In 2002, the makeup and cosmetics industry in the United States generated nearly $30 billion of revenue. (1) Sales of mascara, a product that is used to lengthen, darken or thicken eyelashes, accounted for nearly $1.1 billion of revenue alone. (1)
Several years ago, glaucoma patients who took Lumigan (bimatoprost 0.03%, Allergan) experienced enhanced eyelash growth. (2), (3) This side effect proved to be very desirable for many patients.
Seeing a potential cosmetic demand for enhanced eyelash growth, company researchers formulated Latisse (bimatoprost 0.03%, Allergan) identically to Lumigan and included specifically designed applicator wands. This month's column will discuss the science behind eyelash growth as well as the existing clinical data on Latisse and its potential side effects.
Enhanced Eyelash Growth
The eyelash life cycle includes an anagen phase, a telogen phase and a catagen phase. Eyelashes grow during the anagen phase, rest in place during the telegen phase, and experience apoptosis and shed during the catagen phase. (4) So, to foster enhanced eyelash growth, we must elongate the anagen phase of the eyelash life cycle. (4)
The entire eyelash life cycle is completed in approximately four months. (5) The telogen phase is the longest phase in the cycle and the catagen phase is the shortest, lasting just 15 days. (4) Most individuals have 100 to 150 eyelashes per eyelid, with an average length of 6mm per lash. (4) Interestingly, each lash may be in a different stage of the life cycle at any given time. The particular timing of each phase may explain why some patients require a full eight to 12 weeks to notice significant eyelash growth after starting Latisse therapy.
Results of phase III research on Latisse showed an average increase of 1.4mm in length, or an increase of 26% from baseline eyelash length. (6) The data also showed an improvement in both eyelash thickness and darkness. Previous research has demonstrated that melanogenesis (color/pigment accumulation) occurs during the anagen phase...
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