Why do eyelashes grow in and fall out since chemotherapy?

5 answers | Last updated: Sep 03, 2015
Marykag asked...

I had chemo a year ago. My eyelashes grow in and then fall out. This happens over and over. Help!


Expert Answers

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for Caring.com's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

Many cancer survivors report problems with eyelashes and eyebrows continuing to fall out, or growing in thinner or shorter, several years after they completed chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can cause long-term changes to the hair follicles, which is why the hair on your head often comes back a different color or texture than it was before. The same thing is happening with eyelashes and eyebrows. Still, it's worthwhile to talk to your doctor and ask if this is normal, and if there is anything you can do. There are other conditions, such as thyroid problems, that cause thinning of the eyelashes and eyebrows, and your doctor can help you rule those out.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...
I finished chemo May 2007. I lost my eyelashes for the first time a month later. They grew back and fell out again in October. Now they are falling out for the third time. I wish I knew why.

Jazz pollard answered...

Hair loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment. Unfortunately, loss isn't limited to the hair on the head, but also the eyelashes. False eyelashes may be an option for some, but you should always check with your doctor before using them... There is a risk of infection by using fake eyelashes[consumerhealthdigest.com], plus you may have an allergy to the glue used for fake eyelashes...


Jenn2345 answered...

It has been a year for me and I lost all of my hair as expected initially but my eyelashes fall out every 3 months like clockwork still! I am glad to keep everything else but did ask my Dr. last week and he hadn't heard of it. Didn't offer to do research and asked if I took a new medication so not much help. Someone suggested a body cleanse to eliminate any left over compound but haven't tried it. False eyelashes are not the answer but a temporary fix. Damage from eyelash curlers, as suggested, does not make sense as I lose the bottom ones too. I will hope as someone posted that over the years they will fall out less often and finally stop!!


Wendyinfla answered...

Hi. I'm post chemo just over 5 years now. I have an answer and a question. I too lost all the hair on my body. It all also grew back with no problems. My eye lashes also grew in very thick but 3 months out they all fell out again. I was left with maybe 10 little hairs per eye. I went to multiple doctors. No one could provide an answer. Then, searching the internet I found the answer myself! The lifespan of an average eyelash is about 3 months for most people. They drop and begin re growth every 3 mos or so. Mine came back full and then 3 mos later fall out. This process went on for about a year before they started to even out somewhat and I had lashes that were at different stages of growth. Back to normal after about a year. I've mentioned this to doctors in hopes they can help others and they all seem to look at me like I don't know what I'm talking about! Well, now my question.... About 9 mos ago I started noticing hair loss on my head more than normal. Its progressively gotten worse. I'm down to probably 1/3 of the hair I had when it all came back in. I've seen 4 Drs. No one seems to know why other than stress. Could it be the same happening to my scalp hair? Apparently our scalp hair has a 4-7 year life span. I can find no one else with same problem in all my searches. Anyone have an idea or help or know where I could fined more information? Thanks for any suggestions.