What Is the Purpose of Eyebrows and Eyelashes in Humans?

Our body hair and facial hair have gotten thinner as we age. However, our brows and eyelashes remained an essential element of our appearance. Therefore, we wax, tweeze, and even colour them since they are our most important eye accessories.

Is there, however, a biological or functional basis for hair above and around our eyes? There is, according to researchers and ophthalmologists.

Eyebrows Keep Moisture Out of the Eyes and Aid in Identification

what is the purpose of eyebrows and eyelashes in humans

The region of curled, fragile hairs above our eyes is thought to help keep vision clear by channeling undesirable moisture—sweat and rain in particular—away from the eye. Moisture might run sideways around the eyes and along the side of the head because of the form and direction of the hairs. They also aid in the blocking of light and the filtering of dust and grime that may enter the eyes.

Eyebrows are also thought to play a function in human communication and facial expression, according to experts. Expressions like happiness, surprise, and rage can be exaggerated by raising the brows. Eyebrows may be a more recognized signal of identification than the eyes themselves, according to a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Hair loss in the brows can be caused by autoimmune illnesses and hormonal imbalances such as alopecia, hypothyroidism, and lupus.

Eyelashes Act as Human Whiskers and Protect the Eyes From Irritation

what is the purpose of eyebrows and eyelashes in humans

Eyelashes are a collection of hairs that grow around the outside of the eyelid. They act as dust collectors, preventing material from obstructing vision or causing illness or harm to the eye. As a result, they have the appearance of human whiskers. When objects close to the eye, such as insects, induce a reflexive and protective blink, the lashes operate as sensors.

Eyelashes are “unique among body hair,” according to Ivan Schwab, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis. Healthy lashes are said to never become gray. They are one of the body’s smallest hairs with the longest lifespan. And the melanocytes (pigment cells) in the base of eyelash follicles are very rarely, if ever, cancerous.”

Eyelashes operate as air filters for the eye, according to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The researchers believe that lashes aid in keeping the eyes moisturized by reducing tear evaporation by up to 50% in tests using man-made eye and eyelash replicas.

Eyebrow and Eyelash Enhancements Should Be Used With Caution

what is the purpose of eyebrows and eyelashes in humans

The practice of tinting brows and eyelashes has become increasingly fashionable. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration does not regulate this procedure, and experts caution that coloring brows and eyelashes can be dangerous.

Furthermore, Latisse or Bimatropost—a type of glaucoma medication that is also used to lengthen and thicken eyelashes—can have adverse side effects. Darkening of the skin around the eyes and even the iris (from blue to brown, for example) are uncommon but irreversible side effects.

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