Do You Know That We All Have Eyelash Mites?
But the good news is that for most of us they are not usually a cause for concern.
These demodex mites thrive in the facial hair follicles, growing anywhere on the face where hair is present but especially around the eyelashes.
If you experience itchiness around the eyes, particularly as you wake up, it could be because of eyelash mites.
What are eyelash mites?
Demodex mites are a group of generic parasites that affect the skin with the Demodex folliculorum mostly likely to thrive in the eyelashes. They have a parasitic association with their hosts (mainly mammals – and including dogs, cats, monkeys and of course us humans). They only have a short two week lifespan but it is long enough for them to feed on bacteria on our skin and to lay eggs.
They only become a significant source of irritation and discomfort when they begin to reproduce and multiply rapidly.
What causes them to increase rapidly?
- Lack of proper hygiene or neglecting to wash the eyelash area well when showering.
- Mascara can be a problem. If not removed correctly or left on the lashes for long periods, the area can provide a breeding ground for eyelash mites as well as germs. Never share your eyelash brush with someone else. And replace or clean mascara brushes frequently.
- Furry pets such as dogs and cats also provide ideal breeding conditions (for mites) on their own faces and eyelashes.
How to detect high levels of eyelash mites?
- Intense itchiness in the eyelashes and the skin around it.
- Inflammation in the skin surrounding the lashes
- Alopecia in the eyelashes
- Swollen skin beneath the eyes
- Rough skin appearing on the face.
Eyelash mites and their link with rosacea
According to the National Rosacea Society, people with rosacea have about eighteen times more eyelash mites than those who do not have rosacea.
The mites are even considered by some experts to be a direct cause of rosacea while the presence of eyelash mites can lead to worsening rosacea symptoms in those who are affected.
How to prevent or treat high levels of eyelash mites?
- Obviously, you should practice good hygiene in keeping the areas around your eyes clean and free of mascara. Never share eye makeup or brushes.
- When left untreated, eyelash mites can cause vision problems. They may also lead to dry eye.
- If you are concerned that you have high levels of eyelash mites, see your doctor for a diagnosis when your eyelashes will be lightly scraped to collect a sample of oils, tissues and possible mite exoskeletons. This sample will be examined under a microscope and you may be prescribed a medicated ointment to help trap the mites in place and to prevent them from spreading and laying eggs.