Fraunhofer IAP says ‘plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth’

A close-up shot of an eye with long eyelashes measured with a rulerA new serum that promotes eyelash growth has been developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP) in Potsdam-Golm, Germany. It is considerably less expensive than a conventional eyelash serum, and it is a well-tolerated purely natural product.

It has been discovered that longer and thicker lashes are the side effects of eye drops used to treat glaucoma in ophthalmology. The hair growth is triggered by prostaglandin, a tissue hormone that lowers internal eye pressure. These side effects have received a lot of attention in the cosmetics industry and eyelash products containing a modified form of prostaglandin have been available ever since. They promise lashes will be around 80 percent longer and thicker within 30 days. Yet critics caution the use of such cosmetics as internal eye pressure can decrease if the product gets into the eye. In addition, a reddening and burning sensation can occur in the eye, and eyelashes and eyelids can become discoloured.

Safer cosmetics alternative

To provide consumers with a far less risky solution to longer eyelashes, Dr Joachim Storsberg and his team at the Fraunhofer IAP developed a cosmetics formulation with a plant-based active ingredient.

‘Our work has shown that this new formulation has delivered good results that are comparable with those of prostaglandin products. Eyelash growth is slower, however there has been no evidence of any side effects,’ says Storsberg, who heads the department biomaterials and health care at the IAP.

The natural substance will remain a secret for now. ‘We are currently working on optimising our process to achieve optimal application. We are also developing other nature-based alternatives to prostaglandin preparations. We welcome project partners since we also take on contract development,’ he explains.

Developing future scientists

Mine Kaya is studying chemistry and pharmaceutical technology at Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. As part of her bachelor’s thesis she worked in Storsberg’s department to develop and investigate potential application systems for eyelash sera and anti-aging applications for the area around the eye.

Kaya received a an award from the association of soap, perfume, cosmetics and detergent specialists (Sepawa). She got third place in the category Outstanding Graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees. The Sepawa programme fosters junior scientists.

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