Prather will sometimes start patients on a non-prescription option first, like RevitaLash, which features a complex containing biotin, green tea extract, antioxidants, and peptides. “Because Latisse can be irritating for some people and can also result in redness or increased pigment in the areas treated, I will typically start with RevitaLash nightly to the lash line.” If this is well-tolerated and the patient wants longer lashes, she’ll then add in Latisse.
But before you can proceed with a treatment for eyelash loss, you have to know the cause. We spoke to the experts about the reasons you may be noticing a lack of lashes — and after you read about it, talk to your doctor.
“If you’re experiencing something new with your hair or skin, it’s always best to have your board-certified dermatologist take a look,” Mraz Robinson says. “Sometimes it’s related to a moment in time, but sometimes it can be related to an underlying medical issue and that’s what we’re here to help you with.”
1. You may be dealing with stress or trauma
“It’s common to see excessive hair shedding when we’re experiencing a surge in stress,” Mraz Robinson tells Allure, and hair can include eyelashes. She says this type of hair loss is called telogen effluvium, often correlated to a stressful event like an illness, surgery, or emotional stress. “The stress triggers more hairs than usual to enter the telogen or ‘resting’ phase of the hair growth cycle, which can leave your scalp, brows, and eyelashes looking thinner,” she says.
Another way stress could impact hair thinning, Mraz Robinson says, is behavior. “We tend to rub our faces and eyes more when we are stressed or even pick or pull at our lashes,” she explains.
2. You may have underlying medical conditions
Although Prather says trauma is the most common cause of eyelash loss, it can sometimes be traced to a medical condition.
“If you notice missing patches of eyelashes, it can be from an autoimmune condition called alopecia areata that can cause inflammation at the hair follicle, resulting in hair or eyelash loss,” she tells Allure.
According to Mraz Robinson, hormones can also play a role. “If your thinning isn’t correlated to stress or behavior and feels ever-present, you should talk to your doctor about other causes of alopecia, which can be due to hormonal and/or endocrine shifts,” she says. The doctor may want to rule out conditions such as lupus or lichen planuspilaris, other autoimmune disorders.
3. You may be dealing with inflammation, infection, or irritation
“Infections on the lash line, such as styes, can often result in significant inflammation that can result in eyelash loss,” Prather says, urging anyone with signs of an infection, like tenderness and swelling, to reach out to a doctor ASAP.