What Are Eyelash Mites and How Do You Treat Them?
You’d probably rather pick out your next mascara than talk about eye troubles, but safety comes first even in beauty. Everyone experiences skin trouble at some point, and you might not even notice eyelash mites when they first show up.
These microscopic mites can infest your eyelashes, and they do more than make it hard to perfect your look. The good news is they’re completely treatable.
What Causes Eyelash Mites?
Spoiler alert: you already have eyelash mites. In limited quantities, they act as nature’s cleaners for your eyes.
Eyelash mites, also known as demodex, come in two main species. They live in your eyelash follicles and on your eyelids where they eat your dead skin. Demodex only become a problem when their population gets out of hand.
You’ve probably heard that you should never share your makeup, and this is why. Eyelash mites spread easily from one person tot the next. Because they’re microscopic, you probably won’t know if your best friend passes theirs on to you.
Even if you don’t share your eyeliner or mascara, you’re not totally out of the woods. People with these types of conditions also carry a higher risk of an infestation:
• Inflammatory acne
• Skin infections
A weakened immune system can make you more likely to get eyelash mites. If you have trouble with your skin, you might have trouble with these mites, too.
How Do You Know if You Have Eyelash Mites?
The tricky thing about eyelash mites is that you can’t see them. So how do you know if you have too many?
You’ll probably notice typical signs of eye irritation that get worse or more consistent over time. Look out for symptoms like:
• Redness and itchiness
• Burning eyes
• Rough or scaly skin near your eyes
• Flaring symptoms of dermatitis and other skin conditions
• Crusty edges on your eyelids
If you don’t take care of eyelash mites, they can cause pain and swollen eyelids. See your doctor as soon as possible if you have a problem with your eyes.
How Do You Get Rid of Eyelash Mites?
The good news is that eyelash mites are easy to treat. Usually, you can use topical treatments like creams and ointments that contain ingredients like sulfur, ivermectin, and permethrin.
You can also try soaking a cotton pad in tea tree oil and placing it on your eyes. Just make sure you keep your eyes closed during treatment. In more serious cases, your doctor might give you an oral medication to control the issue.
Sometimes, the best treatment is prevention. Above all, keep your face and living spaces clean. That includes washing your sheets, pillowcase, towels, and anything else that touches your face. You should also store your makeup properly, and don’t share it.
Most of the time, eyelash mites aren’t a serious issue, so if you have them, don’t panic. These tiny creatures help keep your eyes clean, but if you suspect a problem, talk to your doctor. They can help you resolve the issue so you can start creating the looks you love again.
Sarah Wood - November 23, 2020
“Eyelash Mites: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.” WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/eyelash-mites#1. Accessed 13 November 2020.
“Eyelash Mites: What to Know.” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/eyelash-mites. Accessed 13 November 2020.
“What to Know About Eyelash Mites.” Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/eyelash-mites. Accessed 13 November 2020.