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A Dermatologist’s Tips for Using Latisse

Brandith Irwin, MD - Blogs
By Brandith Irwin, MDBoard-certified dermatologistJune 5, 2017
From the WebMD Archives

Latisse was originally discovered to be effective for growing eyelashes when eye doctors, who were using the drops to treat glaucoma, noticed that their patients were developing very long eyelashes. Thanks to their discovery, we now have a solution for sparse lashes – but is that solution right for you? Many of my patients and visitors to my website wonder the same thing. Here is how I answer some of their most common questions:

Is Latisse effective?

For most people, yes. Almost everyone who tries it notices an increase in length and sometimes an increase in thickness and darkness. But results take a month or two - and money:

  • You need to use Latisse on your upper eyelids for at least 8-10 weeks to get full growth and thickening of the lashes.
  • Latisse is not cheap: $ 150-170 for a small bottle, which the makers say will last you a month – but there are tricks to make it last longer (read below!)

How often do I apply it?

In the beginning, you need to use Latisse once a day. So, make it part of your regular daily routine. I suggest keeping it very handy, perhaps right next to your toothbrush or other daily skincare products.

If you miss a day, don’t try and play catch up the next day. You really only need 1 drop of product per day. Applying more will not cause the product to work any faster – it will just waste product and possibly cause irritation.

And please, have patience! Latisse does take a month or more to start working, so just keep using it every night and have faith, your results will come.

After 3 months, many people (like me) use it every other day instead. You won’t get quite as much growth though.

What is the best way to apply it to make it last longer?

To get the most out of your bottle of Latisse, many dermatologists suggest using the product slightly differently than outlined in the patient insert and on the Latisse website.

I instruct my patients to place 1 drop of Latisse directly onto a very tiny eyeliner brush, or into the cap of the bottle and dip the brush into the cap. Apply to the skin at the base of your upper lashes, like you would eyeliner – it should feel just slightly wet. If there is any dripping, you are putting too much on the brush. If the brush feels dry, re-dip it into the cap. One drop is usually enough to cover both eyes.

Unless you have an eye infection or irritation, you can also use 1 brush for both eyes. Just be sure to clean the brush with a little gentle dish washing liquid between uses, rinse and let it dry for sanitation purposes. Replace the brush about every 3-6 months, or immediately if you have a problem with your eyes or the eyelid skin (and call your doctor in this case, as well). Make sure you only put Latisse on the upper lash (NOT your lower lashes), and wipe off any excess product.

Should I use Latisse in the morning or evening?

You can use Latisse in the morning or the evening, whichever is more convenient for you. However, many people prefer to use it in the morning as it may stay in place better than putting it on at night and then rolling around on your pillow. If applying in the morning, first put on your eye cream and concealer, then Latisse, and after it is dry, apply any eyeliner.

How should I use it once I achieve my goal length and thickness?

Once your lashes are the length and thickness you want, I think you can start using Latisse every-other-night, instead of every night. But remember, if you stop using Latisse completely your lashes will go back to how they were before treatment. Also, keep in mind you should see the full effect of treatment at week 16.

Is Latisse effective for eyebrows?

Yes! Latisse can be used to can help fill in sparse eyebrows. It may also make the hairs grow longer, so be prepared to have to trim more. You don’t need much product – a tiny drop will work or just use what’s left on the brush after you do your upper lashes.

How much does Latisse cost?

Most dermatology offices will sell 1 kit of Latisse for $ 50-170. You can also request a prescription and pick it up at your pharmacy.

The company who makes Latisse, Allergan, also offers a reward program called Brilliant Distinctions. Basically, you get points every time you buy Latisse (or Botox or Juvederm) and can use those points to get discounts on future treatments (similar to airlines’ frequent flyer programs).

Is Latisse safe to use?

In general, as long as you have healthy eyes (i.e., no glaucoma or infections), Latisse should be safe to use. If you are not sure about how healthy your eyes are, go see your eye doctor to get an exam and ask if you are a candidate for Latisse.

Latisse is not for everyone, though, and it is a prescription medication, so you need to talk to a doctor, PA-C, or ARNP who can prescribe it. If, when you do start Latisse, you develop eye or eyelid irritation or eyelid discoloration, stop using the product and call your doctor.

I have heard Latisse can change the color of my eyes, is that true?

There is a lot of misleading information floating around on the internet about this subject. First, you need to know that Latisse was developed from a prescription eye drop called Lumigan that is placed directly into the eyes to treat glaucoma. In the original Lumigan FDA clinical trials, there was a 1% incidence of hyperpigmentation (darkening) of the eye itself, especially for patients with hazel or light brown eyes. Unlike Lumigan, Latisse is applied only along the lash line – not in the eye itself. The chance of permanent darkening of your eye color is very, very rare with Latisse. To date, there have been no reported cases of any eye color change with Latisse. Please discuss this with your doctor and also refer to the FDA-approved prescribing information for Latisse.

Where can I get Latisse?

Your local dermatologist can prescribe Latisse for you, and most carry it in their office. You can also request a prescription for your pharmacy, but insurance won’t cover it. I don’t recommend buying this product on the web. There are many products that look exactly like it, but are in fact counterfeit.

Are there any other products as effective as Latisse but cheaper?

Many companies are coming out with lash products to compete with Latisse. Although some of these Latisse competitors may be somewhat effective in lengthening lashes, none are FDA-approved, and none have been proven to provide the same results as Latisse.

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About the Author
Brandith Irwin, MD

Brandith Irwin, MD, is a board certified dermatologist and founder of Madison Skin & Laser Center in Seattle, Washington. She is also Co-Founder of SkinTour.com a website focused on accurate consumer education on nonsurgical, aesthetic procedures and products. Through her books and website, Dr. Irwin is dedicated to educating people about skin care in the context of a global conversation about beauty, self-esteem and inclusiveness.

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