What to Do with an Ingrown Eyelash? Causes & Cures

By Emily M.| Last updated on April 10, 2024
ingrown eyelash
⏱️ 4 min read

There are very few things in this world that are as annoying as an ingrown hair. They can appear on any part of our body that has hair, which is, unfortunately, almost ANY part.

If it happens somewhere we can easily cover up with clothes, it’s really no big deal – you can just wait it out and let it pass on its own without any hassle.

But what do you do when it’s on your face? We’re here to break down the symptoms, common causes, and treatments for an ingrown eyelash.

Let’s get into it!

What Is an Ingrown Eyelash?

An ingrown eyelash, a condition also known as trichiasis, is a hair that starts growing in the wrong direction – inward, toward your eye.

This sensation isn’t exactly pleasant, as you can imagine, and it means that the lashes rub against your eyeball. On top of that, it can be dangerous if left untreated for too long.

Prolonged ignoring of this issue can lead to ulcers, an infection, or even permanent damage to your eye, in the absolute worst case.

The good news is that these complications aren’t common. And, even if you find yourself among the unlucky few, ingrown lashes are very easily treatable.

The most important thing is to catch the first symptoms as early as possible and seek OTC cures or medical attention before any complications get a chance to crop up.

Although this can happen on either lash line, an ingrown bottom lash is somewhat more common.

Ingrown Eyelash Symptoms

As we said, it’s important to catch early symptoms of an ingrown eyelash. So, let’s explain what they look like:

  • Unusual redness in or around the eye,
  • Pain or discomfort on the eyeball,
  • Mild or severe epiphora (abnormally watery eyes),
  • Blurred vision, especially in just one eye,
  • Minor swelling,
  • Photosensitivity (sensitivity to light),
  • Unusual eye discharge,
  • A nagging feeling that something is stuck in your eye.

The tricky thing is that all of these symptoms are relatively normal, so you need to keep an eye on their persistence.

For example, your eyes may be watery due to the wind or an irritative skincare product, but if the symptom sticks around even after eliminating those external factors it may be time to check for an ingrown lash – especially if multiple symptoms happen at the same time.

What Causes Ingrown Eyelash Hair?

There are many things that can cause this irregular hair growth pattern. Firstly, let’s go over the most common medical conditions that can cause ingrown lashes:

  • Blepharitis, or the inflammation of the edges of the eyelid,
  • Distichiasis, a birth defect in which a person grows 2 rows of eyelashes, with the second one being closer to the eyeball,
  • Entropion, a condition in which the eyelid is turned inward and that usually results from prolonged untreated inflammation.

However, a more common scenario is that an ingrown eyelash will come from some sort of trauma to the eye.

This can either be damage done with a makeup brush, tweezers, or even your fingers. And the most common cause of inflammation is from unsanitary items touching the area around the eye.

Do Lash Treatments Cause Ingrown Hair in Eyelid?

Not directly.

Lash lifts and lash extensions cannot in any way influence the growth pattern of your lashes, but an ingrown can be a result of unhygienic or clumsy practices during your appointment.

To avoid this risk, we advise you to go to a trusted salon and make sure your tech has a steady hand.

A lash lift can even be used as a treatment for an ingrown lash. If you do not wish to remove the ingrown for any reason, you can book a lash lift during which the hair (or hairs) in question will be conditioned to grow outward, like the rest of your lashes.

Bear in mind that this is only a temporary solution, so the lashes will continue to grow inward as their growth cycle continues and they grow out of the lift.

@lashliftsg

Her doctor told her to laser off her lashes‼️

♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) - CKay

Ingrown Eyelash Removal

If your issue with ingrown lashes persists, we advise you to seek medical attention. Here’s what your options will be in that case:

  • Permanent hair removal: a doctor will use a laser or an electrical current to damage the follicle, preventing the lash from growing out again,
  • Cryosurgery: freezing and removing the affected lashes,
  • Repositioning surgery: surgically repositioning the lash or lash line. This method has been proven the most effective.

Thankfully, these scary surgical methods are very rarely necessary. Only if this problem persists and reappears throughout your entire life will these invasive methods be something your doctor suggests.

Ingrown Eyelash Removal at Home

If your symptoms aren’t too severe and you feel confident in how steady your hands are, ingrown eyelash treatment at home is also an option.

The first thing you need to do is to thoroughly wash your hands and face, removing all makeup from the eyes. For this, you can also use a mild cleanser that is specifically made for sensitive skin or a specialized eye cleanser.

After that, disinfect a pair of tweezers and pull the eyelash out.

No matter how clean everything is and how careful you are, this will be painful. To make it somewhat easier, you can use warm compresses for 15-20 minutes several times a day to ease the symptoms and soften the lash.

@soumisx__

Enjoy me getting out a ingrown eyelash

♬ Aesthetic - Devonte Mayo

So, How to Prevent Ingrown Eyelash Under Skin

If you recall the most common causes of ingrown lashes, you’ll remember that they stem from either medical conditions, inflammation, or trauma.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about those medical conditions, especially since some of them are present from birth.

On the other hand, trauma and inflammation are easily preventable. The number one rule here is that you make sure that everything that comes near your eye is 100% clean – this goes for both objects (like makeup and skincare applicators) and your hands.

Trauma can be prevented by simply being extra careful. Still, accidents happen and there’s not a lot you can do about that, but know that poking your eye with a mascara wand doesn’t mean you’ll instantly get an ingrown hair.

Either way, the best thing you can do is be careful with the things you put near your eyes and relax – ingrown lashes may be unpleasant, but they are very easily treatable.

Cover image source: Freepik

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