Lash Serum 101: How do Prostaglandins Work?

How do lash serums work?

It’s no secret that the lash serums out there really do work. All you need to do is look at your Facebook feed, chances are some high school friend is showcasing before and after pictures of Lash Boost, hoping you’ll buy lash serum from her. But, how do those lash serums work?

The main active ingredient is from the prostaglandin family. Latanoprost was being used to treat glaucoma, but it was noticed that patients’ lashes grew longer, darker and thicker.

How do Prostaglandins Work in Lash Serums?

First go and check out this post on the normal hair growth cycle.

Prostaglandins appear to take follicles that are currently in telogen (resting) phase and induce anagen (growing) phase, as the percentage of follicles in telogen is higher with prostaglandin treatment. Prostaglandins also induce growth in the size of the dermal papilla and hair bulb (resulting in thicker individual lashes) and increased melanin production (darker lashes).

Which Prostaglandin in the Best?

The main active ingredient in most lash serums now are over the counter versions of prostaglandins, and while they work they are not quite as effective as the prescription version.

The initial reports of lash growth were with Latanoprost, but Bimatoprost is the version used in Latisse and has been found to have significant effects on lash growth.

Over the counter prostaglandins seem to have varying effects depending upon the person, so while one product works great for me it might not be quite as effective for you.

Note that prescription prostaglandins do require monitoring from your prescribing physician for side effects such as changes in iris color, and irritation at the lash line/eye lid (blepharitis). These side effects are not seen or to a lesser extent in the over the counter versions. For example, the iris color changes have never been reported in over the counter versions as far as I can tell.

Mascara Tip Guide
Read more about mascara, mascara primers and lashes in my Mascara and Lashes Guide

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