Can you develop an allergic reaction to eyelash extensions?

An allergic reaction to eyelash extensions can occur in one or both eyes. In both cases, it may be more serious in one eye than in the other. Typical symptoms include redness, itching, and swelling that occur on the eyelid or in the eye itself. Allergic reactions to eyelash extensions are very rare.

Exact figures are difficult to obtain, but the most common adhesive allergen is latex, to which only about 1% of the population is allergic, and that adhesive is not commonly used in professional extensions. By comparison, short-term irritation is much more common. Sudden allergic reactions, as well as some general allergic reactions, are known as “contact dermatitis”. Fortunately, allergic reactions to eyelash extension adhesive are rare, but can occur.

If an unfortunate event occurs, it's our responsibility as eyelash artists to recognize the telltale signs and know how to help our customers. Eyelash extensions typically accentuate your eyes with a natural yet elegant design. However, some people may experience an allergic reaction to eyelash extensions under certain circumstances. If an allergic reaction occurs, an eyelash professional should immediately remove the eyelash extensions and treat the symptoms.

Allergic reactions are rare and experienced eyelash artists will ask their customers if they have any known allergies before administering treatment. However, the unexpected can happen and people develop allergies at different stages of life, leading to unpleasant surprises. Just as not everyone is allergic to everything, there is a whole range of allergies to eyelash extensions with diverse symptoms and reactions that occur differently in different people. Unfortunately, people with cyanoacrylate allergies cannot get eyelash extensions because there are no alternative ingredients.

Most of the time, the eyelash adhesive triggers an allergic reaction and not the eyelash extension itself. Usually, symptoms and an allergic reaction will appear as soon as a few hours after the eyelash technician places the eyelash extensions in place of the eyes. The allergic reaction shouldn't last more than a few days, as long as you stop coming into contact with the allergen and remove the extensions. Asako (left) and Naoko (right) are certified eyelash stylists and owners of Divine Lashes, a site for eyelash lovers to meet and learn more about eyelash extensions and lifting.

Being exposed to strong vapors every day for extended periods of time can cause technicians to become allergic to the adhesive. However, if your allergy is severe or nothing works, you may need to remove your eyelash extensions as a last resort. Instead, you can try handmade extensions, which tend to be friendlier to people with allergies to common adhesives. In addition, beauty salons should only import and use safe, formaldehyde-free eyelash extensions to ensure the safety of their customers under any circumstances.

On the hazard scale, allergies to eyelash extension glue are at the lower end, but they can still cause extreme discomfort to the sufferer. You must have the confidence to advise your customers on the difference between a reaction and an irritation, which will pass. The reaction will last as long as the skin is in contact with the eyelash adhesive and sometimes even a few days later.

Jeanette Swart
Jeanette Swart

Wannabe tv specialist. Passionate coffee fanatic. Infuriatingly humble tv enthusiast. Hipster-friendly social media trailblazer. General internet buff.