Beauty is in the eyelash of the beholden
Since being in the US I have discovered a potential new insecurity to add to my collection: the prospect of thinning eyelashes.
Latisse®, brought to you by the makers of Botox®, is a drug designed to cure a problem that I never knew was an actual thing. But thanks to the magic of television advertising, I have discovered that thinning eyelashes is indeed a real medical condition. It’s like, really scientific. It’s even got a name. It’s called eyelash hypotrichosis. According to the manufacturer’s official and complete explanation:
Eyelash hypotrichosis is another name for having inadequate or not enough eyelashes.
That sounds pretty scientific to me. Like “Crohn’s disease is another name for needing to go to the toilet all the time” or “cancer is another name for you might die”.
Learning about thinning eyelashes for the first time is an emotional journey. First, I experienced anxiety that one day I might not have enough eyelashes. This was then compounded by my further anxiety that until now I never knew that one day I might not have enough eyelashes. I decided to investigate further. It turns out that the manufacturer discovered this treatment by accident while performing tests for another drug, Lumigan®, which is usually used to treat glaucoma (an actual medical Medical Condition®, rather than a non-medical Medical Condition®). The manufacturer noticed that Lumigan® also happens to thicken eyelashes. Hooray! Lumigan® was renamed as Latisse® and a new body issue to haunt women forever was born.
Some critics claim that this drug is dangerous because it could cause permanent discolouration of the iris. That’s ok though. This is one of the few pharmaceutical drugs I’ve seen advertised in the US that doesn’t routinely list “suicidal thoughts” and “death” as possible side effects that “you should know about before deciding whether this treatment is for you”. So it’s practically foolproof.
How do pharmaceutical companies come up with these drug names anyway? My mother takes Lipitor® to help manage her cholesterol and the name has always creeped me out. (Is it just me, or does it sound like a villain from a children’s cartoon series? I am Lipitor, evil sorcerer of the dark side! MUAHAHAHA!) I would love to be a fly on the wall at the boardroom meetings where the marketing gurus come up with these hilarious, scientific-sounding brand names. When you think about it, the brands have nothing to do with medicine and are just designed to be evocative of the type of lifestyle or personal attributes the consumer wishes to attain by taking the drug. Consider a couple of examples. Latisse® for eyelash thickening? Kind of has the word ‘lash’ in it. Uses the suffix ‘-isse’ which denotes femininity. Sounds french and luxurious. Emphasis on the last syllable makes the word flowing and elongated. WOMANLY, FLOWING LASHES! Lumigan® for glaucoma? Kind of sounds like ‘luminous’ and ‘again’. I CAN SEE AGAIN! I am totally getting the hang of this.
Seeing as anyone can do this (come up with brand names, as well as commercialise new pharmaceutical drugs for public consumption), I thought I would share some of my ideas*:
- Zytightol: used for the treatment of flipflopus inabilis, which is another name for when the gap between your toes is too wide.
- Confi-Dent: used for the treatment of mundodental neurosis, which is another name for when you’re in public and you might have some food stuck between your teeth, and you know you actually don’t, but you just want to be really sure.
- Supportex: used for the treatment of geriatric pendulumosis, which is another name for when old men’s testicles get a bit droopy.
* Patents pending.