While our eyebrows and eyelashes play a big role in the way our faces look, they aren’t just there to be pretty. In addition to helping us express emotion and stand out from the crowd, eyebrows and eyelashes are actually our eyes’ first line of defense.
Everything about our eyebrows, from the angle at which the individual hairs grow to the arching shape, is designed to stop sweat and other moisture from reaching our eyes. Whether we’re working up a sweat in the gym or singing in the rain, our eyebrows help channel liquid harmlessly towards the sides of our faces.
This function is something to keep in mind when we’re trimming and plucking our eyebrows. The thinner and sparser we groom them, the harder it is for them to do their job. This is why, as eye care professionals, we encourage our patients to embrace the recent trend of thick eyebrows!
Our eyelashes are even more important, because they serve as barriers against airborne debris like sand, dirt, and dust, stopping it from reaching our eyes. Thanks to our eyelashes, when we close our eyes, contaminants can’t get to them. Similar to a cat’s whiskers, eyelashes are very sensitive. We reflexively blink when something touches our eyelashes to keep foreign objects out. That’s what makes it so hard to keep our eyes open when applying makeup!
Where we should avoid plucking out too many eyebrow hairs if we want our eyebrows to be effective, we should also be careful about trying too hard to make our eyelashes thicker. Nature has given us and our fellow mammals eyelashes that are just the right length to protect our eyes. Artificially thickening or lengthening them can leave our eyes more vulnerable to dust and dry eye.
Most of the time, our eyebrows and eyelashes don’t need a lot of help to stay healthy, as long as we don’t overdo it with makeup and plucking. Sometimes they do develop problems, such as hair loss, ingrown hairs, and inflammation. If you experience anything like this, come see us! We’ll take a look and make sure your brows and lashes get back on track with keeping your eyes protected!