There are many eyelash growth serums currently on the market that promise to grow your lashes and make them appear darker and more beautiful. You may even have friends that have used these products, resulting in truly a miraculous effect. Unfortunately, the same ingredients that make your eyelashes grow can also cause serious and permanent eye problems.
Several months ago, I had a young woman email me with a nightmare story about how one of these serums, manufactured by a very popular over-the-counter cosmetics brand caused her to suffer permanent eye injuries. After doing some research and speaking with her, I was shocked to find out that the manufacturers of many of these eyelash growth serums do not disclose the real possibility of developing permanent eye injuries after using their products.
I knew immediately that she needed an attorney that is not only good but one that cares about cosmetic injury cases. Over the years, I have been focusing my practice on representing clients who suffered injuries from all kinds of botched cosmetic procedures. I think that I am naturally pulled towards this area of law because I am personally interested in the latest products and procedures that can keep me looking young! So, her situation was exactly the type of case that we love to do at LOU LAW and she was the perfect client to help.
The problem with eyelash growth serums.
You have probably seen advertisements for a product called Latisse (formally Allergan, now an AbbVie brand) which is a prescription lash growing serum. Latisse can only be purchased through a prescription from your doctor because it contains an ingredient considered to be a drug by the FDA called bimatoprost. Bimatoprost is a prostaglandin analog that was discovered to cause eyelash growth as a side effect to its originally intended use which was to treat glaucoma. In treating the eye disease with prostaglandins, scientists noticed that an unintended result of using prostaglandins, such as bimatoprost, caused the users’ eyelashes to grow and darken. This seemingly miraculous discovery had a great commercial opportunity because there are millions of people that want amazing looking eyelashes that are their own.
After Latisse came out, other cosmetic manufacturers began researching alternative prostaglandins that they could put in their own eyelash growth serums to compete with Latisse and give more options for customers desiring the long-lash effect. Thus, Isopropyl Cloprostenate was discovered to be as effective as bimatoprost at extending natural eyelashes. Isopropyl Cloprostenate is a synthetic prostaglandin analog that is used in many over-the-counter lash growth serums.
Unfortunately, prostaglandin analogs are known to cause serious and permanent eye problems.
In addition to eyelid discoloration and iris pigmentation (mostly impacting light-colored eyes), prostaglandin analogs are known to cause permanent blockage of meibomian glands which are responsible for secreting important oils that help clean and moisturize the eyes. People using eyelash growth serums are at risk for developing a condition called Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is a term used to describe a group of disorders, both congenital and acquired, linked by functional abnormalities of the meibomian glands. Permanent side effects from these eye serums include constant dry eyes, eye infections, and recurrence of styes (chalazion and hordeolum) on the exterior and interior eyelids. Here is a great source of information about the effect of prostaglandins on the eye structure.
These awful side effects are well known to eye doctors who treat glaucoma. And there are numerous scientific and medical journal articles out there discussing the correlation between the use of topical prostaglandin analogs and serious eye problems. Yet, the warning labels on many of the eyelash serums containing prostaglandins do not mention anything about the risk of these serious side effects.
Also, it can be hard to find out whether a serum has a prostaglandin analog because they are not listed as “prostaglandin.” Here is a list of examples of popular lash serums that contain prostaglandin analogs:
- GrandeLASH -MD Lash Enhancing Serum (Grande Cosmetics) – contains Cloprostenol Isopropyl Ester, a prostaglandin analog;
- Rapid Lash Eyelash Enhancing Serum – contains Isopropyl Cloprostenate, a prostaglandin analog;
- RevitaLash Advanced Eyelash Conditioner (RevitaLash Cosmetics) – contains Dechloro Dihydroxy Difluoro Ethylcloprostenolamide, a prostaglandin analog;
- LiLash -contains Isopropyl Phenylhydroxypentene Dihydroxycyclopentylheptanate, a prostaglandin analog;
- R+F Enhancements Lash Boost (Rodan + Fields) -contains Isopropyl Cloprostenate, a prostaglandin analog.
Often lash growth serum products do not warn about the side effects of prostaglandin analogs. If you look at the FQ&A’s and other labeling materials of the most popular lash growth serums, you will find that not only are side effects such as dry eye, styes, discoloration, Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), are not mentioned, to your surprise you will probably find that the companies state that their products are completely safe and side effect free. I have seen the manufacturers make bold statements that their prostaglandin analog lash serums are cosmetics and not prescription drugs, therefore no serious side effects should be expected.
Eyelash growth serums are drugs, not cosmetics because they contain prostaglandin analogs.
On April 18, 2011, the FDA issued a Warning Letter to Lifetech Resources, LLC the manufacturer of RapidLash Eyelash Renewal Serum (“RapidLash”), NeuLash Active Eyelash Technology (“NeuLash”), and NeuveauBrow Active Eyebrow Technology (“NeuveauBrow”) explaining to the company that the company’s labeling and promotional materials of the over-the-counter lash and brow growth serums that contain prostaglandin analogs are illegal. The FDA stated that “ ‘RapidLash’, ‘NeuLash’, and ‘NeuveauBrow’ are misbranded under section 502(a) because their labeling makes misleading statements regarding the product’s safety and also fails to reveal material facts with respect to consequences that may result from the use of the product.” Although the letter threatened “legal action without further notice… seizure and injunction” if the company does not correct the numerous violations cited in the letter, the product continues to be sold today.
How are these products being sold without a prescription and without proper warnings?
The answer is simple: No one has stopped them. The FDA seems to have a bark that is worse than its bite. Although it can threaten legal action, it is restricted by limited authority in the cosmetics realm. Cosmetic manufacturers are not required to get approval from the FDA before selling products in the United States. As long as a manufacturer uses the right language in describing its product, it can easily avoid enforcement proceedings by the FDA. If the product is labeled for “cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance” and not for treating an undesired condition, the product may continue to be sold on the market as a cosmetic.
This is exactly what happened with RapidLash. The manufacturer’s lawyers adjusted the language in the labeling materials and the product continues to be sold over the counter as a cosmetic, despite its prostaglandin analog ingredient.
Eyelash Growth Serum Lawsuit
If you suspect that you may have suffered an injury after using an eyelash serum, you should talk to your eye doctor about the products you have used and the ingredients it contains. Your doctor will help you identify if there is a correlation between the specific ingredients in your lash serum and the eye condition that you have been experiencing.
You have the right to file a lawsuit for your eye injuries resulting from eyelash growth serum.
If you have suffered injuries from using an eyelash growth serum containing a prostaglandin analog, you have a right to sue the manufacturer. There are several theories of liability under which you can bring a lawsuit against the eyelash growth serum manufacturing companies, including product liability, negligence, misrepresentation and concealment, and other applicable state and federal laws.
Our law firm handles cosmetic injury cases and represents clients against product manufacturers. If you would like to have your case reviewed by an attorney at LOU LAW, contact us today at 1-855-554-6534.