What A Real Allergic Reaction To Lash Extensions Looks Like (2023)

Hello there everyone!

Most of you don’t know me but my name is Sam and I’m an SEO Specialist – working behind the scenes here at PLA, behind a computer screen most of the time. I’ve only worked here for a few months, but I already love it! I get to do what I’m interested in every day, for an awesome company and bosses that care, and our education center is top-notch. That being said, I had an unfortunate experience happen to me recently, that I’d like to share for educational purposes.

TL;DR: I had an allergic reaction to lash extensions!

Long story short, I consented to giving lash extensions a second try. The first time I had them, my last three fills ended in a reaction. I had my lashes on for about six months before this developed, and I started coming home with red, itchy, crusty eyelids despite being a religious cleaner. So, I decided to give my eyes a break, and six months after that, I had a chance to try them again at PLA.

Let me just preface this with – I don’t mean to scare anyone away from lashing and my case is fairly rare, but it could have happened to anybody. My boss and lash tech knew the assignment, and everyone was informed of my previous history with the reaction. We decided to use Halo, our clear adhesive, just in case I was sensitive to carbon black (which is what most people with reactions are actually allergic to. It’s in most mascaras and eyeliners). I consented to it anyway, being the thick-headed dumb dumb I am, and we moved forward with a game plan to remove them at the first sign of trouble.

First of all, the set I got was absolutely beautiful. We used Camellia fans (they have multiple length lashes included in the fan, so you get a more textured yet natural look) – super full, Doll eye map. It was gorgeous, and we got plenty of pictures out of it. We made sure to do a lash bath before the end of the appointment, just in case. I was sent home with cleanser, a brush and some spoolies and I expected everything to be fine. I felt confident and pretty again.

(Video) Sit down: Allergic reaction to eyelash extensions, what to do in detail

Spoilers – it wasnot, in fact, pretty.

What A Real Allergic Reaction To Lash Extensions Looks Like (1)

Day One / Night One

The Drama Begins: Signs Of An Allergic Reaction

That night, I started feeling a little irritation creeping into my lower lids. Writing it off as paranoia, I made sure to clean my lashes thoroughly before heading to sleep. I kept asking my boyfriend if my eyes were swelling, to which he answered “nope you’re fine.” We turned in and I did a Hail Mary, hoping for the best.

I woke up to the worst on Day Two – to very puffy, swollen eyelids.

My lower lids were worse than the top, but my stomach sank when I looked in the mirror Saturday morning to clean my lashes. I frantically started icing my eyelids and walked to the store across the street for some Benadryl. When the swelling appeared to lessen a little, I made the text to set up a removal for Monday morning at the earliest.

What A Real Allergic Reaction To Lash Extensions Looks Like (2)

(Video) Lash Extension Allergic Reactions & Common Irritations - Lash Artist Tips

Day Two – Irritation & Swelling Appears

When To Make The Call For An Emergency Lash Removal

But, then Day Three rolled in, and the swelling had gotten worse. Despite my efforts, I woke up on Sunday morning looking like I had been punched in the face by Jack Dempsey. Not only were both eyelids puffy now, but my entire eye socket had blown up. It wasn’t to the point where my eyes were swollen shut… but we were getting there.

And the best part? I had a Christmas party to attend in just a few hours! I knew I had to get the lashes removed as soon as humanly possible, so I started making calls.

What A Real Allergic Reaction To Lash Extensions Looks Like (3)

Day Three – Significant Swelling, Emergency Removal Done Right After Taking These Photos

12 salons later, one place 20 minutes away got me in, and I have to tell ya: getting a removal while you’re in the middle of a reaction was not fun. My lash tech was a trooper, dealing with me flinching and squinting and my eyes watering like Niagra Falls, but in about an hour the lashes were gone, and the swelling immediately started to subside. I instantly felt better, and that was more than enough confirmation for me that I was allergic to something – most likely, it was an allergic reaction to lash glue, or cyanoacrylate.

(Video) LASH TECH VS DOCTOR |ALLERGIES AND INFECTIONS | ABOUT EYELASH EXTENSION | MUST WATCH

I went to the Christmas party and was merry despite my face. There were plenty of “you should see the other guy,” jokes passed around.

The Aftermath: The Impacts Of An Allergic Reaction

While I did what I did, I want to use my experience as a lesson for all of our PLA students coming in. We get a lot of questions about allergies and reactions, but while what happened to me is rare, it obviously can happen. What I did was downright stupid, and my poor skin around my eyeballs paid for it for days after the removal. I know for sure now though, and while I still love lash extensions, it’s going to be a permanent pass for me.

What A Real Allergic Reaction To Lash Extensions Looks Like (4)

Day Four - 24 Hours After Emergency Removal

Let me stress this again so the lesson sticks: usually, if you have a cyanoacrylate allergy, you figure it out pretty quickly and you know for sure. There is no amount of Benadryl, ice packs or weird workarounds that you can do to keep getting lash extensions. There is no such thing as a ‘sensitive’ version of lash adhesives, and if anyone tells you that, what they’re talking about is the one without carbon black. There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic lash adhesive for extensions yet, at least not a single one that works, to my knowledge. Cyanoacrylate is the ingredient that makes the lashes adhere to your natural ones, so there’s really no way to get them without it.

If you expose yourself to something you’re allergic to, mark my words your reaction will get worse every time you are exposed. As lash artists, it’s imperative for you to discontinue services if someone develops an allergic reaction, and to refuse services if they pressure you to do it anyway.

(Video) MY Allergic Reaction to Lash Extensions! PICTURES INCLUDED! The Horror!

Basically, don’t do what I did.

Having A Lash Business Plan: Protect Yourself & Your Clients

What A Real Allergic Reaction To Lash Extensions Looks Like (5)

Day Five – Recovering

Again, this is not to scare anyone away from lashing – but if you encounter anyone with symptoms like mine and everything else looks fine, always play it safe rather than sorry. What happened to me could have happened to anyone, I just got the luck of the draw. Also keep in mind, anyone can develop an allergy to cyanoacrylate at any time, so you could get lashes for years and suddenly boom – no more lashes for you. It’s the risk we take for beauty, but there is plenty of education we can provide as lash professionals to prevent it from occurring, and conduct proper patch tests on every new client.

Please remember too that as a lash artist, you cannot give medical advice to clients. You are not a doctor, and if you ever encounter a client with an allergic reaction, you must remove their lashes right away and refer them to a clinic. Despite being able to make an educated guess that I am allergic to cyanoacrylate, even then, there’s no way for me to know for certain until I see a doctor! There’s so many things I could be sensitive to – but it’s best for me to just stop the service rather than playing Russian roulette.

The Takeaways From A Lash Extension Allergy

While I’m super sad about my lashes, I’m very grateful to my team at PLA for the education they provide current and future lash techs. Without their help, I probably would have panicked and wouldn’t know what to do. I’m very thankful to have such a great team of experienced staff who had a plan, and thanks to them equipping me with the proper knowledge, I was able to safely and quickly address the problem so my eyes could heal.

(Video) I GOT LASH EXTENSIONS *severe allergic reaction*

I still adore lash extensions, and will heartily advocate for getting them if you have the ability. They made me feel so confident for the short time I could wear them, and they make your beauty routine so much easier (believe it or not).

For now though, I’m sticking to nails.

Take Your Career To The Next Level With Lash Extension Classes

Want to learn more about becoming a lash artist? Check out our online course where we go over allergic reactions like this, cleaning protocols and how to lash properly and safely in a fun, interactive way! Our education center gives back to the community as well, with all our proceeds from the course going into a fund for lash artists in need. Sign up for our online course or attend our in-person training coming up in the New Year here.

FAQs

How do you treat a severe allergic reaction to lash extensions? ›

Eyelash Extension Allergy Treatment

Take an oral antihistamine or use antihistamine eye drops. Apply a topical allergy-relief product that's safe for the eye area. Try a cold compress to alleviate the irritation.

Will my eyelash extension allergy go away? ›

While a small percentage of clients develop an allergic reaction to eyelash extension glue, this allergy itself is not especially dangerous. Symptoms will disappear once the eyelash extensions are removed.

Why am I suddenly allergic to lash extensions? ›

When a client is experiencing an allergic reaction to their lash extensions, it is most often because they are allergic to cyanoacrylate. It is the base ingredient that is found in all lash adhesives. It is this key ingredient that solidifies when curing.

How long does a lash allergy last? ›

Depending on how severe the allergic reaction is, a person may experience symptoms that last from a few hours to a few days. Moreover, treatment can affect how long one may undergo such reactions to lash extensions. So it is best to ask professional health to treat your allergies.

How do you get rid of an allergic reaction to lash glue? ›

A cold compress, some Benadryl, and a soothing eye mask can all help. If you have any swelling, redness, or itchiness that lasts longer than a day, we recommend that you consult with a doctor.

Will Benadryl help with allergic reaction to eyelash extensions? ›

Benadryl – Benadryl is the bomb-dot-com when it comes to clients with adhesive sensitivity. It won't cure someone's allergy to eyelash extension glue (unfortunately nothing will) but it will help to ease the sensitivity to chemicals present during/immediately after the lash appointment.

How long does it take to have a reaction to eyelash extensions? ›

Clients who develop an allergic reaction to their eyelash extension adhesives will typically experience swelling and itching of the eyelids. These usually show up within the first 3 days (72 hours) of completion of a lash service.

What do your eyes look like when you have an allergic reaction? ›

Red eyes. Watery or white, stringy mucus discharge. Swollen eyelids.

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