After about half an hour of ecommerce sites, I turned up a Food & Drug Administration press release. I could hardly believe what I was reading. On November 16 2007, the FDA recalled Jan Marini Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner. Less than three days ago, at the very moment when I convinced myself that my luscious lashes were worthy of a glowing product review, the FDA issued a statement saying this product may impair eyesight.
The offending ingredient is bimatoprost. Now it should be pointed out that the FDA's press release does mention (somewhere near the end) that Jan Marini has issued a statement claiming that the Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner hasn't contained bimatoprost since last year. Bimatoprost is a topical medicine used for controlling glaucoma. Wikipedia lists the following possible 'side effects':
Ha! So bimatoprost was the miracle active agent that made lashes grow like weeds. However, if the product discontinued bimatoprost in 2006, what has it been replaced with?
After a lot more digging, I finally found the new ingredients listed against the old ingredients on an Australian website. The critical formula - (7-(3, 5 dihydroxy-2-(3-hydroxy-4-(3-(triflormethyl)phenoxy)-1-butenyl)cyclopentyl)-N-ethyl, (1R-(alpha(z), 2beta(1E,3R)3alpha, 5alpha)) - in the 2007 product seems to be a chemical analogue for prostaglandin. Again, this is used for treating glaucoma.
This is what the University of Maryland Medical Center has to say about prostaglandin and treatment of glaucoma:
" Side Effects. These drugs do not slow down the heart rate and also appear to be safe for people with asthma. Side effects include itching, redness, and burning during administration. Muscle and joint pain may also occur. All of these drugs may permanently change eye color from blue or green to brown. To date, such color changes do not seem to be hazardous. (The only significant problem may be cosmetic in people who treat only one eye, since the color may differ from the other.) These drugs can increase blood flow in the eye and also make eyelashes become thicker and longer in some patients. (These latter effects are more common with bimatoprost and travoprost than with latanoprost.)"
Oh well. It was fun while it lasted but I'll be waiting for more information from the FDA before I use this product again.