Is Latisse the New Rogaine for Eyelashes?
I’m so up in the air about this product that I find myself having a hard time organizing my thoughts, so I apologize if this post is a little scatter-brained. I was flipping through this months Allure when I came across an ad for a prescription drug called Latisse, a new treatment for a condition called Hypotrichosis. The ad features Brooke Shields looking at the camera with sultry, bedroom eyes and advertising buzz words floating around her head, “Not enough lashes? GROW them!” I knew at once what this drug was, but even after some time, I’m still on the fence on how I feel about it. So I’ve decided to ask you, dear readers, What you do think about Latisse?
I’ll give you a little background. First off what is Hypotrichosis? According to the website of American Hair Loss Association:
Hypotrichosis is the term dermatologists use to describe a condition of no hair growth. Unlike alopecia, which describes hair loss where formerly there was hair growth, hypotrichosis describes a situation where there wasn’t any hair growth in the first place. Hypotrichoses (plural) then are conditions that affect individuals right from birth and usually stay with them throughout their lives.
The explanation on the back of the Latisse ad:
Hypotrichosis is another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes.
So now, what is Latisse? According to the Latisse website:
Latisse solution is a prescription treatment for hypotrichosis used to grow eyelashes, making them longer, thicker and darker.
What Latisse really is, is an off label (well not anymore, Latisse had been FDA approved) use of Lumigan, a topically applied eye drop used to treat Glaucoma. One of the side effects of Lumigan was that, with daily use, Glaucoma patients began growing out of this world eyelashes. Latisse is also topical, but comes in a tube/brush combo that is brushed along the top lash line of your upper eyelid once every evening.
I’ve personally seen how well it works as a former co-worker of mine had a client who had Glaucoma in one eye so he only medicated the affected eye. The results over the coming months was shocking as his treated eye had the most beautiful fan of eyelashes I have ever, ever…ever seen. Elizabeth Taylor eat-your-heart-out kind of lashes. Enviable, maybe-give-up-a-small-body-part kind of lashes. I also found out that while the effects of Lumigan are cumulative and relatively quick, like Rogaine, if you stop treatment your lashes will go back to their normal density.
After a few months of treatment I noticed something else, his treated eye color was starting to change. Parts of his iris were changing from light blue to a much deeper color, almost like spots. This pigmentation was also a side effect of Lumigan and, unfortunately, it’s permanent. When I learned about this I realized why it wasn’t taking the beauty world by storm and accepted that if I ever developed Glaucoma (I just cursed myself here) at least I would have the best lashes in the world.
However, I began hearing about off label use by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons maybe two years ago, but was still a little disturbed by it. I’m not sure why, but it just seemed, knowing what I did about the drops, excessive, dangerous and an overindulgence by rich housewives who have their cosmetic surgeons on speed dial. Then, the inevitable happened on December 5, 2008, the FDA approved bimatoprost (lumigan) for the cosmetic use of darkening and lengthening eyelashes.
So now there is an FDA approved, prescription only lash revitalizer that really works, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. The side effects listed on the Latisse website are a little scary as it includes: skin darkening, eye irritation, dryness of the eyes and redness of the eyelids, which all sounded unpleasant, but bearable. But then there was this little gem in the special warnings section of the FAQ’s:
DO NOT APPLY to the lower eyelid… use may cause darkening of the eyelid skin which may be reversible…use may also cause increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye which is likely to be permanent.
And the part that made me laugh out loud:
It is possible for hair growth to occur in other areas of your skin that Latisse frequently touches. Any excess solution outside the upper eyelid margin should be blotted with a tissue or other absorbent material to reduce the chance of this from happening. It is also possible for a difference in eyelash length, thickness, fullness, pigmentation, number of eyelash hairs, and/or direction of eyelash growth to occur between eyes.
Does this mean that you could have eyes with wacky out of control lashes? If you get it under the eye too much, they are going to get all furry and start sprouting hair? I mean I know these scenarios are highly unlikely, but they still crossed my mind. Why does this product bother me so much when I once would have killed for a chance at having those lush lashes? When I know that there are millions of women out there who will rejoice when they discover Latisse?
I think it’s the advertising campaign. I think they should just call a spade a spade, as they now do with Botox, and call it a cosmetic, not a treatment for a real condition. It can be prescribed by any doctor and the website has numerous ways to find a doctor in your area, so let’s just call it what it is. A cosmetic solution to grow new lashes available to anyone who asks for it and is willing to pay for it. I guess I’m just sick of drug companies and their constant you-have-something-wrong-with-you attitude.
So what do you think? Are you jumping up calling your doctor right now so you can try Latisse? Am I being irrational and panicky even though the FDA has approved dangerous drugs before? Are you currently using Latisse and loving it? I guess I’m just being cautious, but I can’t get that old adage out of my head, “If it looks to0 good to be true it probably is.”