A drug that combats a debilitating eye disease could see mascara consigned to the dustbin after tests found it also doubles eyelash growth.
So convincing are the side-effects of Glaucoma treatment Lumigan that its maker plans to apply for a cosmetic licence in the U.S. It means sales in Britain could start as early as next year - allowing Allergan to compete for a share of the £2billion spent on mascara each year worldwide.
Interest in the cosmetic potential of Lumigan was sparked by the observation that the lashes of many patients being treated for glaucoma grew more quickly than expected. The effect was most obvious in those being treated in one eye, with the lashes becoming noticeably thicker, longer and darker.
In a trial at Miami University, the drug, also known as bimatoprost, was mixed with a gel. Those taking part were given two gels, one containing bimatoprost and the other a dummy drug, and told to regularly apply one to each eye.
The eyelashes treated with bimatoprost grew around 2mm in six weeks - twice as quickly as those coated with the dummy solution.