Lashing Out Against Latisse

When I first saw Latisse advertised, I was dumbfounded. A prescription drug designed to grow longer eyelashes? How is it possible that doctors can create miracle drugs for “inadequate eyelashes” and yet I’ve been walking around with a cough for weeks?

Latisse claims to treat hypotrichosis, an abnormal hair growth condition. Unsurprisingly, the pharmaceutical company turned “inadequate eyelashes” into an urgent cosmetic condition.

In order for the FDA to approve a drug, it must diagnose, prevent or treat a condition. Latisse began as a glaucoma medicine called Lumigan and was approved by the FDA in 2001. During clinical trials, participants noted drastic eyelash growth as a side effect.

According to its Web site, 1.5 million kits have been prescribed- by doctors! The FDA-approved drug is the first and only drug designed to fix the inadequate eyelash problem plaguing the nation.

Despite suffering from hypotrichosis, Brooke Shields beat the odds and went on to become a super model.

Latisse is available by prescription only. This means that women with sparse eyelashes are expected to leave their houses and face the harsh scrutiny of society. I imagine a waiting room full of women, crying with insufficient eyelashes to stop their tears.

“Doctor! I am a monster! Please prescribe me this or I will be unloved forever!”

The drug claims to give users longer, fuller, darker lashes in just 16 weeks. A 16-week application kit costs about $120 a month. Good thing the Web site offers a $20 rebate!

Although the commercials credit Allergan as having 60 years of “eye care expertise” I am not convinced.

Side effects for the drug include “increased brown pigmentation of the colored part of the eye,” itching, redness and burning. Eyelid darkening may occur but may be reversible. In other words, it may not be.

Eye pruritus, conjunctival hyperemia, skin hyperpigmentation, ocular irritation, dry eye symptoms and erythema of the eyelid are just some of the problems likely to occur. Once treatment is stopped, eyelashes will return to inadequacy. The FDA warns that continued contact with the outside skin can cause unwanted hair growth.

Check out the rest of the side effects:

Does this seem worth it? I can’t remember the last time I heard girls in a bar bathroom trash talking another girl for her lack of luscious lashes.

Like any designer drug, Latisse has its fair share of celebrity endorsers. Claire Danes and Brooke Shields have signed on as compensated spokeswomen. After pictures of Danes remind me of small spiders creeping from someplace behind her corneas.

The company has spent nearly $15 billion on convincing women they are inadequate. Latisse advertisements downplay the dangers and convince women they have a very real eyelash problem. Ads like these imply genetics have done women wrong and prescription drugs are the only solution.

Why aren’t we focusing on curing real conditions? What ever happened to cancer, diabetes or even AIDS?

If you want longer, fuller and darker lashes, I suggest a coat of mascara. Your eyes won’t change color and you don’t need a prescription.

But if the 1980s taught me anything…

…Lay off the falsies.

For more information, check out these links:

Consumer Reports Health Blog

About Sarah James

I am a senior public relations student at Kent State University. I hope to one day work for a nonprofit. I enjoy knitting, writing and biking.
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4 Responses to Lashing Out Against Latisse

  1. SaraPetee says:

    Sarah–

    I completely agree. Why would any woman *need* longer eyelashes? I was born with really long, thick eyelashes, and yes, they look nice, but come ON.

    This is merely a company trying to cash in on women’s insecurities and need to be seen beautiful by the public eye.

    Too bad that any woman who wants to make her eyelashes longer to make her beautiful blue eyes seem more appealing will turn brown. Gross.

    • Aubrey Haskins says:

      I started laughing out loud when I read the beginning of your post, because when I saw the commercial and the ads I thought the same thing. It is so funny what advertising can do for a persons appearance. Growing up I was always told that “everyone was beautiful just the way they are.” Most people, including the people telling me that, were probably doing things and using creams to help make them look even more beautiful (at least they thought so.) I am not saying I never tried a new cream for acne or tried to get rid of my dark circles around my eyes, but after reading your post I know feel a little stupid for even doing that. So many other people in the world are worse off than the length of your eyelashes. If that is your only problem, be happy!

  2. Terri Rovelli says:

    having my eye color change or the eyelash darken would be mild. After only 2 nights or 2 drops of latisse,I began to have blurred vision especially in my right eye where I applied more of the product and actually the inside of the right eye. I have lost my long distance sight and have trouble reading after 15 minutes or so even with the new glasses that I was forced to buy. I have retired and planned to catch up on my reading. I am currently having many tests done to prove what this product caused and am looking for others who have had similar horrendous effects. I also want to locate any class action lawsuit.

  3. Denice says:

    I have cataracts at age 43. In December 2009 I started Latisse. Used it for about a year. In May of 2011 I was diagnosed with full blown cataracts that require lens replacement surgery. Didn’t have even a hint of cataracts in previous eye exams before Latisse. I am convinced that Latisse causes blindness!

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