Loss of Eyelashes: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

The eyes can do a lot of talking. They’re not called the windows to the soul for nothing. The eyebrows and eyelashes are just as integral to the beauty and mystique of the eyes as the eyes themselves. So you can imagine what horror must plague those who lose their eye lashes. We all lose eye lashes regularly. It is part of the body’s natural way – to shed the old so that the new can take its place. However, the loss of eyelashes we’re talking about today is anything but normal. Medically termed madarosis, it involves losing so many eyelashes that it becomes obvious and unsightly. The Loss of eyelashes can affect women, men and children for different reasons. Let’s take a closer look at this condition.

Causes of Eyelash Loss

Loss of eyelashes

  • Sleeping with your makeup on can definitely cause you to lose your eyelashes in the long run, especially if this is something you do on a regular basis.
  • Even if you do not sleep with your makeup on, there may be something in it that you are allergic to. Your eye and face makeup should be tested to figure out what it is.
  • Do you wear waterproof mascara? Then you know how hard it is to take it off at the end of the day. You have to rub your eyes and pull at your lashes to ensure that you get out those last bits. All that tugging and rubbing isn’t doing your eyelashes any favors. It weakens the eyelashes at the follicles and causes it them to fall out if you repeat this behavior too often.
  • If your wear false eyelashes too often, this too can lead to loss of eyelashes for the same reason as the previous point. There may not be the same amount of tugging or rubbing involved, but wearing fake eyelashes will weaken your natural eyelashes as a result of the chemical reaction caused by the glue used to stick them on.
  • There may be an underlying health problem that is causing loss of eyelashes. For example, alopecia areata is a condition where the body’s immune system goes haywire and starts to attack hair follicles. This can lead to not just loss of eyelashes but loss of hair on the head and body as well.
  • Other disorders of the autoimmune system such as lupus can also cause loss of eyelashes.
  • Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy will lose their hair as a side effect of the chemo. Eyelash loss will occur too.
  • Trichotillomania - a psychological condition characterized by the uncontrollable urge to pick at hair on the head, eyebrows and eyelashes – may also be attributed to eyelash loss in some cases.
  • Certain skin diseases will also result in loss of eyelashes.
  • In the same way that stress can lead to hair fall, it can also cause eyelash loss in some people.
  • Thyroid issues can lead to eyelash loss as well. Hypothyroidism or hormonal imbalances have long been known to affect the growth and loss of hair and nails.
  • Some medications have nasty side effects like loss of eyelashes, especially the stronger drugs that require a prescription.
  • Eye infections such as blepharitis can also result in loss of eyelashes.
  • An extreme nutritional deprivation such as the kind caused by the eating disorders anorexia nervosa or bulimia can also result in loss of eyelashes. This is because the body barely has enough fuel to run the essential functions needed to survive, so it’s not going to spend the precious little energy it does have on conserving eye lashes.
  • It’s not just the extreme cases of malnourishment that will suffer from loss of eyelashes though. If you have recently gone on a diet – especially one that is lower on calories than your body is used to or which cuts out on several food items – then you may get a lower protein intake which may also lead to loss of eyelashes.
  • You may be receiving a visit from a mite! This tiny creature will cause infections that make your eyelashes fall out.
  • In rare cases, spontaneous eyelash loss may occur. Here, the eyelashes simply fall out for no discernible reason whatsoever.

Symptoms of Eyelash Loss

  • The main symptom is pretty self-explanatory – there will be fewer eyelashes because of the loss of eyelashes. So there may be bits on the eye lid where there are few or no eye lashes at all.
  • The eyelashes that may appear broken.
  • If loss of eyelashes is caused by infection, then there may be redness or itching.

Treatment for Loss of Eyelashes

Loss of Eyelashes Causes Symptoms, Treatment PreventionLoss of Eyelashes – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

The treatment for this condition will depend wholly on the cause of it. For example, if the eyelash loss is due to wearing makeup while you sleep, then you’ll need to stop doing this before your eyelashes can grow back. You may also have to avoid wearing makeup altogether for some time, depending on the severity of your condition. If it is chemotherapy that is causing the loss, then there is no choice but to wait till a few months after the end of the therapy when the body’s systems go back to normal.

In the case of trichotillomania, cognitive and behavioural therapy as well as regular counseling sessions will be needed to identify the root of the self-destructive behaviour. It is only then that the problem can be overcome. Trichotillomania is usually about control issues that come up when an individual feels unable and powerless to cope with their own lives.

You can also take steps to encourage the eyelashes to grow back more rapidly. There are prescription medications and eyelash growth serums available which will help your eyelashes return to their former glory, provided you ensure that you take other steps as well to take care of your eye lashes in the meantime such as taking care to remove your makeup, using less eye makeup in general and wearing sun glasses when you are outside to prevent sun damage.

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