Several years ago a new group of glaucoma medications made with prostaglandin analogues were noted to cause an increase in the length and thickness of the eyelashes. Xalatan and Lumigan are two of the better known in this group of medications. Because of the increase in lash growth, several companies tried to formulate cosmetic products using these active ingredients specifically to cause lash enhancement. There was concern in the ophthalmic community regarding these products since a known side effect of the drops was a darkening of both the skin around the eyes and the iris in patients using the topical preparations.
In 2007, two cosmetic products were introduced: Jan Marini’s Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner, and Revitalash. Both of these had the active prescription ingredient bimatoprost, which is the same ingredient as in Lumigan. After several months, the FDA took them off the market, saying they were actually medications and not a cosmetic product. There were also concerns about side effects on vision and with the product causing a darkening in the pigment in the iris. They have both been reformulated without the prostaglandin, and are back on the market. They are primarily conditioners for the lashes, but they do state that they will promote lash growth.
M.D. Lash Factor is another product for lash enhancement which contains a new prostaglandin analogue. It is applied directly to the eyelash roots. The clinical studies with this product showed a 24% increase in eyelash growth after just four weeks, and there was no increase in iris pigmentation or darkening of the skin.