If you find yourself wearing falsies and layering on mascara to get the eyelashes you want, there may be a better option. What if you could get your own lashes to grow thicker, longer and darker? It’s possible! Our on-staff doctor is able to prescribe a solution for thin, short lashes (hypotrichosis). It’s called Latisse®, and it’s a clinically-proven formula for increasing eyelash length and thickness. You can get it at our Surrey cosmetic clinic after a consultation to determine your eligibility for the product (for health and safety reasons).
The Latisse® product is FDA and Health Canada approved for aesthetic use. Its main ingredient, bimatoprost, has been used medically since 2001, under the brand name, Lumigan® (though, the two are not interchangeable prescriptions). It has been used cosmetically since 2008 in the USA, and 2010 in Canada. It is made by Allergan – the same, reputable company behind the Botox® and Juvederm® injectables, which we also use at our medi-spa in Surrey.
What is there to love about this eyelash growth solution?
Latisse® is an easy-to-use, nightly treatment for longer lashes, which you can do at home. It goes on as a liquid applied to the base of the eyelid, kind of like putting on eyeliner. In just 2 to 4 months, you’ll see improvements to your natural eyelashes in terms of length, thickness and darkness. It beats having to put on falsies every day!
Its formula, when used correctly, is an almost sure-fire way to guarantee eyelash growth and volume. In a clinical study, 78% of participants saw improvements to their eyelash length and volume. Overall, the report concluded that Latisse® treatments resulted in 25% longer eyelashes – lashes which were 106% thicker and 18% darker, too.
Overtime, the cost of using Latisse® decreases, as you’ll need less of it to maintain results.
If you want your eyelashes to go back to the way they were, you can simply stop using Latisse®, and you’ll get just that! It will take a few weeks to a few months for your eyelashes to return to their initial state (i.e. where they were at before having started with this lash extender product).
All you need to apply Latisse® comes in its package – both the solution itself and the applicators needed for dispensing the liquid in the right dosage to your eyelids. You won’t need to buy any extra materials or tools to use it.
What can Latisse® be used for?
The Latisse® solution is used cosmetically to help eyelashes grow. It can also be used to encourage eyebrow hair growth, with the guidance of a doctor.
In short: it lengthens eyelash hairs and eyebrow hairs.
The active ingredient in Latisse®, bimatoprost, is used medically to treat eye conditions like glaucoma. However, if you feel you have an vision problem that could benefit from bimatoprost, please see a doctor for a proper evaluation and prescription. The dosing and strength of the Latisse® cosmetic product is not designed for medical needs. And, a doctor should be monitoring your health when using any prescription medication.
How does Latisse® work to grow lashes?
The medical ingredient in Latisse® has been used since 2001 to treat glaucoma and pressure in the eye. It is called bimatoprost, and is a liquid, ophthalmic (eye) solution. It is sold under the brand name, Lumigan®. However, while being used that way, it was discovered it can also treat hypotrichosis, which is the scientific name for short, thin lashes.
In 2008, the FDA in the United States cleared Latisse® for use as a cosmetic product, specifically to grow eyelashes. It became available in Canada in 2010.
The difference between the glaucoma drug and the eyelash treatment solution is mainly in the concentration and application of bimatoprost. The two prescriptions are not interchangeable, and that’s important to know!
Latisse® is made up of 0.03% bimatoprost, along with some other stabilizers and purified water. Latisse® is applied to the base of the upper eyelid, like eyeliner, whereas Lumigan® is used as an eye drop.
The funny thing is that while scientists can see that bimatoprost helps to boost the anagen phase of the hair cycle (the growth stage), they don’t know why. All hair on the human body goes through cycles of dormancy and growth. When using Latisse® on your upper lashes, the hair in that area stays in the anagen phase longer, and more hairs enter that stage at the same time, too. So, it gives the appearance of thicker, longer eyelashes.
However, the length of time your hair stays in the anagen phase is also the key to understanding why continual, regular use of Latisse® is important (to get the results you want). Once you stop giving your lashes that ‘boost’ they need to keep growing, they go back to their ‘normal’ growth cycles. And for some, that can mean thin, short lashes.
The most important thing about using Latisse® safely and effectively will have to do with the way you apply it. Most of the ‘action’ happens with you, at home, and not with a cosmetic medical doctor, like much of our other beauty solutions. So it will be important that you follow instructions and precautions carefully to avoid infection or side-effects. These instructions will be given to you with your prescription. Some are also explained on this page.
Since Latisse® is a drug, it is also important that you reveal your entire medical history to the doctor that prescribes it to you. At our clinic, before giving out a Latisse® prescription, we’ll ask you to come in for a consultation. At that time, we can explain how to use it, answer any questions you may have, and ensure you are a good candidate for the product. Not everyone will be cleared to use this product, as promising and dazzling as it may sound! Remember: there is a reason it’s not sold over the counter. But that said, it is generally safe for most people.
How many treatments does Latisse® require to get noticeably longer lashes?
Latisse® is a ‘use it or lose it’ solution for thicker, longer eyelashes. If you discontinue its use, your eyelashes will go back to the way they were.
That said, it can take roughly 4 – 6 weeks of nightly applications to see the initial results of Latisse®. The product is not done its job at that stage though!
Full growth is achieved at around 16 weeks (4 months). That is the point at which you’ll see the full effect of Latisse® – that is, the maximum result you’ll get from it. Though, some report that full growth comes at 2 months. It all depends on the person. However, you should not stop using it daily until you’ve reached the 16 week (4 month) mark.
After the initial 4 months of usage, some people reduce their treatments to twice a week, just to maintain results. And that works fine for some. However, each person will react differently to the bimatoprost in Latisse®. So the frequency you’ll need after the initial 16 week period will be case-specific. You are welcome to work with our skin clinic’s doctor, to determine what’s best for you.
Latisse® will not grow more hair any quicker by adding more solution to each treatment. It is meant to be used a little bit at a time, in a steady, regular way. If you accidentally miss a treatment, just pick up where you left off, with the normal dose. Don’t try to add double the amount of liquid on your next application, for instance.
Are there side effects to using Latisse®? What about downtime?
Generally, there are little to no side effects to using Latisse®. It is a fairly safe treatment for eyelash growth. However, some basic precautions should be taken, which we’ll explain below.
Very few people – that is, less than 1-4% – report side effects from Latisse®. However, even those unusual side effects are usually not permanent (such as blurry vision, eyelid irritation or discolouration of the eyelid skin). If you experience anything out of the norm, please contact us right away, so we can have a look and advise on next steps. Even if you are not sure if it was from the ingredients in Latisse®, we encourage you to call us anyway.
Also rare, but possible, is that each of your eyes may grow lashes of a different size, pigment, direction or thickness. This problem can be solved by stopping your usage of Latisse® altogether. Your eyelashes will simply go back to the way they were, in due time.
Since the administration of Latisse® on your eyes will be done by you, at home, a lot of the safety implications will depend on your method of application. This is important. For example, removing contact lenses first, washing face and hands before application, using only the one-time sanitary swabs for each treatment and avoiding direct contact with the inner part of the eye are all necessary. Not following the product instructions precisely could lead to eye infections or other side effects, which you’ll want to avoid. Instructions will come in the package you’ll get from us, after you are prescribed Latisse® by our on-staff physician at our Surrey medical spa.
It’s ok if some of the Latisse® solution gets in your eye, though you’ll want to avoid that happening in excess. Too much can darken the iris permanently, especially in light-coloured eyes. Never dispense this product directly from the bottle into your eye or eyelids, or by using any other applicators except the ones provided in the package – especially not your fingers! Latisse® should also not be used on lower eyelid lashes. Be sure to blot away any drips of the solution that fall around your eyes during application. Hair growth can happen in unintended places with this product!
As mentioned above, please remember that using more Latisse® for each treatment does not help your eyelashes grow any faster – even if you missed a day or two of treatments. The dosing of this product’s aesthetic usage is designed to help eyelashes grow, without affecting other parts of the eye. You’ll just be wasting product by applying more than necessary. Or worse, opening yourself up to the possibility of side-effects.
If you have a tendency towards dry eyes, or wear contact lenses, you may need eye drops to keep your eyes hydrated while using Latisse®. Also, be sure not to put in your contact lenses for about 15 minutes following the application of Latisse®.
Like any doctor-vendored medication, no one should share their Latisse® prescription with anyone else – no matter how harmless it may seem. Some people are not eligible for Latisse®. For this reason, a doctor’s advice and consultation is needed before using it. This is also why it is not sold over the counter.
Those who are pregnant, or who have allergies to the ingredients in Latisse® should not, of course, use this product. If you have vision problems, eye problems or eye injuries, you will also want to avoid Latisse® until getting cleared by your doctor to use it. The same goes if you have any dermal (skin) issues around your eyes.
If you have a bottle of Latisse® solution you no longer want to use, you should still consult your city regulations, or a doctor, about how to dispose of it. We would advise that you don’t share it with another person, even that person has been given a prescription for the product as well.
What is the cost of Latisse® prescriptions at your Surrey clinic?
Each one-month supply of Latisse® at our Surrey clinic costs $199 CAD for a 5 ML bottle (a 3 ML bottle costs $129, though we don’t carry this). It comes with 60 applicators – one for each eye, meant to be used once daily. Applicators must be thrown away after use, for safety.
As mentioned above, after the initial 16-weeks (4 months) of using this product nightly, some people are able to reduce their treatments to roughly twice a week, and still see continued results.
Latisse® is not covered by Medical Services Plan in B.C., as it is considered a cosmetic prescription product.
Please note that if you have a covered prescription of bimatoprost (Lumigan®) for glaucoma or eye pressure, you should not attempt to use it in place of Latisse® for eyelash growth. The two drugs are not interchangeable, even though their active ingredient is the same.