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Prescription vs. OTC: Eyelash growth serums

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Prescription vs. OTC: Eyelash growth serums
Prescription vs. OTC: Eyelash growth serums

by Kathleen Morrison, Lead Writer

October 25th, 2019

Eyelash growth serums have flooded the market in recent years. Cosmetic brands looking to expand beyond mascara have introduced all types of growth serums claiming to make your lashes longer, thicker, and darker. Castor oil is commonly touted in forums as being a cheap and natural way to encourage lash growth. But can these products compete with the prescription strength ingredients you get from a dermatologist? Read on to find out.

Prescription strength for longer lashes

There’s only one FDA-approved product that treats sparse and thinning lashes: Latisse®. Latisse’s active ingredient is bimatoprost which has been to make lashes grow longer and darker when applied every day. Latisse was initially approved as a glaucoma medication when patients noticed it had the additional effect of increasing the length and thickness of their lashes. The medication works by extending the growth phase of your eyelashes, which results in longer and darker lashes. If you’re interested in the science-y details, you can learn everything you need to know about Latisse on our blog (plus, learn how some are doing double duty by using it on their brows!).

Castor Oil

Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the bean of the castor tree. Many people believe the fatty acids in this oil are extra nourishing for the skin and it is often included in makeup and other cosmetic products. This ingredient is so common that those searching for sky-high lashes often cite the application of castor oil as a quick tip to getting longer, thicker lashes. However, there are that prove that castor oil causes lash growth. In fact, there are that show ricinoleic acid, the main constituent of castor oil, to be a major cause of allergic reactions to lip cosmetics. Proceed with caution if you give this tip a try!

OTC lash serums

A quick Google search for “lash serums” will produce list after list of “The Best Eyelash Growth Serums” and “Eyelash Growth Serums That Work.” Can these products back up their marketing claims with results? It is unclear. Since these products do not undergo testing for effectiveness, there’s no way to say whether they will grow your lashes or live up to their claims. Over-the-counter lash serums are FDA-approved to aid in the overall health of your lashes, but are not approved to grow longer, stronger, or darker lashes. Since Latisse is FDA-approved for that type of growth, you know you are spending your money on a treatment that will get results.

If you’re looking for a tried-and-true way to grow your lashes, an Apostrophe dermatologist is just a few clicks away. Latisse is backed by our doctors (and by research) so you can feel good knowing you’re getting a treatment that is tested and proven to work.

Have you tried Latisse? Tell us about it on Twitter @hi_apostrophe or shoot an email to social@apostrophe.com.

Welcome to the fine print! Just so you know, this article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. It’s always best to talk to a doctor for that stuff.

Prescription medication should only be used according to doctor's instructions. Do not use Latisse if you are allergic to one of its ingredients. Common side effects include itchy and red eyes. Full list of safety information can be found at: apostr.com/latisse.

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