Who doesn’t want longer, darker eyelashes? Whether you’re devoted to your lash serum or thinking of picking one up, you may be wondering if there’s a pregnancy-safe lash serum that actually works to plump up thinning lashes (or if you can keep using the lash serum you have). Many skin care products, from moisturizers to acne fighters, include ingredients that are not recommended during pregnancy, and the lash serum category is no different. Here we spoke to two dermatologists about using lash serums throughout pregnancy. And spoiler alert: you should definitely evaluate the products you’re using when expecting, but chances are you won’t need them anyway.
Do lash serums work?
The concept of lash serums almost seems too good to be true. After washing your face, you simply coat your lash line in the serum (it usually comes in a tube with a fine brush, so it’s easy to apply) and over time you’ll see your lashes grow longer.
“Depending on which lash serum you choose, they can be very helpful. Latisse is certainly effective and studies show that it enhances growth, thickness and darkness of the lashes. And that actually has clinical studies behind it,” Dr. Suzanne Friedler, M.D., F.A.A.D., dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology PC, tells Romper. “Other lash serums are not as regulated, so are they gonna [sic] work like Latisse? Probably not, but they can help with the overall healthiness of your lashes. A lot of them contain just simple oils that just hydrate and coat the hairs of your lashes, which works similar to a conditioner.”
She adds that other brands include growth factors, which is the reason you may notice longer lashes. Growth factors in lash serums like prostaglandin analogues are similar to hormones, and they help to keep hair in the androgen (or growth) phase, so overtime you may see some growth when using products that contain them.
Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo echoes the idea saying, “Lash serums do work in general. To see significant results, you must use them consistently. They are able to help lengthen and increase the volume of lashes.”
Is using lash serum during pregnancy safe?
Experts caution you should not use a lash serum while pregnant because most of them are unregulated and untested, so their effects on a mother and fetus are unknown. If you want to condition your lashes, instead of a full-blown lash serum you could try a gentle 100% castor oil product.
“During pregnancy, less is more,” says Friedler. “If you want to use an oil-based product, like the Majestic brand, which has a 100% castor oil eyelash serum that’s just hydrating, that's A-OK.” There are no scientific studies that say that castor oil promotes hair growth, but the natural ingredient (it’s a type of vegetable oil that comes from beans) is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, plus it’s a natural emollient, so it can’t hurt, though it may not give you Disney princess eyelashes (sorry).
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Is Latisse lash serum pregnancy-safe?
Latisse is actually only available by prescription, though through an online health service known as Rory you can get a prescription online by answering a few simple questions, the first of which is whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding; you are not able to buy it if you are.
Friedler says she wouldn't use Latisse or growth factors during pregnancy, but you probably wouldn’t need those anyway because your body is naturally creating growth factors that contribute to hair growth. “When you're pregnant, you have so many growth factors rushing through your system, so your hairs do naturally grow thicker, darker, and more lustrous.”
This is because estrogen and androgen hormone levels are much higher during pregnancy, and this keeps hair from shedding, so while you may not actually be growing new hair, you’re not losing nearly as much, which makes hair look thicker. This applies to lashes and eyebrows too. You’re more likely to notice lackluster eyelashes or hair loss in the postpartum period (fun). And again, Dr. Friedler says if you’re breastfeeding, a castor oil eyelash serum is fine, but skip Latisse or any product with growth factors.
Latisse is considered “Category C” by the Food & Drug Administration meaning at high doses there have been adverse effects in mice and rats, but the product has not been studied on pregnant women (for ethical reasons).
Are lash serums safe to use generally?
Even if you’re not pregnant, it’s a good idea to be choosy with what lash serum you pick-up because it is applied so close to the eyes. “Our eyelids are the thinnest, most sensitive skin in the body, and some lash serums can have ingredients in them that are irritating,” Friedler tells Romper. “If you’re someone with darker skin tones, it can lead to hyperpigmentation and can lead to itchy and red eyelids. You always have to be really cautious when trying a lash product.”
If you’re feeling like your lashes could use a little extra oomph in pregnancy or postpartum, you could try using a small amount of 100% castor oil on your lash lines at night before you go to bed (though you risk getting some on your pillows).
Dr. Suzanne Friedler, M.D., F.A.A.D, dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology
Dr. Marina Peredo, M.D., dermatologist