Do eyelash extensions cause lash mites?

Familiar with lash mites? If you remember those days when you shared a flat with someone, you will understand that living harmoniously or in a nightmare because of lash mites is possible. Those tiny bugs can be a real pain in the bum (or eye) and cause serious irritation, and not because they don't pay rent!

Lash mites live in eyelash follicles (and eyebrows, cheeks, and chin), are less than half a millimetre long, and are invisible to the human eye. Scientists refer to them as Demodex, which is also commonly known as lash mites, yikes!

They are lazy bugs that sleep during the day and hunt for dirt and skin oils at night to reproduce. Those lash mites are harmless, but you may unintentionally host a house party that quickly gets out of hand, and squatters overcrowd your lashes!

What are lash mites?

Lash mites, scientifically known as Demodex, are tiny parasitic mites that live in or near the hair follicles of mammals, including humans. Specifically, they inhabit the hair follicles of eyelashes and sebaceous glands. These microscopic creatures are usually harmless and are part of the normal skin flora.

In small numbers, lash mites generally do not cause any problems. However, if their population grows excessively, it can lead to various eye and skin issues. Symptoms of an overpopulation of lash mites include itching, redness, inflammation, and a sensation of something crawling on the skin around the eyes. This condition, known as demodicosis or blepharitis when affecting the eyelids, can also cause eyelash loss and crusting around the eyelids.

Proper hygiene, such as regularly cleaning the eyelids and avoiding the use of old or contaminated eye makeup, can help prevent an overgrowth of these mites and maintain eye health.

Do eyelash extensions cause mites?

Eyelash extensions themselves do not directly cause mites, but improper hygiene associated with wearing them can lead to an overgrowth of lash mites. When eyelash extensions are applied, it becomes more challenging to clean the eyelid area thoroughly. This can create an environment where oil, dead skin cells, and other debris accumulate, providing an ideal breeding ground for Demodex mites.

If extensions are not cleaned properly, the increased buildup can lead to a higher population of these mites, potentially causing irritation, inflammation, and infections such as blepharitis. To prevent this, it is essential to maintain good eyelid hygiene even with extensions. Regularly cleansing the lash line with a gentle, oil-free cleanser and following the aftercare instructions provided by the technician can help minimize the risk of lash mite overgrowth and maintain healthy eyelashes.

How do I know if I have lash mites?

To determine if you have lash mites, look for the following symptoms:

  1. Itching: Persistent itching around the eyes and at the base of the eyelashes.
  2. Redness: Red, inflamed eyelids, especially near the lash line.
  3. Irritation: A sensation of burning or stinging in the eyes.
  4. Crusting: Crusty debris at the base of the eyelashes, especially in the morning.
  5. Eyelash Issues: Thinning or loss of eyelashes.
  6. Grittiness: A feeling of something gritty or sandy in the eyes.
  7. Dry Eyes: Dryness or irritation, which may lead to excessive tearing.
  8. Swelling: Swollen eyelids, sometimes accompanied by a feeling of heaviness.

If you experience these symptoms, it is advisable to consult an eye care professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

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 a residue 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 getting 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, which are 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!

1 comment

  • Helena Cordero

    Super interesting

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