All she wanted was longer, fuller lashes for her big day. Instead, her eyelids got glued together.
With just three more months before her wedding day, like every bride, Louise Jackson wanted to look her best. She decided to try eyelash extensions, a process where synthetic lashes are glued onto your own to give it a lash-boosting effect that lasts up to six weeks. She booked into a salon and it was supposed to be just a trial run since she has never done it before.
As the Gloucester salon specialised in extensions, Louise was clearly excited as she lay down and waited for the therapist to work her magic. But the excitement soon turned to shock once the treatment was over. “After half an hour, she told me to open my eyes and look in the mirror,” Louise says.
Photo: Sanctuary at the Suites
“But I couldn’t; my lashes were stuck together. I told her and she said, ‘I’ll just get some tweezers.’ I thought that a couple of lashes must have gotten stuck together but as she pried them apart, I could feel my skin being pulled. My lids were stuck together!”
“I screamed in pain. When she finally pried my eyes open, I looked in the mirror and could see that dozens of my own lashes had been pulled out in the process. There were gaps on the upper and lower lids.”
“I started crying and felt as if I was having a panic attack. I refused to pay and left in a flood of tears with the glue still burning my eyes,” says the 28 year old.
She then phoned her beautician friend, who advised her to try using baby oil to remove the glue and false lashes. But they wouldn’t budge and Louise’s eyes “got more sore and even puffier.”
Desperate, Louise went to the A&E department at Stroud General Hospital, where doctors expressed shock. “They told me it looked as if the salon had used super-glue, which they couldn’t take off because applying more chemicals would irritate my eyes even further.”
Melanie Beck: allergic reaction and swollen (L) and today (R)
And that’s not the worse part of their diagnosis. Her eyeballs had been scratched by tweezers, and there was nothing that they could do except wait for the lashes to fall out and for her eyes to calm down, which would take a couple of weeks.
“I was so upset and worried that they wouldn’t recover before my wedding. I picked off the lashes and glue, bit by bit, every day for the next week. It was agony,” she says.
Louise isn’t the only victim of eyelash extensions gone wrong. The Daily Mail reported two similar cases along with hers. Sarah Fletcher and Melanie Beck also suffered allergic reactions to the glue used for attaching the lashes, causing their eyes and their whole faces to swell tremendously. And Sarah wasn’t even a first-time extension user, having done it for two to three years before that unfortunate visit to the salon.
Sarah Fletcher: allergic reaction and swollen (L) and today (R)
The problem is there can be untrained therapists due to the lack of regulation in the industry. As Sue Marsh, a professional therapist in the UK whose clients include Naomi Campbell and many victims of bad eyelash extensions, says, “Anyone can order glue and lashes over the Internet and set themselves up overnight. I am appalled by some of the things being done to women’s eyes. I’ve seen swollen faces from allergic reactions to eyelash glue, women with lashes that have broken off or fallen out in clumps, and girls who have caught infections from unhygienic technicians.”
And yes, in severe cases, your natural lashes will not only fall out but also not grow back. So, what can you do to protect yourself? For first-timers, a test by applying a single false lash to the eyes is a must. For old-timers – those who haven’t done it in the past six months or more – ask for a test to confirm you haven’t developed a sensitivity towards it. Make sure the salon does light lashes that are applied singly, and above all, allow six months rest in between treatments.
Remember: lash extensions should only be a once-in-a-blue-moon treat. Besides, there’s always mascara.
Photos & Source: The Daily Mail