How Do Eyelashes Protect Your Eyes? (Answered)

Reviewed by: Tracy Scott, Lash Expert

You may only think of your eyelashes in terms of their length and body, and how you can emphasize them with certain makeup looks. But how do eyelashes protect your eyes? Read on for all the answers.

How do eyelashes protect your eyes

How Do Eyelashes Protect Your Eyes?

Eyelashes are there to protect against particles and matter such as dirt, makeup, and sweat from entering your eyes. They assist in preventing your eyes from becoming exposed to potential irritants or infections, so it’s worthwhile caring for your eyelashes as a result.

When your eyes are closed when you’re sleeping, it’s particularly difficult for any particulates to enter the eyes themselves, as they will become trapped in your eyelashes. 

Eyelashes are also designed to protect your eyes when you’re awake, too. They are deliberately long so as to catch dirt, dandruff, and general debris from entering your eyes.

This will then be swept to the corner of your eyes, where you can wipe the particulate away. 

The air around us is always full of microscopic particles that we can’t see, and your eyelashes are always working to keep these from entering your eyes.

Eyelashes also trigger the blink reflex if something touches them. This happens quickly so that you can close your eyes against the potential threat of anything getting into them. 

However, if the bit of matter does get into your eyes, blinking then helps to clean the eye free of this particle.

How Do Eyebrows Protect Your Eyes?

How Do Eyebrows Protect Your Eyes

Your eyebrows sit above your eyes and provide another layer of protection for those eyes. 

They’re positioned along the brow bone in order to help channel liquid such as sweat and rainwater away from your delicate eyes. 

In fact, each hair shaft of your eyebrows, as well as their overall curved shape, is deliberately situated in order to assist in either re-directing or wicking away any moisture, preventing it from entering your eye socket and eyeballs. 

Eyebrows also act as an extra filter by which to trap particles like dust or debris from entering your eyes, as well as helping to block out light. 

As well as having a protective function, eyebrows are essential for helping to communicate our feelings and thoughts to others.

As such, it’s best to avoid over-plucking your eyebrows. Thankfully, the go-to beauty look at the moment is for thicker, fuller, bushier eyebrows. 

This provides the benefit of framing your face, but also provides more protection for your eyes. It’s a win-win.

Why Do We Blink?

Blinking also has a protective purpose. Think of your eyelashes a little like the whiskers of an animal. 

They’re very sensitive, and their length is deliberate. If something touches the ends of your eyelashes, you’ll sense that something is coming close to your eyes. 

This then triggers the blink response as a defense mechanism, which can help to keep that thing from entering your eye, as you’ll rapidly open and shut your eyes via blinking, which acts as a barrier.

Blinking also acts to lubricate the eyes, ensuring that they remain hydrated and clean. When you blink, a natural layer of tears spreads across your eye’s cornea. 

This moisturizes the eye and removes any particulates or debris, which is then washed down your nasal passage via your tear ducts.

Can You Lose Your Eyebrows And Eyelashes?

Can You Lose Your Eyebrows And Eyelashes

You can lose your eyebrows and eyelashes for various reasons:

Natural shedding and growth 

Your eyelashes have a growth cycle, which can take anywhere from four to eleven months to complete. 

Depending on what phase of the growth cycle you are in at any point, you may notice more shedding of your eyelashes and eyebrows. 

This is totally normal, and the fallen eyelashes and eyebrows will be replaced by new ones growing in. Using a lash serum can help to support this growth and development.

Anxious behavior 

If you are an anxious picker, you may be prone to pulling out your eyebrow hair or eyelashes. This is called traction alopecia.

If you do this, you’re obviously going to experience some hair loss. 

It’s worth trying to counter this behavior, as you may suddenly find yourself with minimal eyebrows or eyelashes, and may therefore make yourself more vulnerable to eye infections as a result. 

Alopecia

Alopecia – or alopecia areata – differs from traction alopecia as it’s a disease, whereas traction alopecia is caused by individuals tugging at their hair. It’s caused by the immune system attacking hair follicles. 

This can be anywhere on the body, including the eyebrows and eyelashes.

If you notice excessive shedding of your hair, it’s worth seeking medical attention, so that you can determine what the cause of this loss might be.

Thyroid conditions

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hair to become dry and brittle on both the scalp and body. Either condition might therefore result in loss to the eyebrows and eyelashes. 

Your physician can help you find a way to manage either thyroid condition so that you find life more manageable.

How To Protect And Care For Your Eyelashes

How To Protect And Care For Your Eyelashes

There are several ways that you can look after your natural eyelashes, to ensure that they remain strong, supple, and able to protect your eyes:

Use a serum

Using an eyelash serum in order to nourish, condition, and strengthen your lashes is one of the best ways to support them. 

Look for ones containing biotin or other proteins to help support the structure of your lashes. You can also use a lash serum on eyelash extensions too, to prolong their lifespan. 

If natural formulas are more your things, then oils like almond, castor, or vitamin E oils can help to condition and nourish your lashes. 

Brush your lashes

Brushing your eyelashes with a clean spoolie brush or a disposable mascara wand can help to remove any dirt or debris. It will also ensure that they never become tangled. 

Do this before bed every other night, and your lashes will grow strong and healthy.

Remove your makeup

Never fall asleep in your makeup! It’s bad for your skin, but it also risks causing an eye infection. 

At the end of the day, you’ll have collected particles of dirt and debris in your eyelashes. If you fall asleep with your mascara on, both the mascara itself and these particles will remain on your lashes. 

They may then enter the eye, causing infections and irritation. 

Always remove your makeup before you fall asleep. You should take care to be as gentle as possible – don’t tug, pull, or generally be too rough around your eyes. 

If you are too forceful, you may notice your eyelashes start to fall out. It’s all about being as careful as possible around your delicate eye area.

Nutrition and diet

Having a healthy, balanced diet helps with many things, including the health of your eyelashes. 

Protein, omega-3 fats, and leafy greens all contain essential nutrients and vitamins to support the growth of eyelashes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Eyelashes Protect Your Eyes From The Sun?

Your eyelashes help to filter out the bright light of the sun, providing a degree of protection for your eyes. However, they’re no replacement for sunglasses, so for full UV protection, take care to always wear appropriate eyewear outside.

How Do Eyelashes And Eyelids Protect Your Eyes?

Your eyelashes and eyelids work together to protect your eyes. You have both upper and lower eyelids, which are flaps of skin and muscle designed to cover your eye. These work with your eyelashes to protect against debris and residue entering your eyes.

What Happens If You Have No Eyelashes?

If all of your eyelashes fall out, you’ll be more vulnerable to infection, irritation, and eye sensitivity. You may also suffer from excessive exposure to the sun, as there’ll be no barrier of protection. It’s therefore worth taking care of your natural lashes.

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