LashPRO Journal Guest Blog: Allergic Reactions vs Irritations

Sugarlash PRO Educator Teichrib

After spending time on lash forums I have seen many questions and comments from clients about experiences with swollen, itchy, red, dry, and watery eyes! While it is great to see that they are doing their own research, a key part of being a lash artist is educating your clients on potential post-appointment risks, including allergic reactions and irritations. 

I truly believe knowledge is power and that we shouldn’t offer clients solutions that don’t exist. This is why it is important to identify the key characteristics and differences between allergic reactions and irritations. Having the knowledge and confidence to professionally handle any issue that might arise, will make all the difference to your clients.

Up-close image of model with eyelash extensions

Now let's get to identifying some IRRITATIONS

Redness or Dry Eyes 

One or both of the eyes may be partially or fully bloodshot and your client may also have a scratchy feeling, as if there is sand in their eye. These symptoms should disappear within 12-24 hours - usually after a good night's sleep! Redness or dryness in the eyes is often due to exposure to adhesive fumes. It is likely that you and your client were talking which causes the eyes to flutter open or the eye pad to slide onto the waterline ever so slightly opening the eye allowing it to be exposed to fumes. 

Watering Eyes

The eye or both eyes will water throughout the application, often accompanied by a stinging sensation. Your client is experiencing an irritation and it can usually be stopped immediately by simply adjusting the eye pads and using a Front View Lash Mirror frequently throughout the service to check that their eyes have not opened. You can use the LashPRO Fan to offer your client immediate relief. If the eyes watered excessively during the application process, red or dry eyes may arise within 24-hours. 

Corneal Abrasion 

The bottom of the eye and in some cases the entire eye will have visibly ruptured blood vessels. This irritation is often not painful, but dryness is a common issue that clients may experience alongside the corneal abrasion.

This is an irritation through and through, and after reading this it is likely one you will see coming. If the eyes are watering or burning and you see the eye pad is touching the sclera there is a chance your client will end up with a corneal abrasion - also known as an ‘eye bruise’. While this looks severe and is often followed by a scratchy feeling or sensitivity to light, it is a common irritation usually caused by lash artist error. While we never want this to happen to one of our clients, just know this is ONLY an irritation and your client should see some relief within 72-hours and all blood vessels should fully heal within 1-2 weeks. This is a hard lesson you try to only learn once, while a corneal abrasion is generally harmless it can be visually alarming - for both lash artist and client.  

Closeup eyelash extension application

Now, on to ALLERGIC REACTIONS! This is an area I am extremely interested in, potentially because I am the Queen of allergies and understand the dangers of over exposing yourself. 

What is an allergic reaction? 

An allergic reaction is actually your body doing exactly what it was made to do, but getting a little confused along the way. Essentially your immune system interprets a foreign substance - an allergen - as harmful yet often these substances aren’t harmful. Your client can experience a range of reactions, from mild to severe. For example, they may realize that during each appointment they experience nasal congestion or they might experience an allergic reaction more severe that can last 12-24 hours.  

What causes allergic reactions? 

The first one is age - you heard that right! Every 7-10 years our body replaces itself. Amazing right? Sadly it doesn’t give you an extra dose of collagen but it does replace cells in our organs changing the way our body reacts to certain substances. 
The second reason for allergic reactions is hormones. Estrogen is often the cause of a new allergic reaction arising. I know this one for a fact as every time I have been pregnant, I have suffered from allergies whether it be full body hives, seasonal allergies or anaphylaxis. You name it, I’ve experienced it. This is exactly why we recommend patch tests, your client’s allergies can change from day to day!

Swollen Eyes

In this instance, one or both eyes may show slight or extreme puffiness. This is an allergic reaction rearing its ugly head and can become more severe if your client continues to expose themselves to the allergen. Cyanoacrylate - one of the main ingredients in lash adhesive - is often the culprit of allergic reactions. Lash adhesives formulated for sensitivities do not cure or prevent an allergic reaction. If you feel that your client’s allergy is to carbon black then you might want to patch test using our Naked Bond, a clear and low fume lash adhesive. There is no cure for an allergic reaction, only your body can decide to no longer identify a substance as something foreign or harmful. 

Itchy Eyes

This goes hand in hand with swollen eyes and is usually the reason your client may experience extreme swelling. While rubbing itchy eyes can provide relief it actually signals the brain to release serotonin to relieve pain, which activates neurons in our spinal cord strongly enhancing the itching sensation. This enhanced sensation causes us to rub more, resulting in additional swelling. It is a vicious cycle! 

Closeup eyelash extension application

If any of these situations occur we can calm our clients nerves by knowing all possible reactions or irritations that might occur, and by checking in with them throughout the service until the irritation or reaction has subsided. 

It is important to note that as we are not medical professionals and we cannot offer a true diagnosis to a client. This list serves to help you identify some of the symptoms your client may be experiencing. Allergic reactions should subside within 72 hours without medical attention, if an allergic reaction or irritation continues and/or worsens instruct your client to seek a medical professional.  

Always do your research and educate your clients! 

Until next time... 
XO, Meghan 



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