Cohabitation can sometimes be a tricky thing to get right. If you have ever shared a flat as a student or young professional, you will know what I'm talking about. It can vary from living in harmony to living a nightmare. Well, those tiny bugs are just that. Most of the time, they happily live with you (on your face actually) but some other times, they can be a real pain in the bum (or more to the point, a pain in the eye) and cause serious irritation and it's not because they don't pay their rent!
You are probably wondering who I'm talking about. I'm talking about what scientists refer to as Demodex, they are less than half a millimeter long therefore not visible to the human eye and live in your eyelash follicles mainly (as well as in your eyebrows, cheeks, chin...). They are also known as lash mites, yikes!
Lash mites are lazy buggers, they sleep in the day time and come out at night to feast on dirt and oils secreted by your skin and to reproduce. In a balanced situation, they are harmless and live their short lives unnoticed but you can find yourself, against your will, being the host of a house party that quickly gets out of hands and those squatters can overcrowd your lashes!
The aftermath of a lash mites party
Have you ever woken up and walked into the lounge to find that your flatmate and their guests left rubbish all over the place, spilled drinks on the carpet, are now hiding piled up in their bedroom and refuse to help with cleaning due to a nasty self-induced hangover? Not nice, infuriating, leave your living space feeling dirty and invaded.
Lash mites parties are pretty much that: leaving behind crusty, irritated eyes and skin, they are nowhere to be seen when the sun rises and have no concept of cleaning after themselves! And the worst part, it starts all over again the following night! It can even get worse if it's not dealt with, the eye can get infected and swollen, eye lashes growth can be affected and they start falling off!!! And not only your eyes get itchy and burning, the excess of those microscopic bugs on your skin can make you more prone to acne and might even been linked to rosacea!
So what do we do now?
Well, find a new flatmate or move out really ...ah you mean regarding the lash mites, silly me! If you get to the point that your eye is infected, red and swollen (also known as blepharitis) it is best to have it checked with an ophthalmologist or doctor.
If it is just starting, there is a few things you can do to nip it in the bud. Having demodex is normal but having a large amount of them can turn into an issue. The increased number of lash mites can be linked to bad hygiene, sleeping with makeup on, secreting too much oils, using old brushes and make up accessories.
So as a simple rule: wash your face daily insisting on your eyelashes to remove excess oils (and mites), dry your face with clean towels. Replace or wash your make up accessories and brushes regularly and do not share those to avoid transmission of mites. Our Foam Cleanser is great to wash off makeup, dirt and oils without stinging your eyes, have you tried it yet?
How does that affect me as a Lash Artist?
We all had clients coming for infills with filthy lashes, a bit of dirt, sometimes grease or even remain of mascara stuck on and between the lashes!!! You can easily tell that those eyes haven't seen water and soap for a while. Those clients are in need of hygiene advice from you as to how to maintain their lashes. You can point out to them that on top of being yucky and can get infected, this can affect the retention of their beloved lash extension. So even more reason to start washing them daily.
Also if the infection gets bad, they will very likely put the blame on you. This is why you might decide to give them a pamphlet on how to look after their lashes so they don't forget (check out our After Care Cards, classy and handy). If it still doesn't work, google "blepharitis" and show them the pictures, that should do the trick, ha ha!
Come on, let's make the world a better place for you and for me...and for the demodex sharing our lives!