Thursday, March 19, 2009

Drugged Out Lashes

In the process of creating new pharmaceuticals to treat emerging or previously untreatable ailments, often new and highly beneficial side effects are found.  Not to the tune of those constantly annoying tv commercials listing possibly rectal bleeding, cramping, loss of vision......but side effects that can treat another previously untreatable condition.  For example, Viagra was first intended to lower blood pressure and was used as a cardiovascular drug.  It's "exciting" abilities were simply a pleasant surprise during drug trials.  Additionally, Minoxidil, a common drug used for hair re-growth, was pioneered to treat high blood pressure, and by coincidence, left it's users with a much fuller, longer, head of hair.  Even Botox wasn't originally intended to smooth the forehead wrinkles of the upper crust, but to still spastic eye lids.

Recently, another pleasant side effect of a common drug has been discovered to solve the beauty woes of your average lady.  The drug Lumigan, typically used to treat glaucoma, has been found to make eye lashes grow longer, darker, and generally more lush.  It has been conveniently repackaged, and renamed by drug company Allergan as Latisse, and is now available to be prescribed by dermatologists to clinically enhance your batting beauties.  All it takes is a nightly application of the gel to lashes, and within 4 weeks lashes should begin to grow longer and darker.  It is not a permanent fix, however, once you stop using Latisse, your lashes will recede to their previous length and pigment.  

I first came across this story in Marie Claire magazine, and wasn't sure whether I should be thrilled or appalled.  I mean, finally, I could have those dazzling long lashes I have always wanted?!  I mean what difference is it really applying gel in the evening or 3 swipes of my favorite mascara every morning?  This could totally revolutionize the make up industry and make mascara obsolete! Could this be the answer to all the prayers of my fellow fair headed sisters, eye lashes that can be seen without any make up?  

But then came a wave of doubts.  I can't lie, it kind of freaks me out that a medication used to treat such a serious illness such as glaucoma could now be marketed for such a superficial purpose.  And, with it's recent approval for such use, how can we be sure that there will be no damaging side effects down the line?  I mean, what if one day we do, heaven forbid, come down with glaucoma and have been using Latisse for years, will our exposure to the drug limit its effectiveness to treat an actual sight-threatening illness, or will we not care since our overly long eyelashes have been obscuring our sight for decades anyway?  Why are we so obsessed with having long lashes anyways?

Marie Claire cites that lashes are a symbol of youth and fertility, and lists a long timeline of the beauties through history who have achieved notoriety for their lashes i.e. Cleopatra, Twiggy, and J Lo. Yet, I think these gutsy women went down in history for a little more than fluttering lashes.  And can't we get lash extensions installed without the risk of clinically messing with our genes?  Or at the very least, just pick up a pair of falsies at the drug store?  

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