Why Do Some People Have Genetically Long Eyelashes?

Why do Some People Have Genetically Long Eyelashes

Eyelashes are a staple of a human face, and they are not all the same. Some people have long eyelashes whilst some people have short eyelashes and some are blonde and some are black and they all serve the same purpose, but why are they eyelashes different?

What makes some people have long natural eyelashes, is it genetics or are there more factors that come into it?


Why Do We Have Eyelashes?


First, to help us understand a bit more about the origin of eyelashes and how they developed, let’s talk about their purpose.

They work with your eyebrows to ensure debris like sweat, dust particles and dirt don’t get into your eyes.

They are so sensitive that when any piece of foreign debris comes into contact with them, it activates your blink response which stops foreign particles from getting into your eye.

When they are open they catch particles of sand and dust that would have otherwise gone straight into your eye and could cause an ingrown eyelash but when your eye is closed, the eyelashes form a sort of impenetrable barrier from anything that could make its way

into your eye.

Eyelashes also help to keep your eyes moist and prevent dry eyes which can deteriorate your vision and be painful.

If we didn’t have eyelashes, it would be much easier for debris to get into the sensitive tissue of our eyes and could cause scratched corneas which can be very painful but should heal in time if it is not too severe.

Some people have no eyelashes at all which can be an effect of multiple things such as alopecia or other autoimmune diseases.

Some people also say that we also have eyelashes for aesthetic reasons and to help us communicate.

If you have watched cartoons, you have probably noticed that the female character usually has pronounced eyelashes. It makes them more expressive which can also be applied to humans to accentuate the eye and draw attention to them.

So let’s get into the details answering the question of why do some people have genetically long eyelashes?


Causes of Long Eyelashes (Trichomegaly)

Causes of Long Eyelashes


Now that we understand a bit more about why we have eyelashes, why aren’t they all the same length and thickness? See below for more information on the causes as to why some people have longer eyelashes


What is Eyelash Trichomegaly?


The name trichomegaly is given to those with eyelashes that are longer than 8mm on the side sections and 12mm on the middle section. Trichomegaly can be caused by congenital syndromes, drugs, and genetic factors. Not only does Trichomegaly increase the length of hair but it also refers to the curling or thickness of hair along with pigmentation. This can occur at birth or sometimes later in life present itself. 


What are Trichomegaly Symptons?


Eyelash Trichomegaly includes increases in the thickness, pigmentation, length and curling of the eyelashes. 


Do Genetics Cause Long Eyelashes?


The mutation of the FGF5 gene caused by some syndromes can result in abnormally long eyelashes. FGF5 stands for Fibroblast Growth Factor 5 which is responsible for making the protein that stops the hair from growing too much. Thus, the mutated version of this gene results in it not working properly.


What Is Familial Trichomegaly? 


If both of your parents are carriers of the mutated gene then you will get the mutated FGF5 gene but if only one of your parents carries the mutated gene, then you will not get it because you only need one functioning gene to block out the mutated one, also known as a recessive trait.

Usually, people have other symptoms, and it is quite rare to just have long lashes, but it is not unheard of.

If one or both of your parents have naturally long eyelashes then you will likely inherit long eyelashes too as it is a dominant gene. In short, eyelash length is mostly dependent on genetics, and how your body hair grows.

For some people, you may have certain genetics or hormones that are blocking extra hair growth, which is why yours may be shorter than other people’s lashes.


What Are The Congenital Conditions Associated with Eyelash Trichomegaly?


There are two main congenital conditions associated with eyelash trichomegaly:  Cornelia de Lange syndrome and Oliver-McFarlane syndrome.  


Can Certain Drugs Cause Long Eyelashes? 


Another cause of trichomegaly is pharmaceutical drugs, below is a list from ncbi.com of drugs associated with eyelash trichomegaly.

  1. Prostaglandin analogues like latanoprost, bimatoprost: Most commonly reported cause of eyelash trichomegaly.

  2. Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors: cetuximab, Panitumumab; tyrosine kinase inhibitors: erlotinib, gefitinib

  3. Interferon-α2b

  4. Zidovudine

  5. Phenytoin

  6. Diazoxide, minoxidil

  7. Acetazolamide

  8. Cyclosporine, tacrolimus

  9. Topiramate

  10. Psoralens

  11. Corticosteroids

  12. Streptomycin

  13. Penicillamine


What Is The Treatment For Trichomegaly?

Epilation and trimming of the long lashes is the safest and most therapeutic way to treat trichomegaly. 


Other Factors Associated With Long Eyelashes


Other factors that can affect the length of your lashes may be environmental factors, congenital disorders, and your natural growth cycle. The texture of your eyelashes is also down to genetic inheritance.

For instance, family members may have different genetic traits from one another, as some may have extra hair growth hormones than others.

In addition, studies show that those of different ethnicities can be more prone to various lash lengths and textures. 

Those of Eastern European descent or those with Spanish genetics, along with Asian people usually have straighter lashes, or may have a monolid; which is the lack of a double eyelid crease will cause eyelashes to grow downward and out instead of outward and up.

Even though lashes are usually black, some people have light eyelashes which can be due to aging and certain medical conditions like albinism and vitiligo. People with albinism cannot produce the proper amount of melanin which results in a lack of pigment in their skin, hair, and eyes.

That being said, you may not inherit the same lashes as one parent, and you may not necessarily follow in their genetic footsteps. Those with bigger eyes are more prone to longer lashes, and can sometimes have extremely long eyelashes that other members of the family do not.


Why Do Some People Have Longer Lashes Summary


To summarize, if you’re hoping for longer lashes, then this all depends on your genetics surrounding eyelash length. Some even believe that crying could makes your lashes grow longer

Some people have naturally longer eyelashes than others, whereas some people have curly lashes, or shorter eyelashes and require lash extensions to have that long, luscious lash look.

In addition, if you are genetically prone to hair loss, then you may find that growing long, healthy and strong eyelashes is more difficult for you than it is for others.

We are all built differently, and that’s what makes us special. if we all looked the same, then the world would be a very boring place!