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Is eyelid darkening from Latisse permanent?

Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) is a popular prescription eye drop used to treat hypotrichosis, or inadequate eyelash growth. It can effectively lengthen, thicken, and darken eyelashes. However, some patients using Latisse notice darkening of the eyelid skin. This side effect leads many to wonder – is eyelid darkening from Latisse permanent?

What causes eyelid darkening with Latisse?

Latisse contains the active ingredient bimatoprost, which was originally used to treat glaucoma. Bimatoprost is a prostaglandin analog that increases eyelash growth. It does this by extending the anagen (growth) phase of the eyelash hair growth cycle.

Although bimatoprost is applied directly to the eyelash line, some of the medication can migrate onto the eyelid skin. Bimatoprost causes increased pigmentation by stimulating melanocytes, which are cells that produce melanin. This leads to darkened eyelid skin in about 4% of Latisse users.

Is eyelid darkening permanent when using Latisse?

In most cases, eyelid darkening from Latisse use is reversible once treatment is stopped. However, it may take several months for pigmentation to fade after discontinuing use. In one clinical trial, eyelid pigmentation took 2-4 months to reverse in 79% of affected patients. For the remaining 21%, darkening took 6-12 months to completely resolve.

There have been a few case reports of persistent eyelid darkening for longer than 12 months after stopping Latisse. But these seem to occur rarely, and may be related to very long treatment duration (over 2 years).

Factors that influence reversibility

Several factors may influence whether pigmentation from Latisse is permanent or reversible:

  • Skin type – Those with darker skin tones may be more prone to lasting pigment changes.
  • Treatment duration – Longer use of Latisse increases risk of persistent darkening.
  • Medication application – Pigmentation is more likely if Latisse accidentally gets on lid skin.
  • Sun exposure – UV radiation can potentially make darkening more permanent.
  • Individual variation – Some people may be more susceptible to pigment alterations.

Strategies to avoid eyelid darkening

If you want to use Latisse for eyelash growth but don’t want skin darkening, here are some tips that may help:

  • Apply carefully along lash line – Avoid getting Latisse on the eyelid skin itself.
  • Blot excess solution – Gently dab away any excess that gets on skin after applying.
  • Shorten treatment duration – Use for 3-4 months then take a break if desired.
  • Use lower concentration – Switch to over-the-counter Lumigan 0.01% instead.
  • Protect skin from sun – Wear SPF 30+ sunscreen on eyelids during treatment.

Treatment for eyelid darkening from Latisse

If you develop eyelid pigmentation from Latisse use, there are a few options to potentially speed reversal:

  • Stop Latisse – This allows natural fading over several months in most cases.
  • Lighteners – Products with hydroquinone, kojic acid, vitamin C, glycolic acid may help.
  • Chemical peels – Gentle peels with glycolic acid can aid shedding of darkened skin.
  • Laser treatment – Low powered lasers may reduce pigment by targeting melanocytes.

Discuss these options with a dermatologist to decide if medical treatment could be helpful. But keep in mind that for most, discontinuing Latisse results in gradual lightening of darkened eyelids within 6-12 months.

The bottom line

While Latisse can effectively grow eyelashes, eyelid skin darkening is a possible side effect. In most cases, this pigmentation slowly reverses after stopping treatment over a period of several months. Persistent darkening lasting longer than 12 months is unlikely, but possible in rare circumstances. Careful application and limiting treatment duration can help prevent this side effect. But if eyelid darkening does occur, rest assured that it remains reversible for the vast majority of Latisse users once the medication is discontinued.


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