The beauty market is awash with products that claim to make your eyelashes longer, thicker and darker. These ‘lash enhancing’ serums are not just cosmetics, but medicinal – they have been clinically proven to do what they claim. This is because they contain the FDA approved active ingredient, bimatoprost. The first product that did what it said on the tin was Lumigan (UK) or Latisse (US). It was originally a glaucoma treatment and it was found that patients using it had extremely long lashes. It turned out that the prostaglandin analogue in this medication (a chemical cousin to hormones) acted by activating Prostamide Alpha F2 receptors on the eyelid hair follicle. This caused more hairs to be in the growing stage, which made lashes grow longer and fuller.

It was a medical breakthrough. Allergan, who manufactured the drug, saw this and patented it for use as an eyelash growth serum and called it Latisse.

As a pharmaceutical, the active ingredient is licensed as a prescription-only medicine. This is because it is a class III drug and the UK’s medical watchdog, the MHRA, regulates such drugs. This means that only doctors can prescribe them and monitor how they are used by their patients.

This means that it is expensive – and many people who would like to try the product have been put off by this cost. However, there are a number of products available which are cheap lash serums that contain the same active ingredient as Latisse and work just as well.

One of the most popular is Revitalash. This is an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink lash serum which contains a PGA, peptides, biotin, ginseng extract and plant proteins. It can be a bit stingy on application but it does seem to work. It also tends to grow lashes quite a bit quicker than other serums.

Another is UKLASH, which is a high quality lash enhancement serum that also contains a PGA and peptides as well as botanical extracts. It has been clinically proven to significantly increase the length, darkness and thickness of eyelashes within weeks. It may take up to four months of continuous use for the maximum effect. It does cause mild itching and redness of the skin around the eyes, but these effects usually wear off after a few weeks. A great alternative is LVL, which lifts the natural eyelashes at the root so that they look more open and wide-awake. It doesn’t give a dramatic increase in lash length but it does have a very effective and lasting effect. The best thing is that it costs a fraction of the price of Latisse! bimatoprost eyelash serum uk

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