Allergic Reaction OR Irritation

Eyelash Extensions

If you or anyone you know has had what was thought to be an allergic reaction or irritation to lash extensions and has wondered if they are really allergic and if they can get them again below may be able to help you clarify.

Common reasons as to why you may be experiencing an irritation or an allergic reaction and a guide as to the difference between the two.

Lash extensions can be allergic for some people but a lot of people seem to mistake allegeric reactions with irritations. One of the easiest ways to determine if you are having an allergic reaction is to see if your body responds to an anti-histamine (like Telfast or Zyrtec) as your body produces histamine during an allergic reaction.

Allergic reactions or irritations can be caused from multiple factors during the lash extension application process. They can happen randomly and with varied severity, even if you haven’t had a reaction before. Most people won’t know they are allergic or susceptible to irritation until after the lash appointment within the first 24/48 hours. Some of the most common symptoms can be redness, swelling of the eyelid close to the lash line, itching, and flaky or dry skin.

Please note this is what we have experienced being professionals in the industry and is not medical advice, anyone suspecting they are having a true allegeric reaction please seek medical advice.



1. Allergic Reaction – Cyanoacrylate

Cyanoacrylate-based adhesives are difficult to distinguish from irritation from eyelash extensions in general. Cyanoacrylate allergies can develop at any time. They can start after years of use, after one use or after a few uses. Generally they manifest as a red, swollen, itchy lash line. If you think this maybe the cause a test patch on another area of skin can be tried, or a small section on one eye.

2. Allergic Reaction – Formaldehyde

Found in every glue at varied strengths. It is the key adhesive in the bonding agent of the glue. Reactions can happen at the time of the application whist others feel nothing at the time, but wake up the next morning with moderate to severe red, swollen, itchy eyes. Some clients build an intolerance to the formaldehyde adhesive ingredient, which can be confused with an irritation. Once you get this reaction you will always get a reaction, no research has found a cure to this reaction as far as we know. Clients can get their lashes done for over 5 years and then randomly have a reaction. If you have had a reaction before always get a patch test first.

3. Irritation – Seasonal Allergies

Some people who suffer from seasonal allergies find that they have to remove their lash extensions for about two months out of the year when the pollen count is at its highest. Again, the symptoms are the same: swelling, itching and redness. This generally happens in the springtime, but some people have allergies to pollen that blooms in the autumn or summer. I don’t know if I’m the only one that’s noticed that the flowers are confused still blooming and creating pollen due to this lovely weather we have been having lately. Therefore, irritations that people associate with the spring are still present.

4. Irritation – Eyelid Irritation

Eyelash Extensions themselves can cause irritation of the eyelid skin because they sometimes rub against the eyelid skin while the client is sleeping. The thicker the extension, the more irritation they can cause in sensitive individuals. A method of determining if the irritation is from the lashes or the glue, is changing to the thinnest extensions (0.15mm). If the symptoms are reduced or eliminated, you can conclude that the adhesive is not the cause. People with sensitive skin are more likely to suffer eyelid irritation from the friction of thick lash extensions rubbing against the lid.

5. Irritation – Eye Irritation

Many people with sensitivities to the adhesive begin feeling sensitive during the procedure itself. If you do not shut your eyes completely the fume of the glue will affect your eyes, causing a stinging sensation, watering and redness. Some people feel stinging, burning and irritation at the time of application whist others feel nothing at the time, but wake up the next morning with red, swollen, itchy eyes. If the client leaves the salon with redness in the whites of her eyes, it can be determined that the eye itself has been exposed to glue fumes.

Irritation – Dermatitis, Eczema & Rosacea

Inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea are much more likely to suffer reactions to eyelash extension products. There is even a sub-type of rosacea that specifically affects the eyelids. Again, the symptoms are redness, swelling and itching. Many people may not even be aware that they suffer from Rosacea at all until they have a problem with their eyelash extensions. It’s possible to have eyelid rosacea triggered by irritation from eyelash extensions even if the client does not suffer from rosacea on other parts of the face.