Published: May 07, 2013 1:34 PM EDT
Updated: May 07, 2013 1:37 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Consumer Reports) - Women have been looking for ways to darken and thicken their eyelashes since the days of Cleopatra. In the spotlight these days, you can see super-long lashes on pop star Adele and rap singer Niki Minaj, to name a few.

But Consumer Reports’ medical adviser says be careful how you get that long lash look.

"False eyelashes can trap dirt and bacteria, creating irritation and infection," says Dr. Orly Avitzur.  "And they can be difficult to remove."

Actress Kristin Chenoweth wore sunglasses on “Late Show with David Letterman” after her eyelids swelled. She got what are called eyelash extensions, where single fibers are glued to your individual eyelashes.

"The risks of eyelash extensions are not only an allergic reaction to the glue but also erosion of the inner surface of the eyelids," Dr. Avitzur says.  "And they can cause permanent damage to your natural lashes."

The Internet promotes even more exotic eyelash enhancements, such as weaving tiny glass beads onto ultra-thin wire and applying them with an adhesive to your eyelids.

"It doesn’t take an expert to see trouble coming with sharp objects placed so close to the eye," says Dr. Avitzur.

Consumer Reports says that you are far better off just using mascara to get fuller, thicker lashes. And you should replace mascara every few months, but you don’t necessarily need to buy an expensive mascara. A tried-and-true choice is Maybelline Great Lash Mascara for a little more than $6 a tube.

You can get more information on eyelash hazards by going to: www.consumerreports.org/cro/eyelashdangers.htm