Friday, March 26, 2010

Strengthening Eyelashes

Published: February 17, 2010
From the New York Times

ABOUT a year ago, a prescription eye-drop formula for glaucoma made beauty history by repackaging itself as an eyelash serum. Now long, thick lashes can be obtained with a prescription to Latisse (about $120 a month). Allergan, the maker of Latisse, has exclusive rights to bimatoprost, the Food and Drug Administration-approved ingredient behind lash growth, but that hasn’t stopped other makers of eyelash serums from claiming that their products also may strengthen eyelashes. This month, a new drugstore version, Concentrated Lash Boosting Serum by L’Oréal Paris, which includes centella asiatica, a plant extract, and arginine, an amino acid found in keratin, made its debut for $14.95.

Karen Grant, an analyst at NPD, a market research company, estimated that sales of lash enhancing products in department stores tripled in dollar volume last year when offerings by Lancôme ($39) and the niche brands Tarte ($65), Fusion Beauty ($89) and Cargo ($35) were introduced. Other companies include Jan Marini Skin Research, which offers a conditioner with a peptide complex ($160 a tube). RapidLash and Neulash, available for $49.95 and $150 a tube respectively, feature isopropyl cloprostenate, a prostaglandin analogue like bimatoprost.

However, "not every prostaglandin analogue is created equal," said Dr. Amy Wechsler, a New York dermatologist. Prostaglandin analogues are synthetic hormones that attach to natural prostaglandin receptors in the body. Dr. Wechsler compared the varying efficacy of all prostaglandin analogues in strengthening lashes to the claims that all vitamin A analogues (retinol, retinyl palmitate and retin-A) have equal effects in improving skin conditions, which they don’t, she said. (Dr. Wechsler is not involved in the promotion of any eyelash product, although she will promote Juvederm XC, Allergan’s dermal filler, next week.)

Robert Trow, chief executive of Rocasuba/RapidLash, stands behind his prostaglandin analogue, but he’s also enthusiastic about other ingredients in his product, like pumpkin-seed and licorice extracts and biotin. RapidLash is effective, he wrote in an e-mail message, due to “the synergistic combination of state-of-the-art peptides and vitamins."

Confused? Just remember you can still fake it — and get instant results — with a $5 tube of mascara.

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