TODAY   |  May 08, 2013

New warnings about dangers of false eyelashes

A new report is raising questions about the safety of trendy false eyelashes, saying the adhesives and solvents used to remove them can cause eye infections and irritation. NBC’s Andrea Canning reports.

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>>> you flip through any pages of a magazine, bright eyes with long, full lashes, they're often, turns out fake. it's a popular trend but is it safe? nbc's andrea canning is here with more. good morning.

>> good morning, natalie. i don't know if women, how much they care if they're safe or not if they look beautiful. i wear them on the "today" show, i call them my "today" show lashes but a new report raises questions about the impact these lashes may have on some users. eye lashes, they're arguably a girl's best friend. from stunning 1960s model twiggy to modern day ladies who lash like j. lo , nikki and nicole. great lashes.

>> they are the accessory, they instantly open up your eyes , make them look more voluminous and youthful. everyone wants a pair of great lashes.

>> mega lash volume goes mow ga plush.

>> reporter: while mascara companies saw a slight drop, falsies and glue are flying off the shelves. million dollars in drugstores alone in 2012 , up over 12% from the previous year. but are longer lashes all they're cracked up to be? kristen chenowitz appeared on david letterman after experiencing swelling and sneezing which she says was an allergic reaction to the formaldehyde in the glue. it's not just the adhesives which can cause allergic reaction but the solvents used to remove them.

>> the risks are cosmetic and medical. we've come across infection, irritation of the eyes, inflammation and even ulceration.

>> even the most temporary lashes can have long-term effects.

>> it causes a vicious cycle so that we apply these lashes and they cause our own natural lashes to be thinner or damaged. at which point we feel they have we have to apply more lashes to get that look back.

>> an industry representative referred us to the fda which approves the products and reminds users eyelids are delicate and an allergic reaction , irritation or other injury in the eye area can be particularly troublesome and advises checking the ingredients before using these adhesives.

>> risk or no risk women will do anything to look and feel more confident. eye lashes are no expectation.

>> talk to a doctor if you have a reaction and these are for you, i pick them up.

>> not quite my style.

>>> coming up a dog with