Creams for Eyelash Growth

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Lose an eyelash, make a wish -- if your lashes are sparse, that wish might be for longer, thicker lashes. Most people only have a couple hundred eyelashes at once, and they grow much more slowly than the hair on your head. But science is on the case. One prescription medicine and several over-the-counter products promise to lengthen, darken and thicken your eyelashes.

Formula for Growth

You won't get longer lashes in the blink of an eye, but Latisse, approved by the FDA to treat sparse eyelashes, has shown good results in clinical trials. Its key ingredient, bimatoprost, was originally intended to treat glaucoma. In a study of its lash-lengthening properties, participants after 16 weeks had lashes that were 25 percent longer, 106 percent thicker and 18 percent darker. Meanwhile, several non-mascara cosmetic formulas that, like Latisse, contain prostaglandin, do not require a prescription and have not been as widely studied. They do not need FDA approval since they are cosmetics.

Side Effects

While rare, side effects of Latisse have included eye irritation, infection and discoloration on the eyelid or under the eye. There have been very rare reports of light-colored eyes turning permanently brown. Risks of using the cosmetic versions are lesser known, says a study in "Aesthetic Plastic Surgery."