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Latisse: Benefits, Side Effects & More

Latisse is the first prescription treatment for inadequate or scarce eyelashes. It aids in growing eyelashes to be darker, fuller, and longer.  

Latisse’s side effects may include brown darkening of the colored part of the eye, which is likely to remain permanent.  It may also cause eyelid skin darkening (though it may be reversible), hair growth outside of the treatment area, and itchy and red eyes.

What Is Latisse?

Latisse is the first FDA-approved treatment to help those that have inadequate eyelashes (hypotrichosis).  

The Latisse solution is applied topically on the base of the upper eyelashes once every night.  Some see results in as little as 4 weeks, but it will take up to 16 weeks to achieve full growth.

How Does Latisse Work?

According to Latisse’s website, lash growth is possible due to the active ingredient known as bimatoprost.  Bimatoprost is a synthetic prostamide analog (a lab-created, active, lipid-like substance) that is approved for the treatment of eyelash growth.  

Latisse states that the exact process by which bimatoprost works is unknown, but the company has a theory. Latisse is believed to influence the growth of the eyelash hair cycle in these ways.

  1.  It lengthens the growth cycle phase.
  2.  It boosts the number of hairs in this phase.

Side Effects 

Side effects of Latisse are possible and include the following:

  • Brown darkening of the colored part of the eye, which is likely to be permanent
  • Eyelid skin darkening, which may be reversible
  • Hair growth outside of treatment area
  • Itchy and red eyes

The most frequently experienced side effects are itchy and irritated eyes. According to Latisse, this was experienced by 4 percent of participants in their clinical trial.

If you develop any side effects, see your doctor as soon as possible. 

Latisse Risks

Latisse use comes with some potential risks. 

  • Effects on intraocular pressure: Bimatoprost is known to lower intraocular pressure (fluid pressure of the eye) when directly applied to the eyes of patients with elevated intraocular pressure. However, clinical trials showed that patients with and without elevated intraocular pressure actually had lower intraocular pressure when using Latisse.  But these findings were on a small level and not cause for concern.
  • Intraocular inflammation: Latisse should be used with caution by users with active intraocular inflammation, as it could potentially make the condition worse.
  • Macular edema: Macular edema (the accumulation of fluid in the area in the center of the retina) has been reported when using treatments with bimatoprost. People who have aphakia (missing a lens in the eye), who have a torn posterior lens capsule, and who already have or are at risk for macular edema should be wary.

Who Is a Candidate for Latisse?

Candidates for Latisse should be at least 18 years old. They may have insufficient eyelashes due to the following:

  • Hypotrichosis (a rare condition that affects hair growth)
  • Genetic conditions that cause thinner or paler lashes
  • Conditions that affect the eyes, eyelids, and eyelashes, which will eventually lead to hair loss
  • Injuries that have caused hair loss
  • Radiation or chemotherapy

Who Is Not a Candidate?

People who should not use Latisse if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Under 18 years old
  • Allergic to any ingredient in Latisse
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not have a prescription for Latisse

If you have any pre-existing eye conditions, consult an eye doctor before using Latisse.

Considerations When Using Latisse

  • Latisse can be used by people who wear contact lenses, but contacts must be removed before applying Latisse. Since Latisse contains benzalkonium chloride, it is important to note that discoloration of soft contacts can occur.  
  • Be sure that the Latisse bottle is fully intact before using it. 
  • The treatment should be used exactly as instructed and only by a person with a valid prescription for it.  
  • The bottle tip should not be in contact with any foreign surface, or it increases the risk of bacterial infection. 
  • The single-use applicator should only be used on one eye and then discarded. A sterile applicator should be used each time. 

How to Get Latisse?

Latisse is a prescription treatment, so it must be prescribed by a medical professional. Latisse should only be used by the person to whom it is prescribed.

Alternatives to Latisse

Since Latisse requires a prescription, it’s more difficult to access than over-the-counter options. Here are some alternatives to Latisse you can get without a prescription:

  • neuLash: This Latisse alternative contains isopropyl cloprostenate, which has been shown to encourage lash growth, resulting in longer, thicker lashes. It contains additional ingredients, including biotin, peptides, and panthenol to encourage lash health. Results are expected in about a month.
  • LashFood: This natural alternative to Latisse is designed to look like an eyeliner pen. It contains biotin, arginine (a beneficial amino acid), and a blend of flowers and herbs that encourage lash growth
  • RevitaLash: This eyelash growth serum also works as a lash conditioner, helping lashes to appear thicker and healthier. They also have a version designed with sensitive eyes in mind, RevitaLash Advanced Sensitive. A single tube is said to last six months.
  • GrandeLASH: This Latisse alternative features a blend of amino acids, vitamins, and peptides to promote lash growth. GrandeLASH features a money-back guarantee, so there is little risk if you don’t like the results.
  • LiLash: LiLash helps to strengthen eyelashes. Users report seeing increased lash growth in four to six weeks when using this natural product.

Latisse FAQs

Do you need a prescription for Latisse?
Yes, Latisse is only available via prescription. You cannot purchase it over the counter.

Who should take Latisse?

People who are 18 or older who have the following conditions should consider Latisse:

  • Hypotrichosis
  • Genetic conditions that impede eyelash growth and health
  • Any condition that leads to eyelash loss 
  • Injury-related eyelash loss
  • Eyelash loss due to radiation or chemotherapy

Who should not take Latisse?

People under 18 years old should not use Latisse. The same is true of people with any known allergy to any ingredient in Latisse. If you have any pre-existing eye conditions, consult a doctor before using Latisse.

Is Latisse covered by any insurance policies?

In most cases, Latisse will not be covered by insurance since it is usually used for cosmetic purposes.

Latisse may be covered by an insurance plan if you have a known condition that affects eyelash growth. Contact your insurance provider to confirm if this applies to you.

How much does Latisse cost without insurance?

Prices vary at different pharmacies and according to the specific product you purchase. On average, a one-month supply of Latisse kit costs between $120 and $150. 

What happens if I stop using Latisse?

If you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes will gradually return to how they were before. This may occur over a period of several weeks or months. If you like the results of Latisse, you’ll need to continue using it to maintain them.

What do I do if I forget to apply my Latisse?

If you forget to use Latisse, don’t try to double up your application. Just skip the application unless you remember within about an hour of your normal application time. Apply your next dose on your normal schedule.

Can I use Latisse on my lower lashes?

This is not recommended. Most dermatologists advise against applying Latisse to the lower lashes since it can cause unwanted hair growth outside the lash line

How long does it take to see results from Latisse?

It generally takes about two months to see full results from regular application of Latisse.Is there a generic version of Latisse?
Yes, the generic version of Latisse is bimatoprost. This is the FDA-approved active ingredient in Latisse.

References

  1. About Latisse.  Latisse.

  2. Using Latisse: Safety Info. Latisse.

  3. How to Apply Latisse. Latisse.

  4. Safety and Efficacy of Bimatoprost for Eyelash Growth in Postchemotherapy Subjects.  (April 2015).  The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

  5. Latisse Full Product Information. Latisse.

  6. Intraocular Pressure.  (July 2022). StatPearls.

  7. Macular Edema.  (July 2019). National Eye Institute.

  8. What Is Aphakia? (December 2021). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

  9. The Top 5 Natural Alternatives to Latisse. DermaNetwork.  

  10. Before & After. Lashfood.

  11. RevitaLash Advanced Sensitive. RevitaLash.

  12. FAQ. GrandeLASH.

  13. neuLash. Skin Research Laboratories.

  14. Patient-Reported Outcomes of Bimatoprost for Eyelash Growth: Results From a Randomized, Double-Masked, Vehicle-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study. (August 2013). Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

  15. Eyelash Growth in Subjects Treated With Bimatoprost: A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Masked, Vehicle-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study. (May 2012). Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

  16. Bimatoprost in the Treatment of Eyelash Hypotrichosis. (April 2010). Clinical Ophthalmology.

  17. Bimatoprost in the Treatment of Eyelash Universalis Alopecia Areata. (July–December 2010). International Journal of Trichology.

  18. Study of Bimatoprost Gel on Eyelash Growth. (July 2014). Duke University.

  19. Safety and Efficacy of Bimatoprost Solution 0.03% Topical Application in Patients with Chemotherapy-Induced Eyelash Loss. (December 2013). Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings.

Last Updated October 12, 2022

Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.