, to keep the extensions in place with the aid of a sharp object.

In Nigeria, many patronise the road side beauticians because their prices are cheap.

Blessing Akachukwu, a beautician in Mararaba, Nasarawa State, said she charges between N300 and N700 depending on the type, adding that it doesn’t take much time to fix.

While some go for the temporary extensions, others go for permanent extensions, which involve surgery.

A banker, Miss Tolani Abubakar, says the extension makes her happy.

“Whenever I fix them, I’m happy because they look so natural and people just stare at my new long thick lashes.”

Mrs. Mercy Auve, a hairstylist says, “naturally I have thin lashes and a few bald spots in my lash line, so I decided to try eyelash extensions to see if they could help.

“Now with them I feel like a celebrity and it makes me look more beautiful.’’

Mrs. Amoge Adu-Ibrahim, a lawyer, says like any other beauty procedure or treatment, it helps to enhance a woman’s facial beauty.

“To me, if you can have hair extensions, why can’t you have eyelash extensions?’’ she asked.

Mr. Innocent Okri, a plumber, said he doesn’t know why women have to do it as they naturally look beautiful.

“I don’t like it because it makes them look too artificial and they resemble baby dolls, and that doesn’t go well with me.’’

However, Mr. Isaac Ogor, a civil servant, said there’s nothing wrong with women making extra effort to make themselves look more beautiful.

Nevertheless, experts say going the extra mile to be glamorous may have attendant health risks.

According to an Optometrist, Dr. Michael Ezinne of Quality Eye-Care, Ikeja, Lagos, improper use of eyelash extension could cause “traction alopecia.’’

This is a condition where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft.

“As a result, this can damage the hair follicle in the eye, which can slow down and even cease production of hair.’’

Ezinne said that the false lashes could also trap dirt and bacteria, cause irritation, among others.

Singer and actress Kristin Chenoweth, after suffering an adverse effect, told David Letterman on the “Late Show,’’ a talk show aired in the U.S. that she developed an allergic reaction to the glue that held the extensions in place.

This, she said, was because the glue contained formaldehyde, which made her eye swell up, caused her to sneeze and make her “look like I have lips on my eyelids.’’

A consultant Ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Clinic in Abuja, Dr. Stephen Ume, said apart from the itchiness, other reactions include swelling of the eyes.

He also said that many of the people that carry out the procedure, lacked the skills to handle the chemicals, resulting to eye irritation called kurtosis.

“People come in here with their eyes filled with puss after fixing eyelash extensions, because the eyes have been infected with whatever was used in fixing the extensions.

“You also see people that tug and pull the lashes, and that can lead to alopecia, which is loss of hair follicles, so you have people who after years of wearing extensions have no eyelash left. Most times you see them pulling the eyelashes, and when they do that, it’s the natural lashes that fall off and then they begin to have bald spots. ’’

According to Ume, another condition called stye (swelling at the edge of the eyelids) could also arise as a result of the eyelash extensions.

“Oil glands produced by the eyelid is used to moisturise and lubricate the eyes and these glands can actually get infected or blocked by the use of eyelash extensions, so you see people having things like boil on the upper or lower eyelid because the oil glands were blocked.’’

He however said that if women must fix eyelash extensions, they should go to professionals. “The eyes are very delicate and we cannot allow chemicals to keep getting into them because after a while they get toxic”, he stated.

“Even if you have to fix them, it shouldn’t be all the time; give your eyes a break and let them rejuvenate, because if you have it day in day out, you will cause damage to the eyes.

“If anything goes wrong, the first thing the person should do is to keep the eyes open, and thoroughly wash away the chemicals with clean water, then seek medical attention’, he further said.

He kicked against eyelash surgery, because it may alter the original arrangement of the eyelash.

“The eyelash of the eyelid is supposed to grow out, and when that surgery is done it can actually alter the contour or shape of the eyelids. So, instead of growing out, they begin to grow in and begin to irritate the eye, and as such anything can happen to the eye. When that happens or in the case of a mistake it becomes difficult to correct,’’ he said.

Experts have given their opinion, it is for those who want to enhance their facial beauty through eyelash extension to take the decision, whether to continue or not. (NAN)


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