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Latisse Overview


Growing Thicker Lashes
Actress Debra Messing at the Latisse launch party, March 26, 2009. It's not every day you see a celebrity launch party for a purportedly non-cosmetic drug.
Actress Debra Messing at the Latisse launch party, March 26, 2009. It's not every day you see a celebrity launch party for a purportedly non-cosmetic drug.
AP Photo/Dan Steinberg

If you decide to use Latisse, you'll need to obtain a doctor's prescription first. Allergan's Web site for Latisse claims that the drug is meant for patients who suffer from hypotrichosis. That's the medical term for someone with an inadequate number of eyelashes. The site also says that Latisse isn't meant to replace mascara. But at the same time, the site promotes the drug with a gallery of before-and-after photos featuring celebrity Brooke Shields. The message may be somewhat mixed.

After obtaining and filling a prescription, you'll need to apply Latisse to your upper eyelids once a day. Allergan says that you can expect to see results in eight to 16 weeks after you begin your treatment. The reason it takes so long is that Latisse encourages new eyelashes to grow between existing eyelashes. The growth cycle takes several weeks.

Once your eyelashes have grown, you'll need to continue applying Latisse each day for maintenance. If you stop treating your eyes, the benefits will gradually go away over a course of weeks or months. Eventually, your lashes will look the way they did before you started treatment.

The drug isn't cheap -- it can cost up to $120 for one month's supply. And since most insurance companies won't cover drugs used for cosmetic purposes, you'll have to pay for Latisse out of pocket. Because of the cost and risk of side effects, Consumer Reports associate editor Kevin McCarthy cautions against adopting Latisse just to grow thicker eyelashes [source: McCarthy].

If you suffer from hypotrichosis, Latisse may be the right choice for you. But if you're just looking for a way to make your lashes look longer and thicker, you may wish to reconsider mascara.

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