Problem: My lashes are falling out! Is there anything I can do to stop this from happening?

Solution: It is natural for lashes to shed and re-grow, but if you are noticing bald spots along your lash line, you may need to change some of your cleansing habits. Do not wipe off eye makeup. Wiping and pulling at the eyes can pull out lashes. Do not rub your eyes, especially when you are wearing mascara. Also, do not overuse mascara. I know it is tempting to have long, dramatically thick lashes, but the weight of the mascara can be too much for delicate lashes. Waterproof mascaras are the most difficult to remove and can take too many lashes with them. You might also want to change mascaras. It is unlikely that you are allergic to the mascara you are using, but try switching brands and see what happens.

By the way, you aren't using an eyelash curler, are you? Over time, the consistent tugging can pull out lashes. Another possibility: Noncosmetic allergies could be playing a part in your eyelash dilemma. The only solution is antihistamines or eliminating the allergens causing the problem. For example, if you are allergic to the down in your pillows, change to a synthetic fill. Hay fever can also cause the eye area to swell, damaging eyelashes.

Medically speaking, doctors refer to the loss of eyelashes as madarosis. According to ophthalmologist Dr. William Trattler, "While it may seem like mainly a cosmetic problem, the condition can be an indicator of something more serious, such as eye trauma, eyelid infections and even cancer of the eyelid. In addition, metabolic conditions such as hypothyroidism and pituitary insufficiency can cause madarosis" (Source: http://www.ivillagehealth.com).

It is also possible that the eyelash loss could be attributed to the presence of a mite called D. folliculorum. When it is active in small hair and eyelash follicles it can consume epithelial cells, causing the follicle to become swollen, inflamed, and plugged. All of this can lead to the eyelashes falling out. Fortunately, this problem is easily treated once correctly diagnosed. (Source: eMedicine Journal, May 11, 2001, volume 2, number 5.)

If you feel that your loss of eyelash hair is chronic, it is necessary to see an eyelid specialist (called an oculoplastic surgeon) and have him carefully examine your eyelid to determine the cause of the madarosis.