You might be wondering if this is the same as head lice. It’s not! What they are is a parasite called Demodex folliculorum that is actually a type of mite. They live in or near hair follicles on your face feeding off dead skin cells, oils, and hormones and are especially partial to eyelashes and lids. It’s extremely common to have these and other parasites living on your body – they are just too small to see with the naked eye. And, for the most part, they’re harmless….unless you have too many.

Why Are Eyelash Extensions Causing Problems?

Eyelash mites can leave behind debris and dander that is visible to the naked eye. This is likely due to improper hygiene – people aren’t washing their lash extensions. Not cleaning the lashes can cause dirt and debris to pile up, which can lead to an increase in bacteria. This can cause chronic inflammation, irritation like itchiness and redness, and could potentially cause an infection.

 What Is Proper Lash Hygiene?

First, I want you to know why it’s important to clean your lash extensions besides the potential for irritating symptoms. Demodex is contagious and easily transferred to other people. So, to stop the development and spread of the contagious parasite, it’s important to wash your lashes each day using a tea tree-based cleanser at the base of the lashes. If that doesn’t help, you may need to make an appointment with an optometrist for a deep clean. And, if you’re someone with a regular lash extension appointment, it is also a good idea to take a break to let your lashes breathe from time to time.

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