Allergic reactions to eyelash extensions are uncommon, but they do occur, so it’s important to know the signs and what to do for your client. Having to inform a client that they need removal is horrible, but you must do everything you can to prevent a severe reaction, even if the client has received bad eyelash extensions from another technician. You also need to be able to advise your clients on the difference between a reaction and irritation that will pass.
Irritation is mild and doesn’t always warrant immediate removal, so make sure you learn the difference, and what advice to give your client to ensure they make the right decision and their condition gets better, not worse.
Questions to Ask a Concerned Client
If a client calls after their visit with concerns of a reaction, ask them:
- Is there any swelling or puffiness?
- Where is the swelling or puffiness?
- Is it itchy?
- Is it one eye or both?
- Are you uncomfortable?
- Is your lash line irritated, itchy, or swollen?
Is your eye itself irritated? If the client answers yes to more than two of these questions and you are concerned about their symptoms, advise them to go to an emergency doctor or the hospital. In other situations, you can suggest them on what to do to alleviate their symptoms.
Eyelash Extension Allergy Symptoms
True allergic reactions to eyelash extensions are rare, and most cases are simply a case of irritation. The most common symptoms are:
- Swollen eyelids
- Red and puffy eyes
- Redness of the cornea
- Itchy eye
These symptoms will arise within the 48 hours after the application and won’t subside. Symptoms often get worse quickly.
In most cases, it is the cyanoacrylate in the adhesive that causes the reaction. Cyanoacrylate is the base ingredient in eyelash extension glue that forms the bond between the natural lash and extension. If a client has a genuine reaction, there is no option but to remove the lashes.
Are There Other Glue Options?
Sensitive adhesives are available, but they still contain cyanoacrylate, just in smaller doses. If they are mildly sensitive, these adhesives may be a suitable alternative.
Symptoms of Eyelash Extension Irritation
Eye irritations can exhibit similar signs as reactions, but are less severe and usually subside after the adhesive has cured. Irritation often occurs within the first few hours after application but goes down within the first two days.
Irritation should only include redness, itching, and some minor swelling. If they have sensitive skin, they may find they experience a small reaction initially, but it will go away quickly.
If a client experiences some symptoms but wants to keep their extensions for a day to see if it gets better and you think it’s likely just irritation, let them do so, but check in with them after 24 hours to make sure the symptoms are subsiding.
How to Treat an Allergic Reaction to Eyelash Extensions
If you are sure, it is a genuine allergic reaction to ensure your client takes an antihistamine and remove the lashes as soon as possible. Anti-inflammatories will also help reduce the swelling. Other methods you can recommend are:
- Use a cold compress to reduce discomfort and swelling (eye pads may better if they are trying to keep the lashes)
- Use a small amount of cortisone cream
- Take Benadryl
- Go to urgent care if nothing works or if the reaction is severe
How to Remove Eyelash Glue
If your client experiences a reaction and you want to remove the eyelashes, ask them to come in for removal as soon as possible. If they aren’t able to come in or if they want to remove them quickly themselves, there are a few ways to remove them in an emergency:
- Make sure they don’t pull them out by hand
- Suggest an oil-based eye makeup remover and wipe it over the lashes until all the lash extensions have come away
- If they don’t have an oil-based eye makeup remover, coconut oil works just as well
- As does olive oil
How to Minimise the Chance of Irritation and Reaction
There are a few things you can do to minimise the chances of your client experiencing irritation or an allergic reaction if you know they are sensitive:
- Only apply lashes in a well-ventilated room
- Use a fan to disperse fumes away from their eyes
- Pre-cleanse the eyes with a saline solution instead of a primer
- Use a nano mister for quick curing
- Fully explain aftercare
- Always do a small patch test in your consultation, even if they say they’ve had extensions before
Remember, always ask new clients to sign a release form that indicates the risks of eyelash extensions. When you are fully prepared for any situation you can go into your consultations and appointments with confidence. If you’d like to learn more from us you can read more on our blog, learn how to run consultations your customers will rave about, or find out about our eyelash extension courses.