Why Do Eyelashes Fall Out? The 4 Phases of Hair Growth Cycles
Your eyelashes fall out for several reasons, whether it's caused by factors like stress, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies or even thyroid conditions. However, the most common reason we lose our eyelashes is because of our hair's inevitable growth cycle — and it's completely normal.
To put it simply, there are four phases of our hair's natural growth cycle, and each individual hair is in one of these four stages at any given time:
- Anagagen phase
- Telogen phase
- Catagen phase
- Exogen phase
The average adult has 100 to 150 upper eyelashes and 50 to 75 lower lashes on each lid. Each of your eyelashes are going through the four growth cycles, although many of them are going through different cycles at any given time.
In an eyelash growth cycle study, researchers determined that the anagen phase for an eyelash lasts anywhere from approximately 25 to 43 days, or as long as one to two months. The anagen phase is known as the growth phase of the cycle.
The next phase, known as the catagen phase, is the transition phase of your eyelash growth cycle. This is the shortest cycle, lasting approximately 15 days. During this time, your lashes have stopped growing and your hair follicles are just starting to shrink to prepare for the resting phase.
After the catagen phase comes the telogen phase, lasting for about 100 days to as long as nine months. Think of this moment as the resting phase for your eyelashes. During this phase, your eyelashes are at their full length and your follicles are completely shrunk.
The last phase is the exogen phase — this is when the hair finally sheds. Then, the cycle starts all over again with the anagen phase.
So How Long Does It Take for Eyelashes to Grow Back?
According to the Division of Dermatology at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, a complete lash cycle could last anywhere between five to 11 months. Since each individual eyelash is at a different stage of the hair growth cycle, each lash is growing at a different rate. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for an eyelash to grow fully, but will likely fall somewhere in the middle.
Celebrity makeup artist and lash expert Douglas Otero shares that in his experience the time for lash regrowth is unique for each individual. "Everyone is different though, [and a person's] lifestyle plays a big part," he said. "If you’re active, the lash tends to grow back quicker."
Otero shares that there are certain factors that could stunt the natural growth cycle of your lashes. "In bad cases such as burns or the most usual cases of allergic reactions to the lash glue, it can take longer for the hair to generate from the follicle," Otero said.
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Eyelash Loss: Frequently Asked Questions
Losing eyelashes is to be expected, but there may be certain situations leaving you with more questions that answers. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about fallen eyelashes:
Do Eyelashes Grow Back If Pulled Out From the Root?
Yes, your lashes can grow back, but when they will depends entirely on the moment of your lash growth cycle. For example, if you pull an eyelash out during anagen and catagen phases when your lashes are at their most vulnerable, you can expect to be left waiting a lot longer for your eyelashes to grow back to their full length.
Keep in mind that regrowth depends on various factors. On average, if there’s no extenuating circumstances, it can take a few weeks or a few months before your eyelash starts to grow back. If you a pull out a lash, you'll have to be patient for it to grow back — remember that a full lash growth cycle taking anywhere from five to 11 months.
However, if you are suffering from trichotillomania, the condition of pulling your own hair out, consult a doctor as this might be an underlying symptom of something that's more serious and may require psychological help.
Hair Story: Living With Trichotillomania
Do Lash Extensions Ruin Your Natural Lashes?
Many people assume that eyelash extensions cause premature eyelash loss, but according to lash expert Courtney Akai, as long as you're not tugging on your lash extensions or rubbing your eyes, then your extensions won't affect the long-term health of your lashes, she toldHuff Post. Either way, each your lashes undergo a three-phase hair cycle that will continue with or without extensions.
However, it's advisable to give your lashes a break from extensions every once in a while to give them a chance to grow back in optimal health.
Celebrity makeup artist and lash expert Michelle Bouse warns against DIY lash lifts or attempting other professional treatments at home. Always go to a professional for these treatments.
How to Make Your Eyelashes Grow Back Faster
To help your lashes grow back, there are certain habits you can adopt to preserve your eyelashes, avoid unnecessary hair loss and strengthen each strand.
1. Be Gentle With Removing Makeup
When removing makeup, be sure to avoid rubbing or tugging at your lashes, which can cause unwanted lash loss. Makeup removing wipes can be especially too harsh on your lashes. Instead, using a gentle oil-free eye makeup remover with a cotton boll or pad and swab it delicately around your eyes.
2. Use Mascara Sparingly
When it comes to lash health, you may want to avoid waterproof formulas which can dry out your lashes and cause excess loss.
"While we’ve come a long way with cleaner products, waterproof mascara is still the worst thing you can use on your lashes," Otero said. "Most of them, especially the OG brands are still made the way they’ve always been made — using fibers which attach and dry down to the lash so it won’t come off 'all day.' Not to mention the removal process is like a horror movie. Let’s face it, some of us aren’t the most gentle when it comes to the eye area."
Overuse of mascara in general can leave your lashes brittle and prone to breakage, so don't leave it on any longer than you need to and take breaks from makeup when you can. That also means being consistent about removing your makeup each night before you jump into bed.
3. Consider Castor Oil
Castor oil is known to improve hair health, add shine and reduce shedding. Its nutrient-dense profile can nourish your hair while protecting your hair follicles.
While castor oil can make for an overnight treatment, it's sadly incredibly sticky, greasy and can't be worn with mascara. Instead, you'd be better off opting for an eyelash serum with a non-irritating formula to encourage visible lash density.
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4. Go Easy with the Eyelash Curler
Since tugging on your eyelashes is a big no-no, it should be obvious that eyelash curlers (that pull tightly on your precious lashes) can cause your eyelashes to come out. That doesn't mean you have to give up your beloved curler forever, but be sure to avoid common eyelash curler mistakes.
5. Don't Tamper With Your Eyelash Extensions
Each eyelash extension is adhered to your natural lashes with a medical-grade glue. If you want to remove your extensions at home, be careful that the glue doesn't take your lashes out along with it. This can be easily avoided by using a gentle, oil-based cleanser. Better yet, go to the same professional who gave you the extensions in the first place since they have the experience and tools to safely remove eyelash extensions.
If you do find that your lashes are damaged, give your eyelashes a break before reapplying any extensions.
6. Eat a Healthy Diet
When it comes to any kind of hair growth, opt for a diet that's rich in iron, niacin, biotin, minerals and protein — think dark leafy greens, berries, nuts, cruciferous veggies and beans. Non-vegans can also opt for lean meats and seafood.
If you're constantly on the go and tend to be inconsistent with getting enough nutrients from your diet, consider adding a daily biotin gummy that contain the vitamins and minerals you need to support healthy, radiant hair.
7. Use a Daily Lash Serum
To encourage the health of your eyelashes, you’ll need a nutrient-rich lash serum to nourish your hair follicles. Just swipe the vegaLASH applicator brush along your lash line once in the morning and once in the evening, and you should notice visible results in about four to eight weeks . Use it alone or wear it under makeup. And you can rest assured using our lash serum on the daily knowing it's 100% plant-based, free of hormones and toxins, making it safe for even the most sensitive skin. vegaLASH is expertly formulated with clinically-tested plant actives like red clover and mung mean shown to deliver noticeably thicker, fuller lashes.
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