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The risks of eyelash extensions are not only an allergic reaction to the glue [used to attach the extensions], but erosion of the inner surface of the eyelid,” says Dr. Orly Avitzur, M.D., one of our medical advisors. “And that can cause permanent damage to your eyelashes.”

Whether you go for regular old glue-on versions or fancy extensions that can cost hundreds of dollars at a salon, the risks are the same. Here are few things you need to know:

. Irritation and redness.
. Inflammation and swelling.
. Infection. 
. Extensions can trap dirt and bacteria, leading to serious infections, including pink eye.
. Allergic reaction. The glues in some lash adhesives contain formaldehyde, which can cause a severe allergic reaction over time that can result in oozing and crusting.
. Loss of eyelashes. Yes, you can end up with bald eyes! The glue can pull out your lashes or you could end up pulling them out yourself. Irritation can lead to a condition called madarosis, which causes you to tug on them. Britain’s College of Optometrists also cautions that you could end up with traction alopecia, “where the hair falls out due to excessive tension placed on the hair shaft. As a result this can damage the hair follicle which can slow down and even cease production of hair.”

Side effects

Permanent changes in eye color—turning blue, green, or hazel eyes brown
Permanently darkened eyelids
Hair growth elsewhere on your face if you’re not careful
Itching, redness
Lower eye pressure, which could potentially mask glaucoma or other eye problems
How to avoid eyelash extension complications

The easiest way to prevent the risk of infection or eye irritation is to simply avoid getting eyelash extensions. If you want thicker, fuller lashes, our experts say, use mascara instead. But if you decide to use eyelash extensions, make it an occasional beauty treat. And follow these tips from the American College of Ophthalmology:

Make sure the aesthetician who is doing your eyelash extensions has valid certification.
Ask to see the ingredient list on the adhesive being used and check for potential allergens like formaldehyde.
Make sure your aesthetician is practicing good hygiene, including washing his or her hands thoroughly and wearing gloves.
Lastly, if you do notice signs of infection, see an ophthalmologist as soon as possible.


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