Chemical burn vs. pad irritation photo of a red eye.

Red Eyes and Lash Extension Irritation

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Are you experiencing redness and irritation after getting your lashes done? There are a number of factors that may be causing your discomfort post-appointment. To determine if continuing to get eyelash extensions is the right option for you, it is important to understand what may be causing your irritation. Follow along to learn the steps to take after experiencing a reaction and the differences between an allergy, a chemical burn, and a scraped sclera. 


What does an allergic reaction to lashes look like? 

An allergy is a reaction experienced by the introduction of a foreign substance or product to the body. Although most people are not allergic to eyelash extension products, an allergy may occur at any point. 

An allergic reaction to lash extensions may involve: 

  • Sore, watering eyes
  • Discomfort around the eyes
  • Swollen or red eyes
  • A burning sensation

Cyanoacrylate (the main ingredient in most lash extension glues) is the most common allergen associated with allergies to extensions. Luckily, there are other options for sensitive clients. We offer a Cyano-Free adhesive that is ideal for those who experience an allergic reaction to lash extensions with traditional glue. Citizen DIY Lashes are another great option if you’re wanting a lash enhancement but experiencing allergies. 


What should you do if a reaction occurs? 

Usually, allergy symptoms will show at any point between 1-48 hours after application and tend to worsen quickly. It is crucial for the client to return to a salon for the lash extensions to be removed safely if a reaction occurs. If you are experiencing a severe reaction, it is advised to see a doctor or pharmacist ASAP.

Chemical Burn

eyelashes scraped sclera pad irritation

What are the symptoms of a chemical burn? 

Chemical burns occur inside the eye and are often indicated by redness and irritation. Some symptoms of a chemical burn in the eyes may include the following: 

  • Redness of the conjunctiva 
  • Pain (burning sensation)
  • Feeling of something stuck in the eye
  • Blurred vision 
  • Swollen eyelids

Chemical burns will usually clear up within 3-5 days without treatment, but if symptoms continue, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

What causes a chemical burn? 

Chemical burns from lash extensions can be a result of the eyes being open during treatment. The glue used for eyelash extensions contains ingredients for a strong hold and must be used with caution to avoid irritation. Glue fumes are especially attracted to moisture, so a chemical burn can sometimes occur when the eyelids are even slightly exposed. 

How can chemical burns be prevented? 

Some ways lash artists can prevent chemical burns include: 

  • Using foam tape to help prevent eyelash glue fumes from reaching open eyes
  • Ensuring correct placement of eye pads 
  • Advising clients to avoid caffeine at least an hour before service 
  • Using a lash mirror to check that the eyes are fully closed 
  • Holding down the eyelid down with a finger 
  • Wrapping a sanitized coin in tape and tape it to the eyelid (the ‘dime trick’)

Scraped sclera

When does a scraped sclera occur? 

A scraped sclera can occur when eye pads are placed too close to the whites of the eyes during a service. Improper placement of pads can irritate the eyes, causing bruising or micro tears on the eye surface. Poor eye pad placement can cause symptoms similar to chemical burns and can be easily mistaken for an allergic reaction. Usually, irritation is somewhat instant, causing clients to feel abrasion if the pad is rubbing their eye, but a good indicator that the pad is placed too high is if it is gooey or slimy around the eye area. 

How can a scraped sclera be avoided? 

Lash artists have the responsibility of communicating with their clients to ensure they are comfortable. Eye pads must be carefully placed and should sit just below the waterline to prevent discomfort. It is important to be mindful of where the pad is sitting, as it can sometimes slip and reach the eye, leading to a scraped sclera. If you are experiencing any pain while getting your extensions, it is important to let your lash artist know so they can adjust the pad into its proper place. 

Though uncomfortable, allergies, chemical burns, and scraped scleras are usually temporary and preventable. It is important to choose a lash artist that is properly certified and to pay attention to any symptoms following your appointments. Please feel free to always reach out with any questions on our Instagram @lostartistrylash - we love chatting everything lash!

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