There are loads of lash serums out there, most of which contain peptides and keratin boosters and are generally classed as cosmetics. The first lash-boosting products hit the market almost a decade ago, and are now available to buy over the counter in shops and online. But what you may not know is that they all came from a licensed medication, prescribed by an eye doctor for people with glaucoma. Eye drops with a little bimatoprost in them were used to control intraocular pressure, but it was discovered that the drug had an unexpected side effect: the lashes of those using it got longer and fuller, even after stopping the treatment. The drug was relabelled to be sold for the purpose of growing thicker and darker eyelashes, which is what we now have known as Latisse or Lumigan in the UK.
The US FDA approved this product for lash growth, but it is not yet licensed in the UK for any other treatment. The UK equivalent, Lumigan, is prescription only, meaning that you have to get a doctor to prescribe it for you before you can start using it. It also has to go through rigorous testing and monitoring to make sure that it is safe. Once you have a prescription, however, it is a simple case of applying the ophthalmic solution once daily to the base of the upper eyelashes (avoiding the lower lid). It takes around 10 to 30 days before you begin to see results, and the maximum effect will be reached at 16 weeks.
It’s a well-known fact that PGAs (paradoxical activators of the prostaglandin) work by extending the anagen phase, so allowing the follicle to grow hair for longer. But bimatoprost goes a step further, and actually boosts the number of follicles that enter the anagen phase, rather than just increasing their length. It’s an amazing innovation, and the resulting product is the first and only PGA to be FDA-approved for lash growth.
So, it’s not surprising that it has been such a hit. In fact, the company that made it, Allergan (the same team that brought you Botox) have already been working on a bimatoprost scalp hair loss treatment, which is expected to be available in 2018.
In the meantime, there are non-prescription products on the market containing a low dose of the drug, so that they can be sold as cosmetics instead of drugs. They can still help your lashes to grow longer and thicker, but they are unlikely to give the same dramatic effects as Latisse. They do, however, offer similar benefits for your lashes, such as increased hydration, peptides, amino acids, and clover and ginseng extracts, all of which have been shown to be effective at encouraging lash growth. Many of them are also oil-free, so are perfect for use on sensitive skin. They are often less expensive than prescription lash growth serums, too. bimatoprost eyelash serum uk