How Chemo Affect Your Eyelashes And How to Deal With It?

Monday, 22 February 2016

Chemotherapy is widely recommended as the best way to treat cancer and recover. However, dealing with chemo is never easy mostly because it is associated with a wide array of side effects. The most common side effect of chemotherapy is hair loss.  But, what about eyelashes? Do they fall out as well? The primary purpose of this chapter is to focus on impact of chemotherapy on your eyelashes and provide useful tips to make them stronger.

Chemotherapy and hair loss
Before we discuss whether eyelashes might fall out or not, let’s get informed about why patients lose hair during chemo in the first place. Hair loss during chemotherapy occurs because this cancer treatment targets all rapidly dividing cells (both healthy and cancer cells). With that being said, it’s important to bear in mind that hair follicles belong to the group of fastest-growing cells in your body.

If you’re not undergoing let’s say brain cancer treatment, your hair follicles will divide every 23 to 72 hours. On the other hand, if you are undergoing chemotherapy, the therapy tackles cancer cells as well as your hair follicles at the same time. Within just a few weeks of your chemo, you will start losing some or all of your hair.

It is important to bear in mind that hair loss during chemotherapy varies from person to person because each patient’s body responds to chemo in a different manner. For example, while in some people hair loss is gradual, others experience dramatic loss of their hair not only from head, but from other body parts, including eyebrows and eyelashes.

The extent of hair loss depends on type of chemotherapy drugs you take.

Will I lose eyelashes during chemo?

You already know that hair loss is one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy. But, could you also lose your eyelashes? Losing hair isn’t something you get used to easily. Unfortunately, this hair loss isn’t limited to hair from your head. In fact, all bodily hair is suspected to fallouts during chemo.
This means that during this treatment, even your eyelashes can fall out, including eyebrows at the same time.

Additionally, you should also bear in mind that not every patient loses hair during chemo. As mentioned above, each patient’s body responds to the treatment differently. Also, some drugs might cause more hair loss than others and dosage plays an important role as well.

Loss of eyelashes can be quite disturbing for both male and female patients. Furthermore, in some cases, patients experience causes of eyelash loss after their chemo. According to Ramy Gafni, a cancer survivor and author of Ramy Gafni’s Beauty Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Great While Living with Cancer, losing eyelashes and eyebrows is a bigger giveaway that you’re fighting cancer than losing your hair.

But, there’s good news; women are less likely to lose lashes and eyebrows than hair on their heads. Why? It is because eyelashes and eyebrows have different durations of hair growth cycles thus being less susceptible to the inhibitor affect of chemotherapy. Moreover, re-growth of eyelashes and eyebrows is more noticeable because they only need to grow less than an inch.

If you notice you started losing eyelashes as well, then you will probably realize your eyes get sore quite easily. It’s because your eyelashes are the ones which protect your eyes from environmental damage.

Before you start worrying about your eyelashes, remind yourself that it’s just a temporary situations and they will, indeed, grow back.

Making eyelashes stronger

If you’re afraid of losing your eyelashes, tips listed below can help you make them stronger and healthier. They are:

Opt for false eyelashes – before you apply them, make sure you consult your doctor and see what he or she recommends. Why? It’s because you might be allergic to the glue without even realizing it. Therefore, before making any changes, you should ask your healthcare provider. False eyelashes have been very helpful to many cancer survivors out there.
  • Use perks of makeup to make other features of your face stand out or to create a marvellous look that won’t even seem like you are losing your eyelashes. With a little bit of mascara and eyeliner, you can do wonders and look great.
  • Buy eye drops that will help you when your eyes get sore. This is particularly beneficial if you spend a lot of time with a laptop or tablet.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes vigorously
  • Use eyelash enhancer products that will make your eyelashes stronger, healthier, and less brittle and sensitive.


Loss of eyelashes is one of many symptoms of chemo. Although eyelash loss can affect your self esteem you should bear in mind it’s just temporary and they will grow back. Also, while some people may lose eyelashes due to chemo, others don’t. Likelihood of this side effect depends on dosage or how person’s body reacts to the treatment. What you can do is to avoid rubbing your eyes, use eyelash enhancers, and make up for loss of eyelashes with benefits of makeup.



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