Eyelashes are more than just a beauty accessory; they are a vital part of our body's defense system. They act as a barrier, trapping dirt, dust, lint, and other airborne debris before it can reach the delicate eye tissues. When our eyes are closed, the eyelashes form an almost impenetrable shield against foreign irritants. In addition to their protective role, eyelashes also frame our face and help us express emotions.
Our eyebrows and eyelashes are our eyes' first line of defense. For instance, they help keep out dust and sand particles that could otherwise damage the eyes. Camels' long eyelashes serve a similar purpose; in experiments, researchers surrounded the eye with a plastic mesh, false eyelashes made with human hair, or cardboard to imitate the effect of long eyelashes. Historically, eyelashes have also been associated with chastity.
The ancient Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder suggested that women's eyelashes could fall out if they had too much sex. Today, long and defined eyelashes can make a big difference to one's face by opening up the eyes and creating a fresh, bright appearance. Eyelashes have become one of the few types of female body hair that is seen as desirable and attractive. A study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface found that eyelashes act as air filters for the eye.
Long eyelashes also emphasize movement around the eyes every time you blink or look, which can capture the viewer's attention. Bimatoprost is an effective treatment for promoting the growth of healthy eyelashes and adnexal hairs. However, its effectiveness in patients with eyelash alopecia areata is debatable. There are also different tools that can be used on eyelashes, such as an eyelash curler or mascara protector (also called an eye makeup assistant).
Our sensitive eyelashes can sense when something is too close to our face or eyes and alert us to possible danger. The eyelashes of a human embryo develop from the ectoderm between the 22nd and 26th weeks of pregnancy. Darker eyelashes emphasize the whites of the eyes (the sclera) and the dark ring that surrounds the iris (the limbal ring). It takes seven to eight weeks for eyelashes to grow back if removed, but constantly pulling them away can cause permanent damage.
Some people believe that when an eyelash falls on your cheek, you can make a wish if you grab it with your fingertips and take it away.