The Time I Got Eyelash Extensions and My Face Exploded

I feel like this past week’s shenanigans deserve a recap. Everything was completely derailed when I had an awful reaction to a new set of lash extensions. I had gotten extensions in the past, and was in fact getting them regularly for about 6 months. I stopped when I had a bit of eye irritation after a fill, and the tech immediately blamed me for the problem. I had those removed and opted to take a break for a couple months. This is what happened when I finally decided to get a new set again.

Disclaimer: I am not even kind of a medical professional. This is exclusively just me recounting my experience. If you yourself have lash extensions and think there might be a problem, for the love of fack get off the internet and go see your doctor.

After jumping back on the good ol’ mascara and eyeliner train for a while, I was hoping to jump back into getting lash extensions. Though the cost associated with them and the upkeep makes me cringe a bit, they do look so good. I love having that put together look for my eyes already taken care of, without having to worry about perpetual racoon eye. I did lots of research, and opted to go with a highly recommended eyelash tech in Calgary. For the record – I 100% do not blame her for my reaction, she is great at what she does, and also isn’t responsible for my crazy immune system.

I got my extensions done Wednesday night, and was in love with what she did. Thursday I had a bit of eye irritation. Not the best sign, but it wasn’t bad enough for me to think that it was allergies. Friday, the symptoms started to turn definitely allergy-like. Red, puffy eyes that were insanely itchy. I popped some anti-histamines (which didn’t really help) and made an appointment with my tech to have them removed that evening. With the lashes off, I hoped that it would all calm down in a day or two, and I could go back to my old mascara ways.



Exhibits 1-4 of what happened after I got my lash extensions removed.

Saturday night I drove up to Edmonton to referee a powerlifting meet that Sunday. Saturday was mostly spent loafing around and wondering if I should go ahead and still head to the meet. I tried my best to keep my eyes clean, not rub them, and use a bit of Polysporin and plain moisturizer to get my skin to calm the crap down. I headed up to Edmonton anyways, and crossed my fingers that it would chill out.

They very much did not. Through Saturday night and all day Sunday, they kept getting worse and worse – see the first photo of me on Sunday. By the time I got home Sunday night, they were so unbearably itchy and swollen that I thought I was going to scratch my face off. After moping around my apartment in agony for what felt like ages, I called a friend and had her drive me to an Urgent Care clinic.

The doctor I saw in the clinic was awesome. She examined me, and also made a quick call to the on-call ophthalmologist (eye specialist). She prescribed me a steroid ointment that was safe for my eyes that I could use to calm down my skin, and scheduled me in to see the eye specialist at a different the hospital the next day.

By Monday morning, I could barely open my eyes they were so swollen (see picture 2). The doctor at the eye clinic, along with what felt like an army of gawking residents, was blown away with how bad the swelling was. He agreed, along with the doctor that I saw the night before, that the reaction was definitely closer to dermatitis (which I’m prone to) than a conventional allergic reaction. He added a prescription for an oral steroid (Prednisone) to the cream I already had, to try and bring down the swelling in my face.

Thank crap he did, the steroids were definitely needed. They started working almost right away – the 3rd picture is from later on Monday afternoon, after I took my first dose. I could almost feel my cheekbones again!

I’m now on day 4 of the 5 day prescription I was given, and the swelling is almost completely gone. There’s still some skin irritation, and a lot of bruising (see picture 4) but I’m definitely on the mend. I had a follow up with the eye specialist today, and one of his residents didn’t even recognize me the difference is so huge!

I don’t want to scare everyone away from lash extensions, but I wanted to share this as this is something that does happen to a lot of people, but I feel isn’t talked about a whole lot. I always see lots of mega-volume lash posts on Instagram, and not a ton of warnings alongside them. My two cents: if you’re prone to any type of eczema or dermatitis (I am prone to both, and this reaction was definitely a dermatitis outbreak) I would take extreme caution when considering lash extensions. Do your research, and get a test patch of a couple lashes done first to see if you’ll react at all. Take it from me – a swollen face isn’t worth the mega lashes!

Have you or anyone you know experienced something similar? Share in the comments below.

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